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Take a tour underground with an experienced Freeminer! Strap on a miner’s helmet and follow our guide underground, and they will navigate a route through a section of miles of tunnels dug out since the 1820s.
During the tour you will learn about the history of Freemining - a right granted by the King to work coal, iron, ochre and stone - how the right was won and how it continues today.
You will experience the atmosphere and witness the conditions both past and present, how the work is carried out and what the rewards may be. You will learn how the geology of the Forest has moulded the land and the industries including the vital role the Forest and Freeminers have played in history.
Since “Tyme out of mynde” those born within the Forest of Dean (within the Hundred of St Briavels) have exercised the right to open their own Gale (small mine) to work coal, iron, ochre and stone. Today a few mines are still working, and Hopewell is one of them. Mining started in the Forest of Dean 4,500 years ago for ochre progressing to iron and coal. Still today there are miners underground in the Forest!
The ancient tradition is now going through a resurgence. At Hopewell we are supporting this independent and unique lifestyle, making it more viable for the future generations. How to become a Freeminer and what it means will be explained by your Freeminer guide.
All our guides at Hopewell are experienced miners. They will explain how the mines work and what you see as you go deeper underground. See how you work a 30-inch thick seam of coal!
Your guided tour will take about 45 minutes and will take you underground and through the mine workings.
Approximate length of visit: 45 to 60 minutes
Booking essential: Yes
Groups accepted: Yes
Maximum group size: 10
Minimum group size: 2
Open dates: Good Friday to last day of October
Ticket prices: See below
Note: the tour is not suitable for very young children. Children will need to be able to wear a helmet and walk independently. Unfortunately the tour is not suitable for those with limited mobility.
|Ticket Type||Ticket Tariff|
|2 adults & 2 children||£31.00 per family|
|2 adults & 3 children||£38.00 per family|
|Adult||£10.00 per adult|
|Child||£8.00 per child|
Note: Prices are a guide only and may change on a daily basis.
- On-site light refreshments
- Facilities for educational visits
- Guided tours for groups
- Guided tours for individuals
- Guided tours mandatory
- School Trips