Wye Valley

Summer Bank Holiday ideas in the Forest of Dean

Looking for a family-friendly activity for the August Bank Holiday weekend? Or just hoping to get away from it all in a Forest wonderland? Whether you’re an active family, or you’ve got mountain-bike mad kids – or you’re just looking for something different and fun to do – we’ve got lots of ways to keep you all entertained and happy this bank holiday weekend!

1. Enjoy the family trail

Imagine a beautiful trail that takes in the best that the Forest of Dean has to offer, with towering trees, lake views, sculptures, and wildlife galore. You might spot deer or one of the famous Forest of Dean boars as you walk or cycle around this traffic-free route. There are plenty of rest stops along the way, and tea and fresh cake (and hot food) are available at both our Mallards Cafe and the Pedalabikeaway cafe at the Cycle Centre.

It’s fun to walk, but we think it’s much more fun to ride, and we’ve got a selection of adult and child leisure bikes available to hire, plus child seats, tagalongs (in case those little legs get tired) and baby trails. We’ve even got dog trailers too!

Photo of a silver tandem bicycle, available for hire at the Pedalabikeaway centre in the Forest of Dean

2. Try a tandem

Yes, you read that right! If you want to do things differently, we guarantee riding a tandem will raise a smile and you’ll be greeted by every person you meet! Our tandem is fun, stable, and actually makes short work of hills because there’s two people working together to get up them.

In fact, the only thing you have to choose is who’s going to be the pilot at the front, and who wants to be the stoker at the back!

3. Explore our world-class mountain bike trails

The mountain bike trails at the Forest of Dean are famous. We’ve even got Olympians coming to train on them, like cross-country mountain biker Evie Richards who competed at Tokyo 2021!

For a taste of the thrills and skills involved, rent one our fun, stable hard tails, or take things up a notch with our premium full-suspension mountain bikes which are perfect for developing skills and making the most of what’s on offer. We’ve even got electric-mountain bikes which will make short work of the hills!

All the trails are graded too, from easy greens to super-technical blacks and downhill tracks, so there’s something for every rider. And all trails start and finish at the Pedalabikeaway Cafe and the cycle centre car park, so you’re never too far from a cuppa and slice of cake.

devils pulpit
Forest of Dean & Wye Valley, Tintern

4. Discover the Wye Valley Greenway

If beautiful views and historic ruins are your thing, then the Wye Valley Greenway is for you! Newly opened at the start of Summer 2021, it follows the route of the long-abandoned Wye Valley railway, taking you on a ride through woodlands above the River Wye, and through am amazing old railway tunnel, which is home to a rare species of bat – but don’t worry, they’ll be asleep during the day when you ride through! Then stop for lunch in Tintern in the shadow of the beautiful Tintern Abbey, before hopping back on for the ride back.

You can park at the National Diving and Activity Centre just outside of Chepstow where the trail begins, and if you want to hire some bikes, Pedalabikeaway has a rental shop right on the trail with adult and child leisure bikes which are perfect for exploring the route.

Photo of young girl riding a mountain bike on the gravel Dare Valley Family Gravity Bike Park trail through woodlands
Discover the family-friendly trails at the Dare Valley Family Bike Park

5. A Dare Valley Gravity Park adventure

Pedalabikeaway have just opened a brand new family-friendly bike park in the Dare Valley in Wales, and it’s a whole lot of fun! Pump tracks are perfect for developing bike and bmx skills, and the trails are all beginner-friendly and smooth. You can ride to the top and do laps, or we also have a bike uplift service; pop your bike in the truck, hop in a seat, and let us do the hard work so you can focus on the downhills!

There’s parking, a cafe and bike hire, so all you need to do is turn up and have fun.

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6. A walk, a coffee and a slice of cake

If things have all gotten a bit too much and you want to get away from the crowds, then the Forest of Dean is big enough to offer you a little slice of peace and quiet. Grab a takeaway cuppa and sandwich from Mallards Cafe, and explore the quieter trails the Forest has to offer, watch the world go by, spot some wildlife, and just breathe.


