Forest of Dean

Posted on: 22 September, 2007

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Forest of Dean

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The Forest of Dean is a geographical, historical and cultural region in the county of Gloucestershire, England. It is a roughly triangular area bounded by the River Wye to the west and north, the River Severn to the south, and the City of Gloucester to the east.


The view north towards Ross-on-Wye from Symonds Yat Rock, a popular tourist destination in the Forest


The view north towards Ross-on-Wye from Symonds Yat Rock, a popular tourist destination in the Forest

It is characterised by over 110 km² of mixed forest, one of the most ancient surviving forests in England, with areas of associated woodland stretching across the border into Wales. It gives its name to the local government district, Forest of Dean.

The main town and administrative centre for the forest is Coleford. Cinderford and Lydney are also busy centres. The relative isolation of the region lends it a unique character, with a very broad and colourful local accent.

In April 2007, a Reader’s Digest poll voted the Forest of Dean the third best place in the UK, and the best place in England, in which to bring up a family. (see link).




[edit] History

The forest is steeped in history and goes back thousands of years, with the Forest being home to a number of Iron Age forts. The area was settled by the Romans, who were attracted by the natural resources of the area, which included iron ore, ochre and charcoal.

The name derived from the main market town of Dean, in St. Briavels, which was located in a dell (in Anglo-Saxon, dene).[1]

The forest later went on to be used exclusively as a royal hunting ground by the Tudor. Its rich deposits of iron ore led to its becoming a major source of iron at this time. Timber from the forest was particularly fine and was regarded as the best source for building ships, and it is possible that this timber was used to build the Mary Rose and Admiral Lord Nelson’s ship, the HMS Victory. Later still, the exploitation of coal deposits led to a strong development of mining in the area, with commercial mining continuing until 1965.

Interestingly, Edward I granted the powers that allowed those born in the Forest to mine coal freely. There were, and are still, a number of small private mines in operation, with Hopewell colliery now open to the public. With the decline of the mines, the area itself suffered a decline, but this was ameliorated to some extent when a number of high technology industries established themselves in the area, attracted by grants and a willing workforce.

The area now relies heavily on tourism and agriculture.

[edit] Foresters

If born within the hundred of St Briavels, an ancient administrative area covering most of what is now considered the Forest of Dean, one is classed as a true Forester. This classification bestows a unique right for males who are over 21 and have worked in a mine for a year and a day—they can register to be a freeminer. Residents of the hundred who are over 18 can also graze sheep in the Forest. These ancient rights that were put on the statute books in the Dean Forest (Mines) Act 1838, the only public act to affect private individuals.

[edit] Nature

The forest is composed of both deciduous and evergreen trees. Predominant is oak, both pedunculate and sessile. Beech is also common, and sweet chestnut has grown here for centuries. Conifers include some Weymouth Pine dating from 1781, Norway spruce, douglas fir and larch. The deer are predominantly fallow, reintroduced during the Second World War. Regrettably, the red squirrels are long gone, and the grey squirrels are abundant and cause much damage.

The forest is also home to numerous wild boar; the exact number is currently unknown. The boar were re-introduced to the forest when a domestic herd was dumped near Staunton in 2005—attempts to locate the owner have been unsuccessful. The boar can now be found in many parts of the Forest, particularly around Cinderford. They have also been spotted on both sides of the River Wye, including the around the village of Trellech.

The Dean is well known for its western birds, in particular the pied flycatcher, redstart and woodwarbler. Hawfinch are regularly seen. The mixed forest supports what is probably Britain’s best concentration of goshawk; a viewing site at New Fancy is manned during February and March when the soaring birds are best seen. Peregrine can be easily seen nesting from the viewpoint at Symonds Yat rock. The ponds in the Forest are good for mandarin duck which nest up in the trees. Butterflies of note are small pearl bordered fritillary, wood white, white admiral. Gorsty knoll is famed for its glow-worms and Woorgreens lake for its dragonflies.

[edit] Famous natives

Dick Whittington, who later became Lord Mayor of London, was born in Pauntley, now part of the Forest of Dean district. The writer Dennis Potter was born near Coleford and frequently used the region as a setting in his work, most notably in The Singing Detective and Karaoke/Cold Lazarus; the local accent and dialect can be heard at some length in the BBC productions of these shows. The BBC Radio 1 and BBC Radio 2 DJ Jimmy Young is one of Cinderford‘s most famous sons, as are the early Britpop band EMF. J. K. Rowling, author of the Harry Potter series, lived on the southern edge of the Forest at Tutshill from 1974 to 1983 and used the forest as a setting in Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows.

[edit] Notable villages and towns

[edit] Places of interest

[edit] In the media

  • In 1998 the area was on national news as it was going through a bad heroin epidemic and several young people fatally overdosed within a short period of time.
  • Many TV and film projects have been filmed at Clearwell Caves, including the 2005 Christmas special of Doctor Who.
  • In 2006, Coleford’s St. John’s Street was featured in a newspaper/magazine advert for the new Renault Clio.
  • Scenes from the 2007 film Outlaw were filmed in Coleford.
  • The first and last episodes of the television series Primeval featured and were filmed in the Forest of Dean.
  • In the novel Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Harry and Hermione briefly go into hiding in the Forest of Dean. While there, Harry is able to recover the sword of Godric Gryffindor and destroy one of the Horcruxes.

  • Noh~ HarPot masuk nominasi *weks*…
    Yang di bold, warna merah


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