Glamping in the Forest of Dean: 5 Secret Stays You’ll Want to Keep All to Yourself

Posted on 5th May 2021. In , , , ,


For glamping in the Forest of Dean, look no further than these 5 woodland treasures. Tucked away near ancient trees or set down in lush wildflower meadows, they’re all independently-owned, covid-compliant, dog-friendly and unique, both in interiors and surroundings.

Most of them also have an award or two tucked under their belt, for good reason. So go on, take over one of these wooded stays in the Forest of Dean and go wild for a weekend. There are wild boar ready and waiting to welcome you.

Glamping in the Forest of Dean | No. 1

The Roost, Mitcheldean, GL17 0EE

Sleeps 2 | Dog-friendly | Best for: Love Birds and Mini-Mooners

Tried and Tested by our Editor

If the slick interiors and valley views don’t seduce you, the Japanese Soak Tub definitely will

The Setting: In a young but flourishing meadow, within a Special Area of Conservation, sits The Roost glamping site in the Forest of Dean. You’ll find it less than 20 mins from the village of Mitcheldean, tucked up a quiet lane watching silently over the countryside that rolls forth at its feet.

The two cedar-wood cabins that make up The Roost (The Nest and The Nook) bed down snugly into the Gloucestershire landscape, unobtrusive in their 2.5 acres of private land. And behind them, the ancient Forest of Dean rears up; a thick blanket of scented conifers, noble oaks, and dignified beech.

When you arrive, neatly-laid wood-chip paths lead you to your cabin from the car park, past young saplings and curious sheep. There’s no muddy footpath to negotiate or off-road directions to follow; you simply park up, offload and, before you can say ‘boo to a goose’, you are snug inside your cabin – with the kettle on.

During the day, the quiet cool of the forest is yours to explore by following one of the various footpaths that snake off amongst the trees. When night falls, it takes on a different guise as the trees rock and sway and the meadow pops with life. Barn owls hoot, wild boar snuffle and horseshoe bats zip back and forth in the dark.

These bats – one of the rarest in the UK – are the reason both cabins at The Roost have automatic blackout blinds, which activate each evening to keep artificial light inside and the bats undisturbed. Given their diminutive size the bats are, unsurprisingly, hard to spot – but don’t worry, should you miss them, there are plenty of stars to catch sight of instead.

The Inside: Sometimes the smallest things have the biggest personality – and The Nook and The Nest glamping cabins in the Forest of Dean are no exception. These two simple structures pack a lot of character into one carefully-laid out and open-plan space, including a bedroom, living room, kitchen and bathroom.

With each section beautifully decorated in a restful pastel palette, furniture honed from real wood and corners dotted with touches of home luxe to make you (and any four-legged companion you bring) feel very welcome.

At one end of your cabin, a feather-soft kingsize bed roosts. It’s crowned by thick wooden headboard that runs the length of the wall. And atop the headboards in both cabins, hand-painted on the wall like a whisper, are words bidding you good night. ‘Bed down’ says one, ‘nestle down’ says the other.

Bedtime for your dog is equally cosy. Reach under your bed and there’s a pooch-sized pull-out doggy truckle bed. Doggy treats, poo bags, water and food towels are also provided and there’s a doggy wash station outside the site office for cleaning muddy paws after a walk in the Forest.

Opposite your bedroom, a large bathroom beckons with a walk-in rainforest shower for your muddy paws, fresh and fluffy bathrobes, complimentary toiletries, heated towel rail and handmade Mitcheldean soap. It’s roomy enough in the bathroom for a family, even though this glamping escape in the Forest of Dean is strictly for two.

The kitchen is a slender well-equipped strip of cupboards and drawers with all the plates, glasses, utensils and pans you could need for a self-catered forest feast. There is also a induction hob and dishwasher.

But be warned: there is no oven in your cabin. So, expect to cook over your own private firepit using the tools provided. Which, let’s face it, is no real hardship and can be extra tasty thanks to the bbq hamper you can pre-order. It’s piled high with sausages, chops and burgers from local ethical producer, Plump Hill Farm. If you’re not keen on al fresco cooking, there is a oven-microwave combi in the site office for guests to use.

For chill time inside your cabin, there’s a sweetly-designed living space that feels cosy and intimate, but never cramped. The floor-to-ceiling window drenches the living room with light, whilst the petit but fierce log-burner heats the whole cabin up a treat.

There’s also a table and chairs for two (laid with homemade ‘welcome’ scones and jam on arrival) and a perfectly-sized modern sofa made for snuggles and Netflix in the evening (the WiFi here is fast so streaming is a breeze). For off-grid fun, you’ll find a selection of board games and cards games.