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A new place to pedal a bike away!

We are excited to announce that we are will be ready to hire bikes along the brand new Wye Valley Greenway from Wednesday 28th April.  Our website is live so you can pre-book your bikes now.

Our bike hire is based at the trail start and has free parking, making it a faff free day out.  We have brand new Specialized bikes for the adults (including the option to hire with a child seat) and fantastic Whyte kids bikes, to ensure that everyone has a great time!

leaving tidenham tunnel

Looking for things to do with the kids? Fancy a scenic day outdoors? Then the new Wye Valley Greenway trail is the perfect day out…

This traffic-free cycling and walking trail winds its way 7km along the Wye Valley from the trail start at the National Dive and Activity Centre (NDAC)  to the picturesque village of Tintern.  It’s an entertaining journey that is made all the more special by travelling through a 1.1km long tunnel!

Once there, why not lock up your bike and have a wander around Tintern?  You have, of course, the CADW owned 12th Century Tintern Abbey,  a national icon and a splendid example of true Gothic architecture.   Feeling peckish?  The Filing Station café, is a bike-friendly café, with refreshments, bike racks and bike tools.  Or you can just simply head to the river bank to relax before cycling back to the start, riding through the tunnel again.

It’s a lovely day out for everyone.

Top Tips for your Weekend Away in the Forest of Dean

Redbull recently highlighted the Forest of Dean as one of the best places in the UK to spend a ‘dirty’ weekend, and it’s not hard to see why!

The FOD, as it’s known locally, is a bit of a mecca for off road cycling.

Starting with the Family Cycle Trail, a 10 mile circular route that starts and finishes here at Pedalabikeaway, it’s perfect for all levels! The gradients are gentle, and it’s a very scenic amble around some historic parts of the forest.

The Family Cycle Trail in the Forest of Dean

If you don’t fancy the whole loop or have young children cycling, you can do the shorter length Hicksters loop, which is under half the distance and fully way-marked too.

To extend it, then why not take the short diversion down to the beautiful Mallards Pike Lake?  It’s the perfect place for a picnic, and there is even an amazing cafe on site as well! The below shot was from the mini freeze we had this time last winter!

You also have the option of accessing the Family Cycle Trail via the Lydbrook,  Coleford and Parkend links so you can ride to and from your accommodation!

Talking of accommodation, there is a massive amount of choice in the Forest for your stay.  The Wye Dean tourism site is a great place to start, but a personal favourite is the Fountain Inn run by Alan, who helps dig and maintain the trails here in the FOD, while Broadstone Farm is a fantastic little campsite with great homemade cider and superb access to the Forest!

Group enjoying the Verderers Trail

If you are a little more adventurous, then the mountain biking on offer is almost limitless.   All the way-marked trails start and finish here from the centre, including the blue-graded Verderers trail, the red-graded Freeminers trail and several downhill tracks. There is also a pump track and advanced skills area with jumps and drops, and a huge amount of off-piste tracks to explore!

Little Fodders mountain bike club in the forest of dean

You can get an idea of what some of them are like, by checking out our You tube site

To maximise your riding time, you could hire an e-bike (check out our previous blog on the Whyte Bikes E-150 ) or book on to one of Wye MTB’s uplift assisted trips to explore the beautiful Wye Valley. They also offer trips further afield into the beautiful Welsh Black Mountains and Brecon Beacons, which are less than 45 minutes away.

You’ll have loads to do for the little ones as well. There is a Go-Ape Mini’s site just a 10 minute walk from the centre, Puzzlewood – the enchanted forest (where some of Star Wars was filmed), Canoeing on the River Wye, Clearwell Caves or why not try Battlesports?

Fun for all the family

When you are all done, then don’t forget to call back into the cafe! We pride ourselves on serving the best coffee and cake in the forest. Perfect for that caffeine hit to keep you awake on the drive home!

 

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