Being the avid globe wanderer that I am, I rarely ever let people plan my vacations or trips for me. I’d much prefer to assemble my getaway than to have to pay someone to do it for me….I guess that’s where the fun is.
Over the weekend, I headed to the Forest of Dean. A couple of weeks back, a bunch of friends asked if I would like to join them for a weekend trip into a forest. Yes – that’s about it. I had no clue where we were going, save that it would be within the country.
A couple of hours before we were due to depart, I finally took the time to find out more about where I was going. All I could manage before that, when asked where I was headed, would be one word – forest. How informative.
The Forest of Dean is in the county of Gloucestershire, and is an area of natural beauty. As a matter of trivia, Harry Potter (of which I’m no fan, I’m afraid!) was filmed here and I can so imagine why. This isn’t about a random forest – it is about nature showcasing its best.
I hitched a ride from M and R from London to the Forest of Dean. Yes, fancy that, I brought my bags along with me to work and rushed right off on the dot once the dreadfully busy work week was over. Driving in the dark isn’t my idea of fun, but M did a great job in getting us from the busy city to the tranquil forest. Hits and misses, but am glad it all worked out good! We took a longer route though, and found ourselves unknowingly in Wales! Only signs of that were us having to pay a huge amount of toll in what we thought was essentially the same country. But it was still pleasant nonetheless, and all of us were gushing about how we had gone into Wales. Now that is a place I have somewhere on that long list of mine.
Before I go on about the lovely cabin we spent the weekend in, let me first mention the Three Choirs Vineyard that we had lunch at. England isn’t very much a place that is about vineyards – not to me at least, but this one was a nice surprise. I typically like light fruity wines, so Three Choices Vineyard surprised me in its range of easy to drink Reds and Whites. And the food was also a pleasurable delight, where you dine looking right into the scenic vineyard.
Three Choirs Vineyard - Settled in with Pinot Noir.
Mussels are my fave!
Seafood Platter for 2!
21-day aged Sirloin Steak, Watercress, Horse Radish Butter.
Soon, the sun was on its way down. I love watching sunsets – they give me hope that a new day will commence soon and that all the mistakes or regrets of today will have a chance to be made good when it turns bright. It is also a wonderful time to be silent and contemplate how the day went.
What a magical sunset!
But what was better was the walk we had early the next morning with glorious Mister Sun accompanying us. We took a nice stroll through the forest, at times joking about seeing a vampire or spotting a werewolf. I am certain the Harry Potter fans amongst us were busy trying to live out all their magical fantasies, casting a spell or two in between. Well, none of that for me, as I was busy absorbing the crisp fresh morning air and the serenity of the forest, only broken occasionally by the rustling of the leaves and the swaying of the branches of the force also known as the strong wind, that had come out to play with Mister Sun. Along the way, we kept ourselves entertained chatting and snapping pictures, the routine pleasantly disturbed by encounters with dogs and horses.
The wonderful forest.
Mother nature in an awesome forest display.
The sun coming out to play.
Trudging through the leaves. Layers of them.
Fallen, but not forgotten.
It was not too long, I estimate about an hour or so, that we finally arrived at Symonds Yat Rock from where we were duly rewarded with breathtaking scenes of the River Wye, the fifth-longest river in the United Kingdom, and which nestles between the borders of England and Wales. Check out these magnificent views!
River Wye - so pretty!
Another shot of God's creations.
I must share a little bit about where we stayed. Skeptical initially at the conditions of the cabin, we arrived greatly surprised to a nice 4-bedroom cabin which, though situated really smack in the middle of the forest, was extremely comfortable and modern. We stayed two nights in a Forest Holiday’s Forest of Dean Cabin which came with a hot tub, a fully integrated kitchen, a fireplace, comfy beds and just a lot of space to feel roomy in.
The wonderful cabin that was our home.
I will leave with what greeted me when I arrived in the darkness of night…..I was welcomed by Stinging Nettles. You see nothing in the dark and these little buggers had a go at my legs. (Don’t worry, you won’t die!)
The evil Stinging Nettle!
But with the right footwear once I ventured out of the cabin, the Stinging Nettles kept away. An antidote – I’m told, are Dock Leaves, which were growing nearby. I didn’t try it, and simply let the itch go away. It did, after a while.
Boots in the forest - an essential!
Now, I’m itching for another trip into the forest.
And just so you know, sometimes, unplanned, unrehearsed and unknown are the best things you can do for yourself. Having not known anything about this place before I stepped here, I must say I thoroughly enjoyed myself. The wonderful company helped as well!
Because I am an avid lover of sunsets, here are two pictures of that sunset that I so adored.
Alone watching the sunset.
A pretty amazing set of colours.