It’s the first of May and Summer is on its way. Time to dig out the picnic blanket and make plans to meet with family and friends. After all, spending time in good company, sharing food is one of life’s great pleasures.… And that’s how it was when I was a child and my family went for a picnic to Wenchford. It’s still a popular picnic area especially this time of year as its close to Blackpool Bridge and the Roman Road where you can picnic surrounded by a carpet of blue at the beginning of May and as the days became warmer, paddling in the brook is great fun!
Sometimes I forget how lucky we are because when it comes to awesome picnic spots we are spoilt for choice in the Forest of Dean and Wye Valley. Whether your ideal spot is a woodland hideaway or riverside location, a heritage site or one of the hills leading to stunning views, there is something for everyone. PLUS don’t forget our farm shops and deli’s celebrating local produce, some may even provide a ready-made picnic hamper for that extra special treat! Here are another four popular spots to picnic or have a BBQ.
Mallard’s Pike Lake was voted the best place to picnic in the South West in the Warburton’s Picnic Awards 2010. It is a beautiful setting with several lakes surrounded by woodland popular with locals and visitors to the area its also known as an adventure activity destination for walking and cycling. It’s also home to Go Ape Tree Top Challenge, Forest Segway’s and the Gruffalo Orienteering but most people take a walk around the lake and sit and enjoy the picturesque scenery. Save some bread for the ducks and look out for the dragonflies that like to skim the pond. There is a café that sells hot and cold refreshments and BBQ facilities available.
Symonds Yat Rock is an internationally renowned viewpoint overlooking the River Wye with Symonds Yat East and Symonds Yat West on either side. It’s one of the best places in the country to observe Peregrine Falcons – but you can also see other birds of prey. There is plenty to do with five walking routes and a cycling route that take you through woodland and along riverside trails. There are many places to explore including the popular Symonds Yat Rock to Biblins Loop finishing at the Log Café where there are picnic tables and refreshments available.
Beechenhurst was the backdrop to many of my childhood picnics growing up. Back then there was just a big space to play ball games. Now it’s as popular with locals as it is with tourists with lots to do. Located in the heart of the forest and the beginning and end of the circular Sculpture Trail it’s the perfect rain or shine picnic location with plenty of outdoor space and a lovely café with indoor seating. There is an adventure playground for the young where parents can sit at picnic tables and have a cuppa while their children play. As well as the Sculpture Trail there is also the Gruffalo Spotters Trail, a climbing tower and Go Ape Arial Adventure and with BBQ areas in-situ it’s a great space for a picnic, BBQ or a quick snack from the Café (I can recommend their paninis and sausage rolls!)
May Hill – Cliffords Mense is a truly magical place for a picnic. It is a spiritual site and an official site of special scientific interest. It has a long and ancient history and is one of the highest hills in the area with a clump of trees that are a well-known landmark that can be seen from miles around. It’s summit on the western edge is in Gloucestershire and its slopes on the northern edge are in Herefordshire. Sometimes there are ponies and cattle grazing on the hillside. It’s a great place to go and fly a kite and on a balmy evening it’s one of the best locations in the Forest of Dean to watch the sun setting.
We hope that when you visit us you have time to go for a picnic or BBQ. Remember to take a photo and tagging us #woodlandbarnfod to let us know where you found your perfect picnic spot.