The Outside: With its pretty valley vista and forest sounds, The Roost gives you more reason than one to linger outside for long periods of time. Which is why the final flourishing touches that make the Roost extra-special are also outdoors.

The first is the handcrafted wooden ‘love seat’ that rocks gentle in the wind under the covered deck in front of your cabin. Cover it with outdoor blankets and cushions (which are provided) and pour a coffee; even if the sun isn’t shining, sitting here with a good book or a glass of something warm is simply delightful.

The second brilliant addition to The Roost, nests on a raised platform to your right as you sit on the love seat. The Roost’s Japanese Soak Tub is a different kind of al-fresco bathing treat – and requires a glass of something fizzy.

Unlike western bathtubs, it is deeper and more compact in width and length. So much deeper, in fact, that two of you can submerge yourselves in the hot water up to your neck.

Scatter the tub with a few tea lights before the sun goes down, chill the prosecco and switch off. Relaxing is the only thing left on your to-do list now.

You’ll Love: The beauty of a stay at The Roost glamping site in the Forest of Dean is the duality of being disconnected and connected at once. Come here to unplug from the real world and feel the tingle of nature around you, but don’t worry about being isolated. This is not a hermitage.

A few houses are dotted on the hill above and below you, whilst at the end of the meadow there’s a country lane that welcomes the postman’s van each morning. Dog walkers pass along the same road.

Plus, this Forest of Dean glamping spot is only a short drive away from the town of Cinderford and the city of Gloucester. The rest of the Forest of Dean is also on your doorstep with its villages and towns, walks and cycle paths, dog-friendly restaurants and pubs, and mighty Wye River. Explore it all – or explore nothing at all.

But whatever you decide, end it with the Japanese soak tub and we promise, you won’t be sorry.

Awarded: Gold 2020/2021 Best New Tourism Business, South West Awards

The Cost: From £399 for 3 nights

Pic credit: Weekend Candy

Ad: This inclusion has been kindly sponsored by The Roost.

Glamping in the Forest of Dean | No. 2

UP^ Holiday Cabin, Brockweir, NP16 7PH

Sleeps 2 | Dog-friendly | Best for: Raising Your Spirits

The Setting: Slotted into a pea-green hillside on the edge of the Forest of Dean in Brockweir is UP^ – a quirky glamping cabin made for lifting spirits by raising you eye-level with the trees. Find it only 30 mins from the M4/M5 interchange and just 8 miles from Chepstow train station.

Nearby, you’ve plenty to keep you busy, including many beautiful walks, cycle paths and trails through the Forest. Alternatively, go wild swimming in the River Wye or hire a canoe and explore the river without getting your hair wet.

The Inside: As peaceful as its location, the interior of this Forest of Dean glamping cabin is painted cloud-white in a nod to hygge tradition. Wood worktops, floorboards and doors keep the inside light, whilst the natural furnishings and organic cotton sheets and curtains keep it calm.

The floor-to-ceiling windows spill views of the Wye Valley into every room and when the sun shines, swing the doors open onto the raised deck for a kiss from the fresh air. There’s a large bedroom with a king-sized bed, an open-plan living and dining room and a spacious kitchen.

You’ll Love: The white baby grand piano that stands pride of place in the living room, the outdoor bath tub that’s tucked away in a private spot on the outdoor deck and the powerful telescope that’s been left on deck for budding star spotters.

Awarded: Green Tourism Silver Award

Cost: From £425 for a short stay

Discover more: Wye Lets

Pic credit: Wye Lets

Glamping in the Forest of Dean | No. 3

Cadora Woods, St Briavels, GL15 6QJ

Sleeps 2 | Dog-friendly | Best for: Countryside Calm

The Setting: A sea of grass awaits you at Cadora Woods glamping in the Forest of Dean. Here, buried in the heart of the Wye Valley AONB, are 10-acres for you to explore, with unbroken countryside views and wrap-around peace and quiet. To ensure tranquillity, cars are not allowed on site. So park in the parking area and use the wheelbarrow to shuffle your bags to your hidey-hole.

If you want to roam, 4 miles away you have the pretty villages of Clearwell and St. Briavels, and the charming town of Monmouth is a short 15 min drive. If you fancy a leg-stretching pub lunch there are 4 good pubs just over an hours’ walk away.

The Options: Cadora Woods has 5 unique escapes on site to call your own for a weekend or longer: two Mongolian-inspired yurts (with wooden exteriors instead of felt coverings), one smaller yurt with a cotton cover, and two shepherd’s huts (one built in red cedar wood, the other from handcrafted metal).

Carefully placed around the meadow to ensure your privacy, all five options sleep 2 adults and are dog-friendly – and can be grouped book for special occasions.

