Last updated on July 3, 2023 by Wandering our World
The Forest of Dean is an excellent place for a family adventure! And camping in the Forest of Dean in particular, offers easy access to all the activities and wonders of this historic woodland.
The rural landscape here was once a royal hunting ground protected by the king in ages gone by, and is one of the few remaining ancient forests in England. It’s a truly magical place and has featured in films like Harry Potter, and inspired some of Tolkien’s Lord of the Rings series. On top of that, this picturesque area is filled with wildlife, flora, and fauna to marvel at and enjoy.
Luckily, we know this area well. So below we share with you our eight favourite campsites in the Forest of Dean, and explain what may be the best season to visit.
Unfortunately wild camping in the Forest of Dean is illegal. However the reality is that some people still do it, and it is tolerated depending on the situation and how considerate a camper you are.
If you are planning on wild camping, and can’t be swayed to stay in a campsite instead, we have more information and tips on how to be considerate when wild camping in the Forest of Dean later on.
But if you’re looking for some great campsites, below we recommend some of the best in the area!
The Best Campsites In The Forest Of Dean For Fun, Views, and Adventure
1. Greenacres Campsite
Greenacres is a small campsite found on the edge of the Forest of Dean. This site offers laid-back and relaxed camping and is just a short distance from Symonds Yat, a popular and picturesque village, as well as many of the River Wye attractions.
This place has 40 campsites in total and it’s open for tents, camper vans, caravans, and motorhomes to enjoy the scenes of the surrounding forest. The shared facilities include a heated and disabled-friendly shower block, a wash-up area, and laundry. The campsite also offers an on-site coffee shop and is a dog-friendly camping site too!
Greenacres is also just a five-minute walk to a local park with play equipment that kids will enjoy. Alternatively, campers can walk in the beautiful forest around the campsite, which is an excellent way to stretch your legs and take the dog for a walk while staying here.
What’s Close By
This campsite is just a short drive away from Coleford, a market town with plenty going on. And if you want a good walk, the Sculpture Trail and Family Cycle Trail are easily accessible from Greenacres too.
The wonderful Dean Forest Railway is nearby as well. It offers a steam train experience through the forest, allowing guests to see the Forest of Dean in a new light. Kids will love it!
Price: Starts at £16 per night
Address: Scowles Rd, Coleford GL16 8QS
2. Bracelands Campsite
Bracelands Campsite also sits on the edge of the Forest of Dean! This campsite is open all year round and is one of the largest campsites in the area, so it’s perfect for socialising and making new friends.
But what we really love are the stunning sunsets over the woodland canopy that you get here, as well as the campsite’s location which makes it central to all of the area’s action.
Campers can bring their tents, caravans, and motorhomes to stay at Bracelands. There’s 540 camping spots available and located on a flat grassy patch amidst the forest’s trees, and shared facilities include a toilet block, showers, and dishwashing facilities. As an added bonus this campsite is also dog friendly.
Nestled amongst woodland that includes majestic oaks, beech, and towering pine trees, the views on offer are spectacular. Especially when the morning sun peeks through the trees as you’re enjoying your coffee.
What’s Close By
There are so many things to do near Bracelands. You can visit the Clearwell Caves, which is a working mining museum. Or better yet, visit the Go Ape Adventure Park, where you can explore the Forest of Dean from a new perspective that includes a zip line and Segway tours.
Symonds Yat Rock offers the most magnificent views of the River Wye and is just two miles from this campsite as well.
Price: Begins around £17 per night
Address: Bracelands Dr, Christchurch, Coleford GL16 7NP
3. Broadstone Camping Park and Fishery
Broadstone Camping Park is set in the unspoiled area of the English/Welsh border between the market towns of Monmouth and Coleford. Located amongst beautiful surroundings of ancient oak trees and Neolithic stones that gave this place its name, this campsite is a spot that’s full of natural and historic beauty.
The campground is open all year round and offers a shady glen with a shower block, laundry service, toilets, disabled facilities, and electric hookups. It’s also on a farm, which kids may love as there’s plenty of farm animals to say hello to!
And if you enjoy fishing will love this campsite as one of the best features is the fishery that’s fed with spring waters next to the camp.
There’s also plenty of wildlife so you can cook your dinner on an open fire while watching deer, rabbits, birds, and more go by. Sounds serene right?
