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We are the Museum of the Forest: a stunning building and location with inside and outside attractions. Learn about the history of the Forest from the Ice Age to the present day, visit our museum and gallery, explore the Gruffalo woodland trail, see inside a reconstructed Forester's cottage, visit a charcoal burner's camp, see our working waterwheel, millpond and stream, kids will enjoy our woodland playground plus there is an excellent cafe and gift shop.
Set across a stunning and fully interactive five acre site, the Dean Heritage Centre protects and preserves the unique history and heritage of the beautiful Forest of Dean. It includes:
- Five onsite galleries exploring the history of the Forest from the Ice Age to the present day.
- Set in a Heritage Mill building on five acres of woodland, overlooking a scenic Mill pond
- The Gruffalo woodland trail
- A reconstructed Forester's cottage with cottage garden
- An authentic Victorian school room
- A charcoal burner's camp
- A woodland playground
- Chainsaw carving demonstrations
- An onsite gift shop and cafe
There's always something new and exciting to interest, inspire and surprise you.
With a full programme of special events, exhibitions, art shows and educational workshops across the year, it's a great day out for all the family.
The centre comprises the museum itself, a millpond and waterwheel, forester's cottage with garden and animals, art and craft exhibitions and workshops, and trails around the surrounding woodland. In addition, there are picnic tables, barbecue hearths, an adventure playground, a gift shop selling local produce and a cafe providing homemade food.
The museum itself comprises five galleries telling the history of the Forest of Dean from the earliest geological and fossil records to the present day. A wide variety of artefacts are on display from industries such as coal and iron mining, forestry, timber, stone working and clock making that have shaped the history, landscape and culture of the Forest. Among the more noteworthy artefacts in the museum's collection are an 1830s Lightmoor Colliery beam engine, Thomas Sopwith's 1838 geological model of the Dean Forest, and the Voyce collection of eighteenth and nineteenth century longcase clocks.
The museum has a millpond, water from which drives the restored waterwheel. The pond is fed by a stream running from Morgan's Pool, the lowest of the Soudley Ponds, and is home to colonies of mallard and mandarin ducks, dippers, kingfishers, wagtails and a heron. Starting from the museum, a forestry trail can be followed through centuries-old oak and beech woods up to the summit of Bradley Hill, where a panoramic view of the valley can be seen; including the 1846 Zion Chapel and the old railway tunnel, excavated in 1894 and which runs beneath the hillside.
- Assistance dogs welcome
- Disabled access
- Disabled toilets
- On-site catering
- On-site light refreshments
- Picnic site
- Children welcome
- Education/study area
- Facilities for educational visits
- Facilities for groups
- Dogs Accepted - Dogs are allowed in the shop, cafe and terrace on a lead but only guide and assistance dogs are allowed into the museum and onto the main site.
- Gift shop
- School Trips
- Coach parties accepted
- 5 Food Standards Hygiene
- VAQAS VAQAS