There are firepits outside each cabin for sundowners and marshmallow toasting; there’s also an on-site converted aircraft hangar (with a lounge, a wood burner, and an honesty shop) a communal kitchen (with Covid-safety measures in place), as well as your own bathroom in the newly-built wash block.

You’ll Love:  Cooking over the firepit as the sun sets, local woodland walks, the immaculately decorated and super-cosy yurts and shepherd’s huts, and the home-cooked meals that can be booked in advance and delivered during your stay.

Awarded: Superhost with AirBnB

The Cost: From £75pn

Discover more: Cadora Woods Glamping

Pic Credit: Cadora Woods Glamping

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Glamping in the Forest of Dean | No. 4

Mrs Mills Yurts, Longhope, GL17 0RA

4 Yurts Sleep 4 – 5 | Dog-friendly | Best For: Happy Families

The Setting: Studded into the farmland of May Hill (a National Trust landmark between Ross-on-Wye and Gloucester), are 4 thick-set, solar-powered Mongolian yurts. This is Mrs Mills’ glamping in the Forest of Dean, a 6-acre south-facing sweep of countryside surrounding the owners’ farmhouse.

From here, the unblemished views reach down the valley and up to May Hill itself, which is worth summiting on a sunny day. Best of all, because Mrs Mills is set on the edge of the village of Longhope, you can reach the local pub on foot. Regency Cheltenham is a simple half hour drive away for dinner out, as is Ross-on-Wye.

The Inside: All four yurts have names straight outa the roaring 20s – ‘Tanaduke’, ‘Hildegarde’, ‘Zelda’ and ‘Gatsby – and are styled to suit. Luxury beds, squishy duvets and pillows, woodburners (that are lit before arrival in chiller months), and a kitchenette with everything you need to self-cater.

Within the farmhouse, less than 100m away, are private ‘beach hut’ bathrooms with towelling robes and complimentary Asquith and Somerset toiletries. And there are wood-fired hot tubs available to use, too.

Outside, your own herb garden peps up mealtime, your own fire pit, barbeque and gas camping stove makes open-air dinner delightful and there’s also a ‘secret’ kitchen with indoor dining if you are in a group and al fresco isn’t possible. Should you want to ditch the cooking, Nicola, the owner, provides delicious hampers for all occasions, including breakfast, dinner, midnight feasts and a vintage picnic for a walk up May Hill.

You’ll Love: The farm-like simplicity, the friendly welcome, the complimentary tea and treats served daily in the onsite snug and the award-winning micro-brewery (Hillside) just next door.

Awarded: Certificate of Excellence TripAdvisor

The Cost: From £135pn

Discover more: Mrs Mills Yurts

Pic Credit: Mrs Mills Yurts

Glamping in the Forest of Dean | No. 4

Wanderlust Camper Hire, Dymock, GL18 2AF

Glamping-style vans Sleep 4 – 5  | Dog-friendly | Best For: Road Trippers

The Setting: Based in Dymock, on the gateway to the Forest of Dean, and just off the M5/M50, Wanderlust Camper Hire is your route into the heart of the Forest and beyond. Offering 3 fun glampervans for hire – Lily, Lula and Molly – this family-run business gives families, friends, couples or soloists the freedom to choose where to glamp in the Forest of Dean.

The Inside: Easy-peasy beds, compact ‘n’ cute kitchens, breezy dining, and no fiddly pop-top roof to work out, all three hard-top vans are built to be comfy. Both whilst on the road or set down for the night. Lily, Lula and Molly are all individual and have all handcrafted by the team at Wanderlust Camper Co.

Lily is nice and big for a family of four or four friends. Lula is compact and pet-loving (with an extra seat belt clip for a dog). Molly, the latest addition to the fleet, makes clever use of her space so four can happily co-exist. Check out the individual features on Lily, Lula and Molly to get to know them better before you head off for a glamping adventure in the Forest of Dean.

You’ll Love: The personal service and the owners’ passion for vanning. They know how to make your trip super-comfy and memorable, which is why they also offer a range of curated road-trip tours to follow should you want to get under the skin of a particular town, city or area. Plus, thank to their sister business, Wanderlust Camper Tours, you’ve the chance to stay somewhere extra special en route. Such as a vineyard, craft barn or country pub. Just pick their Secret Stays™ option. 

Awarded: Best Camper Hire Company, 2020 in the SME News Business Elite Awards

Cost: From £300 for 3 nights (inc driver’s insurance)

Discover more: Wanderlust Campervan Hire

Pic Credit: Wanderlust Campervan Hire

More places to stay in the Forest of Dean

Disclosure: While we have not stayed at every glamping site featured, we have carefully selected these as recommendations based on their location, unique character, awards, Covid policy, and previous guest reviews.

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Claire Robinson Founder of Weekend Candy
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