A couple of weeks back, I had the wonderful experience of attending a foraging event in the Forest of Dean with Forest Holidays. I’ve been keen to explore more active holidays and activities, so when I was invited to attend with some other awesome bloggers, I jumped at the chance. With an overnight stay in the luxury cabins, a night vision tour of the forest, a lesson in foraging and cooking with Nick Weston from Hunter Gather Cook, there was a lot to look forward to.
The Forest of Dean is situated in the west of Gloucestershire, in the village of Coleford, very close to the Welsh border, so close in fact that I actually asked someone which country we were in. Luckily, they didn’t laugh (at least not to my face!) The nearest stations are Hereford and Gloucester, but driving is probably advisable as both stations are a bit of a trek.
Rooming with Tiffany from Foodtripper, we were incredibly impressed by our log cabin. Staying in a “Silver Birch” cabin, we were treated to 3 spacious bedrooms, 2 bathrooms, an open plan kitchen/lounge/diner and a hot tub in idyllic surroundings. Bliss.
After a quick walk down to the village to check out the local pub (gorgeous, log fire and amazing smelling food), it was time to visit the Forest Retreat for the evening meal. Visitors to the Forest of Dean cabins can opt to eat here, if they choose not to self cater. Although not fancy, the menu boasts a selection of simple food made from local ingredients. I had opted for chicken pesto pasta, but after seeing the sausages and mash made with local sausages turn up, I got a bit of food envy. It was disappointing that I had to wait so long for my meal – they had cooked me a bacon sandwich by mistake, but when it eventually turned up, it was enjoyable and it was great to chat with the other bloggers.
It was then time to meet Gerry, the friendly Forest Ranger and his sidekick, Professor the Owl, for a night vision tour through the forest.
Professor was absolutely lovely (as was Gerry!) and so tame that he sat on Erica’s shoulder for the whole tour. Professor, not Gerry, that is!
Night vision goggles at the ready, Gerry led us a couple of miles through the dark woods for our night time wildlife tour. Wild boar roam around the forest and although we didn’t see any on this occasion, Gerry advised us that they are a common spot at any time of day. We did however get to see some beautiful deer out for a night time stroll!
Out in the countryside, it was remarkable how dark it seemed compared to the bright lights of London. After a bracing walk back to the cabins via a rather steep hill, I was knackered and ready for bed! How is it I can go for a 5 mile run and feel fine, but a countryside walk can send me to sleep?
The forest boasts some incredible looking trails, perfect for off road running. I had bought my running stuff, fully intending to go for a pre breakfast run, alas, my bed was so comfortable, I nearly overslept for breakfast! Whoops.
The scenery as you can see was wonderful and I was really disappointed not to have got up early enough for a run as this really is the perfect location for an active and outdoorsy holiday.
Foraging for food is something that I have been interested in finding out more about for a long time, so please check back later in the week for the second part of this blog, complete with ideas for cooking and a recipe!
Thank you to Forest Holidays and Propeller PR for inviting me to take part in this trip. Views are my own.