Within the Forest of Dean’s 110km² contain one of the last surviving ancient woodlands in the UK, protected since 1066 for royal hunting parties. Today, it’s one of the few places you can go and see what Britain might have looked like in its primeval era, its nature unbounded and free – with creatures great and small, from roe and muntjac deer, to boar, to birds in droves and even the European Adder. It’s a place filled with photo-worthy views, soaring trees and calming naturescapes – and it’s just sat there waiting for you to visit.
Soaking away in the floor-level hot tub with impressive views of the hills, valley, campers, and the canoers on the river is a moment of pure bliss. Then you hop out of the water and move to the lower terrace to lounge on the recliners while you get the BBQ going.
You can join the kayakers on the Wye and hike all over the place, with the Brecon Beacons in easy reach and a couple of great pubs to refresh yourselves at. In some places you can even combine the above, by paddling right up to places like the Saracen’s Head, which also has a hand-pulled ferry for when you find yourself on the wrong side of the water.
Reached through the walled vegetable garden so it feels nicely private, Pond Cabin is a cabin that looks out onto a pond, oddly enough, then on to fields and a disused Victorian cricket pavilion. Your first priority will be to make full use of the wood-fired hot tub, no matter how late you arrive, as there’s very little light pollution here and the stars are magnificent on clear nights. Rustle up meals in the outdoor kitchen on the deck, or the outside BBQ, which has a cauldron hanging over and a dedicated frying pan.
Located on the edge of The Forest of Dean, wildlife is in abundance – Roe deer, muntjac and wild boar roam the fields around the village. You can hire bikes and explore nearby trails, canoe on the river Wye or head to Clearwell caves.
Cedar Falls, named after the nearby waterfall that's quite spectacular after a good rainfall, is nestled in the garden of Edward and Tori’s family home in Llandogo. The deck looks down the Wye Valley which often fills with mist in the morning. Ed and Tori also find time to run an award-winning local microbrewery making some great ales, all in nearby Tintern, where impromptu tastings often take place - just ask if you're keen to learn their secrets! Visit the famous Tintern Abbey, explore miles and miles of ancient woodland, perfect for hiking and cycling with stunning views all over the valley - the Wye Valley Walk winds past just outside.
Hop Cabin joins two neighbouring cabins and a converted horsebox at The Hop Garden at Kingstone Brewery. Keen not to disturb the deer and rabbits that visit, they try to leave the area to rewild. Inside the cabin, there’s a comfy double bedroom, living room, kitchen and an ensuite bathroom with a big bath and plenty of hot water, so you could well just lounge around the wood burner all day and only venture out to stock up on bottles of treacle-coloured ale at the brewery shop. But if the river’s calling, pack your sandwiches, a couple of bottles of Kingstone Gold and put your best paddle forward, canoeing down the River Wye in search of a lunch spot.
Lichen Cabin is named for the lichen-clad apple trees all around. In warm weather, take a book out onto the south-facing veranda and soak up the sun; in colder weather snuggle up in front of the log fire inside. You’re welcome to spend time wandering around the sculpture garden too. A two-minute walk down the track takes you to Kingstone Brewery, a friendly microbrewery with tours, ale tasting and monthly beer. Just a little further down and you’ll get to the River Wye, flowing down a picturesque gorge, with Tintern and its famous abbey just around the bend. The Wye Valley walk and Offa’s Dyke path are both minutes away, and there are miles of hiking and biking trails in the woodlands behind the cabin.