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This working colliery is an unmissable experience set in the midst of the glorious Forest of Dean.
Hopewell is a working coal mine managed by Rich Daniels, a freeminer of the forest.
The Free Mining Right, unique to the Forest of Dean, dates back many hundreds of years, a right bestowed by King Edward 1st. It gives the right to a miner born in the hundred of St Briavels (broadly the area of the Forest) and who has worked for a year and a day in a local mine, to work a claim or 'gale' in the Forest. There are now only a handful of freeminers left.
Today Hopewell offers a unique visitor experience in that you can actually visit the mine workings. See how coal, the power source of Britain for many centuries, is mined. Understand the extreme conditions that miners have to work in, even today!
Your guided tour will take about 45 minutes and will take you underground and through the mine workings. Your guide will explain how everything works and take you along an interesting route. You will then emerge into the tranquillity of the Forest of Dean and after a short walk find yourself back at the Hopewell tea room and shop, or you can just browse through the shop and its adjoining museum.
See the forest from below
Our regular guided underground tours allow you to walk through the mine workings to see the conditions in which the miners work. The methods used to extract the coal will be explained to you by a true Forest of Dean freeminer.
Parties exit the mine workings by the beautifully engineered old furnace level erected in the 1820's. There is a short stroll through the Forest along the course of an early tram road, back to the museum and cafeteria.
Before starting your tour you will have to enter the lamp room to be kitted out with a miner's lamp and helmet. Please remember if you are going underground, Hopewell is a real mine so sturdy shoes and warm clothing should be worn.
Conditions may present difficulties for some disabled visitors. There is limited wheelchair access and unfortunately the mine is not suitable for those with limited mobility. The tour is not suitable for very young children.
School trips and special events welcome by appointment, please call us to discuss.
- On-site light refreshments
- Facilities for educational visits
- Guided tours for groups
- Guided tours for individuals
- Guided tours mandatory
- School Trips
* Open Easter to October daily 10am to 4pm.