The hush of woodland, spiked here and there by birdsong, is the best purifier our bodies can get. When we’re wrapped up in the urban life, day after day, a great way to press the ‘reset’ button is with a long camping weekend in the forest.
Our Bracelands campsite is a rejuvenative hotspot – just a short walk into the Forest of Dean, it’s situated in a large field, dashed with trees that thicken the further you head into this rural paradise. One of the few remaining ‘ancient woodlands’ in Britain, the area is bustling with deer, squirrels and activities for all ages.
There’s much to see and do, which begs the question: how can I sample it all in a single weekend? To get your brain whirring, we’ve come up with a three-day plan for you to peruse…
When you arrive at Bracelands, after pitching your tent and whatnot, it’s doubtful that you’ll want to stray too far on your first day. Most likely, there’ll be a beer or two cracked open, or a gentle lie down on the grass to reward your careful driving.
However if you can muster up the energy, we suggest a brief visit to the Clearwell Caves, a subterranean wonder that’s become a dedicated mining museum. Stroll through millions of years’ worth of splendorous geology, enjoying a guided tour along the way. Pack a picnic, or chill for an hour in the cave’s café, gazing at the walls shimmering back at you.
Little ones will probably be bristling with energy, even if you’re not, so leave them in the company of trained instructors on the Adventure Ropes installation whilst you chill. They can leap, zip and swing across a range of woodland activities.
The second day of a camping trip is always the best; rising with your thermos flask in hand and blinking at the early sunlight, before getting some bacon sizzling on the camping stove. Today, anything is possible…
Chances are that you’ll be wanting to hike or ramble through the forest, at least until midday. If the weather’s good, and you’re camping as a couple, treat yourselves to some true romanticism on the Symonds Yat Rock: it’s a renowned promontory that looks down on the River Wye, where you can hire a canoe together. Drink in the vast, golden hand of the sun on miles of unmarred terrain, before checking out the well-priced café for cakes and tea.
For an active family pursuit, why not take a short drive to Cannop Cycle Centre? If you haven’t brought them along, here you can rent mountain bikes, hitting a breezy trail that annexes off into rougher routes for kids to speed across.
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