3 (off peak)
Chapel Cottage is as pretty as a picture. The stone dwelling is perfect for couples, single people and small families as it has a double and single bedroom. It is in the peaceful village of Ellwood in the beautiful Forest of Dean, a short drive from Coleford and within reach of spectacular walks, exhilarating cycling trails, and some of the best food producers and pubs in the country.
Ellwood is a friendly residential village which benefits from direct access to the sort of woodland that the Forest of Dean is famous for. Chapel Cottage is an ideal place for a holiday, especially if you have a dog as it is very dog-friendly, with footpaths leading virtually from the door. The cycle and walking track, which is part of the Forest of Dean cycle way takes you on a waymarked route through the forest and can be joined near by at Darkhill Ironworks, designed by David Mushett in 1811 and now preserved as a Scheduled Monument.
The Forest of Dean was once nearly 100,000 acres, however the wealth of its natural timber, coal and ore resources, meant that it shrunk to nearly 10% of its original size by the 1600s. Thankfully, replanting took place and much of the landscape is now protected as the UK’s oldest National Forest Park. You can still see some of the original, ancient forest at Puzzlewood, around a mile from Chapel Cottage. It is easy to understand how Tolkien borrowed from the almost-magical atmosphere to create part of Middle Earth in Lord of the Rings, and why it has been used as a filming location for Doctor Who, Star Wars, Merlin and Jack the Giant Slayer.
Symonds Yat sits high above the River Wye in a designated Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty. While there are footpaths and cycling trails, there is also a car park a short walk from a cafe, and seating area with breathtaking views over the valley and the forest where you may be fortunate enough to see peregrine falcons. It is stunning at any time of year, but particularly impressive in autumn when the canopy turns into a riot of seasonal colours, and the spring when the bluebells are stunning. Also nearby are Clearwell Caves, where you can see evidence of pre-Roman mining, and the wonderful Coleford Great Western Railway Museum housed in the original Victorian train station, and Perrygrove Steam Railway.
As well as walking, cycling and horse riding, the Forest of Dean is a favourite holiday destination for people who appreciate history. Being close to the Welsh border means there are some amazing castles and Roman ruins nearby.
Coleford is three miles from Chapel Cottage. It is a small town with a variety of facilities including eateries, although the area surrounding Ellwood and Coleford also offers a wealth of pubs serving great food if you do not feel like cooking. Ross-on-Wye, Crickhowell and Abergavenny are all excellent choices for a spot of shopping and lunch; Monmouth has a thriving farmers market; and Gloucester, Cheltenham and Stroud are all within an hour’s drive.
The owners of Chapel Cottage have gone to great efforts to make sure that, whatever the season or your preferred type of holiday, your stay is a comfortable one.
Deborah Birks joined Independent Cottages in January 2018
Chapel Cottage is spread out over two floors, with the living space downstairs and bedrooms upstairs. The owners have taken care to ensure you feel comfortable, with thoughtful touches to welcome you.
Outside: A mature garden is planted with flowering climbing plants and shrubs. It is enclosed and safe for pets. A paved patio area has a table, chairs, parasol and barbecue so you can make the most of sunny days and summer evenings. There is private parking for several cars and a lockable shed providing storage for bikes and outdoor gear.
Additional Information: The cottage has WiFi and central heating. All utilities and linen are included. Short breaks may be possible depending on availability. Not suitable for children under five years old. Well behaved dogs and other pets welcome with prior arrangement. No smoking. A £100 returnable deposit is required when booking for excessive cleaning/breakages.
Free range sheep roam the Forest, lambs are starting to appear, skipping along in the spring sunshine. It won't be long before the bluebells are in bloom, usually early to mid May.