In my younger years, I learnt to sail toppers, I could manage a windsurfer and loved rolling the odd canoe. I had a thirst for sports back in those days after learning at school. Weekends were spent in Forest of Dean exploring. Youth, strength, and fitness were on my side and there was little I feared especially when it came to watersports. 20+ years and three children later I rarely have the time to indulge myself, however, when the opportunity presents itself I don’t say no to pulling on some waterproofs and getting splashed.
Living in Gloucestershire means we are not far from the River Wye and the stunning Forest of Dean. The Wye Valley is a giant playground for those with a thirst for adventure and I was invited to join a weekend of activities put on to showcase the upcoming Forest Activities Festival.
However back to my weekend in The Forest of Dean
I was only able to join in the one day of events but had a go at canoeing and the treetop adventure at Bracelands in the Forest of Dean which I had not visited before.
I joined the group at Inspire 2 Adventure and pulled on my waterproofs before getting into the canoes. It was a beautiful but chilly morning and thankfully we did not get too wet despite the river being up very high. After canoeing for 5 miles and taking on the rapids we were ready for lunch at House of Bread. The lunch was delicious and hearty. The soup both filling and tasty it hit the right spot as did the cheese and homemade cakes.
The House of Bread also offers pottery classes and we had a quick demonstration. I know Erin would love to have a go and they do parties so I will remember that for another day. I haven’t done any pottery since being at school.
After lunch, we headed to Forest of Dean Adventure. We had such fun in the trees and our instructor was great, he was able to encourage us whilst making everything fun. Apparently, it is a popular activity with groups of friends, workgroups and hens and stags!
There is no pressure to complete every one of the four stations, but you are encouraged to have a go. I played human jenga on crates, I attempted the leap of faith, I bottled it on the tightrope but felt exhilarated on the zip wire. The FOD Adventure takes anyone from aged 8 onwards and promises a fun family day out.
If jumping about in trees is too much for you then there are plenty of walks in The Forest of Dean including The Cyril Hart Arboretum which offers a more relaxing walk and is free of charge. This place is especially popular with dog walkers.
You can watch how I got on in my vlog:
Living locally I was able to pop home whilst the others headed back to their bases. I then met up with everyone at the Farmers Boy Inn for dinner. I hadn’t been before but again I will certainly head back. It is a 30-minute drive from central Gloucester and you will find a traditional pub with amazing food much of which is locally sourced. I had a creamy risotto followed by a crumble.
Seeing my beautiful county through the eyes of a visitor for the weekend was eye opening. I forget just how much I have on my doorstep and have vowed to get out more with my children in tow. The Forest of Dean has so much to offer all within easy distance of each other, so whether you want water sports, climbing or adventures in the forest head to the Wye Valley to challenge yourself.