What’s Close By
The local towns nearby offer many pubs and eateries to enjoy a meal. Caldicot Castle and Country Park is close by too, and is the perfect spot to explore the stunning history of the area.
A walk around the surrounding area, farm, and forest trails will reveal the site of neolithic stones as well.
Price: Begins at £17 per night
Address: Staunton Rd, Staunton, Coleford GL16 8PB
4. Cherry Orchard Farm
Cherry Orchard Farm has to be one of the most beautiful Forest of Dean camping options. The campsite is adjacent to an operating cherry orchard and situated on the grounds of a Victorian farmhouse surrounded by pretty rolling hills and greenery. This place is more on the rustic side, but that only adds to its charm.
The facilities at the campsite include toilets and hot showers, and there’s main water taps all over the camping field so you have access to drinking water. While caravans are welcome, this field is best used for tented camping due to the field’s uneven parts.
The beautiful Victorian grounds and gardens are not the only unique aspects of this campsite. Towering trees, green fields, and plenty of opportunities for outdoor activities like paddling to Mallard’s Pike, walking the forest’s Sculpture Trail, and biking or running the many trails throughout the woods are just a few of the activities on offer.
This place really is the perfect family-friendly getaway and an excellent spot for a BBQ dinner amongst the gardens. It’s also one of the most affordable Forest of Dean camping options too, starting at just £9 a night.
What’s Close By
A 10-minute stroll from the campsite will bring you to the Newland pub for food and great local ales. There are plenty of trails to walk near Cherry Orchard Farm, which is good news as dogs are also welcome at this country-style campsite.
Offa’s Dyke is a fantastic long-distance footpath that can be easily accessed from Monmouth town, a 5-minute drive from Cherry Orchard. You can also kayak on the river close by.
Price: Begins at £9 per night
Address: Coleford GL16 8NP
5. Rushmere Farm Campsite
Rushmere Farm is a family-run campsite situated on three acres of farmland. This place is just half a mile from Coleford and close to all the fun that the Forest of Dean offers.
This is a perfect camping spot for tents, caravans and motorhomes. There are shower and toilet facilities that are disabled-friendly, and the site offers hard road and electric hookups for campers to use.
But we think the most attractive feature of this campsite is its proximity to the attractions of the Forest of Dean. There are plenty of places nearby to shop, eat out, and adventure throughout the area.
What’s Close By
You can hire a bike from Pedalabikeaway, which is near the campsite, and that will allow you to explore the ancient Forest of Dean on wheels!
The fantastic Sculpture Trail and the Symonds Yat Rock are nearby and so can also be enjoyed when camping at Rushmere Farm. The Crusty Loaf Bakery is in nearby Coleford and has delicious breads and cakes. Our tip – try one of the eclairs!
Price: Begins at £10 per night.
Address: Coleford GL16 8QP
6. Whitemead Forest Park
Inside the Forest of Dean is the Whitemead Forest Park campsite. The park is surrounded by woodland and filled to the brim with activities and fun for all to enjoy.
It has showers, a wash-up area, a wide range of camping options and a laundromat. But Whitemead is the definition of family-friendly as it has a clubhouse, a recreation room for the kids to enjoy, a playpark, and plenty of room for children to play and make friends.
It’s not just fun for children though. Adults can enjoy a tennis court, on-site restaurant and bar, hot tub and a pool! There are also grocery stores, restaurants and pubs a short distance away, so plenty of food and drink options.
What’s Close By
This campsite is nearby all of the fun activities in the area and is very accessible to Puzzlewood! Puzzlewood is a mystical family-friendly woodland area with many places for kids to explore and enjoy. The spot is a famous filming location for masterpieces like Harry Potter, Doctor Who, and Star Wars.
Price: Begins at £15 per night.
Address: Parkend, Lydney GL15 4LA
7. Forest and Wye Valley Camping
Forest and Wye Valley Camping is a popular campsite that sits in a well-maintained and attractive spot on the edge of the Forest of Dean. There are plenty of things to do near by, and it has some excellent amenities.
Facilities at the campsite include a heated shower block, a laundry room, on-site restaurant, and a kid’s play area. There are hardstanding pitches and grass pitches for campers to put their tent or park their caravan. And this place is also dog friendly and even has an on-site dog walking area.
