Whitemead Forest Park
Parkend, Lydney, Gloucestershire GL15 4LA
You don’t have to be an award-winning author to be inspired by the Forest of Dean, a corrugated blanket of green and brown merging into the slopes of the Wye Valley. Certainly J.K. Rowling’s childhood walks among the trees influenced the magical landscapes of Harry Potter, while J.R.R. Tolkien famously shaped the fabled forests of middle earth around his visits to the ancient woodland. But this Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty captivates all who care to visit and its riches are the well-spring of a turbulent history. A cherished royal hunting ground for flamboyant Tudor kings, it was enclosed for preservation in 1801 spurring violent uprisings from foresters and hunters thirsty for its plunder. Today we can all be grateful for the swathes of fauna filled woodland that remain; a remarkably beautiful forest that cries out to would-be campers.
Such cries are answered by Whitemead Forest Park, an expansive campsite with a mix of grassy tent pitches, caravan hard standings and luxury glamping pods. Five miles from the Severn Estuary to the east and the Welsh Border to the west, Whitemead lies in the heart of the Forest of Dean in one truly spectacular location. Ok, so this may be a pretty commercial site that falls more into the holiday park category. But this location trumps such minor details and even the staunchest of old-school campers can't fail to be won over by the facilities on offer. With a heated indoor swimming pool and sauna, fully-equipped gym, health and beauty spa, games room, restaurant, two bars and well-stocked shop, such a cornucopia of facilities are not something to complain about, particularly when they’re this immaculately clean and well maintained.
Pitch-wise, while the caravans are in the majority, secluded camping spots lie nicely separated, tucked away in ‘The Hollow’, a grassy area with a path leading into the woods. The result is a site bursting with activities but still offering a quiet corner to relax in the sun.
If the endless onsite options are not your cup of tea, then escape the bustle via a short walk across the campsite and over a pond to the village of Parkend, a peaceful backwater with delightful local pubs. Here you’ll also find Nagshead Nature Reserve, home to the diverse birdlife that the Forest of Dean is so famous for. Parkend is crossed by a number of good footpaths and for both cycling and walking this is an ideal destination; a paradise of paths weaving through the forest and descending into the Wye Valley. For the most commanding views of the landscape head north to Goodrich Castle and climb the battlements of the Norman Keep, or, at the other end of the spectrum, delve into nearby Clearwell Caves where tours of an intricate cave and mine system can reach up to 200ft beneath the ground!
Whitemead Forest Park is a campsite of opportunities – a wealth of onsite fun combined with a host of attractions right on the doorstep. A welcoming place to pitch the tent or pull up a caravan with facilities to occupy the kids, while you map out your morning bike trip. In the evenings you can retire to the repose of your pitch, relax in the jacuzzi or head to the bar for a chilled glass of vino. In short, an ideal, affordable family-friendly retreat in one of England's great ancient woodlands.
The Owner Says
Whitemead Forest Park is the perfect UK holiday destination, whether you're looking for a relaxing break or an action-packed holiday. Whitemead offers a range of accommodation and camping and caravanning pitches in the heart of the forest.
We have over 110 pitches and all have the use of the Park's excellent on-site facilities, including a restaurant, bar, swimming pool, sauna and gym.
There are no extra charges for electricity (all caravan pitches have 16 amp electrical hook-ups) or use of the showers, family bathrooms, laundry rooms and washing up points.
We had a relaxing two night stay. Although a largish park, plenty of showers and hot water in a very clean shower block. Friendly and helpful staff. Lovely setting