If you’re looking for views this may be the best Forest of Dean camping option for you too. It’s ideally located between the rugged Forest of Dean and the lovely scenery of the Wye Valley, with plenty of walks nearby.
Extraordinary wildlife sightings are common for campers here, with sheep, deer and even wild boar being spotted in the forest. There are also birds of prey like buzzards to see in the area, so keep your eyes on the sky!
What’s Close By
Close by are several country towns and villages to visit, golf courses to take a few swings, and many castles and ruins to explore throughout the area. And that’s on top of all the walking and cycling routes.
Price: Begins at £22 per night.
Address: Bearse Farm, Bearse Common, St Briavels, Lydney GL15 6QU
8. Doward Park Campsite
Doward Park Campsite is a small family-run campsite in a peaceful, secluded, and wooded location. It sits just inside the English border and in-between the market towns of Ross on Wye in Hertfordshire and Monmouth. The campsite also occupies a small pretty area that’s nestled into the woodlands of the Forest of Dean.
This campsite has all the usual facilities, like toilets, wash rooms, and hot showers. Whilst all types of camping are welcome.
The site is picturesque and full of greenery, with many perfect spots to pitch a tent and enjoy the surroundings. A coffee shop and a small grocery store on-site sell ice cream, fresh produce, and other essentials that you may need.
What’s Close By
Nearby this lovely campsite are plenty of pubs to enjoy a good meal and an ale – always a good thing when camping! Or take a drive to one of the castles in the area like Goodrich Castle.
Over the road is King Arthur’s Cave which is full of mystery and legend and offers great spots for bouldering and climbing.
Symonds Yat Rock is nearby too, which is one of the best places in the region to spot Peregrine Falcons!
Price: Begins at £22 per night.
Address: Great Doward, Ross-on-Wye HR9 6BP
Wild Camping In The Forest Of Dean: Everything You Need To Know
DISCLAIMER: Below we give general advice, but we always recommend staying in an official campsite. If you choose to go wild camping/dispersed camping, then make sure you do so with someone who already knows the area where you’re planning on camping for your own safety.
The bad news is that wild camping in the Forest of Dean is illegal, but it is sometimes tolerated when campers are walking long-distance routes and camping overnight on the way.
If you do wild camp, then ensure you camp discreetly. Be careful not to damage the ground where you pitch your tent, and never interrupt the lives of the native animals.
If wild camping in the Forest of Dean, we’d advise sticking to the following guidelines in order to be as considerate as possible:
- You should camp in the same place for one night only, and pitch your tent discretely and in a remote place. Therefore don’t camp in or near settlements, someone’s farm or on cultivated land. If you think you’re on private land, always seek out the landowner and ask permission.
- Campers should set up their tent at dusk, and take it down at dawn. A tent that is discreet and pitches quickly is best. Therefore a lightweight walking and hiking tent like this one would be a great investment for someone planning to walk and camp in the New Forest.
- If you are walking a main hiking trail you should camp away from the path as a matter of courtesy.
- When wild camping in the Forest of Dean you must never make a campfire. Instead of building campfires, you could look into using a storm cooker for cooking – but check local laws first. Then there is much less wildfire risk and you can cook knowing that the fire is contained. We believe the best ones on the market are Trangia storm cookers.
- When going to the toilet you should do it far from water sources, such as rivers and lakes. Make sure to use a trowel (like this folding one) to bury any human waste – don’t just leave it out in the open.
- Like many rugged and wild rural areas around the world, there are flora and fauna to be aware of. So read up and make sure you know what to expect in the region or area you are planning to wild camp in.
Forest Of Dean Camping: When’s The Best Time Of Year To Visit
The Forest of Dean, and nearby area, offers many things to do for all ages throughout the year.
Not only are there spots to explore like Puzzlewood and Symonds Yat, but there are also several festivals, shows, classes, and workshops to keep everyone busy.
In our opinion, Autumn is the prettiest time to visit this stunning area due to the colour of the trees. But in summer there are events like the Coleford Music Festival, Monmouth Festival in July, and the Velothon Wales in August.
Other than that, camping in the Forest of Dean will be a great vacation at any time of the year, apart from winer when it can get a little chilly.
This area offers beautiful stories with its rich history, breathtaking scenes, and a touch of mysticism thanks to its whimsical wooded landscapes. So get out there and enjoy!