Dean Heritage Centre, Camp Mill, Soudley, Glos, GL14 2UB
Telephone: 01594 822170
From the ice age to the present day, discover the secrets and legends of one of Britain's ancient 'Royal' forests. Situated in five acres of scenic woodland, the Dean Heritage Centre tells the story of the Forest of Dean and its people. Through exhibitions, outdoor displays and a year round programme of events, explore the history of this 'hidden' country with a visit to the Heritage Centre.
The Dean Heritage Centre has five galleries and a library to explore inside the Museum and numerous displays and attractions to discover outside.
The Museum of the Forest comprises 5 galleries. These explore the history of the Forest from the Ice Age to the present day.
Gallery 1 investigates the fascinating geology and landscape of the Forest of Dean and displays the fossilised remains of the plants and creatures that once inhabited the area. Early Roman occupation and the iron industry are also explored.
Gallery 2 explores the history of the Dean as a medieval hunting forest. Forest Law was introduced in England's Royal Forests to protect the deer and the boar hunted by Kings, and the woodland in which they grazed. The role of St. Briavels Castle in the ancient administration of the Forest of Dean, and in the production of quarrels for crossbows in the 13th century is explored, as is the part played by the Forest of Dean in the English Civil War.
Gallery 3 examines the Forest of Dean's industrial legacy including the fishing industries generated by the Rivers Severn and Wye. Cottage crafts such as cobbling, carpentry and blacksmithing are highlighted, along with the history of the Voyce family who made their famous clocks in Mitcheldean. A significant part of the gallery is dedicated to the Dean's coal mining industry, from stories of mining disasters and rescues to the everyday tools and objects that belonged to the miner's life. The gallery is also home of Sopwith's unique geological model of the Forest of Dean showing the mineral deposits and underground workings.
Gallery 4 is also known as Gallery 41, since it is the community gallery and 41 is the number of parishes that make up the Forest of Dean. A changing programme of exhibitions, tell the story of the Forest people, past and present.
Gallery 5 focuses on the large-scale collieries of the Forest and the deeper shafts that were made possible by the advent of steam power. The gallery features a working Beam Engine, which was made at Hewlett's iron foundry at Camp Mill - the site of the present Museum.
The Gage Library contains over 18,000 historic records and archives and is the perfect place to search out local history enquiries or trace your family history roots. Local historians will be more than happy to help you with any research questions you may have.
The Gage Library is open to the public on Monday and Wednesday afternoon's between 2pm-4pm. Telephoning for an appointment is recommended.
The Forester's Cottage is an accurately reconstructed Victorian home with open fire and garden. In the cottage grounds you'll find a pair of Gloustershire Old Spot pigs, chickens and local varieties of orchard trees.
The Charcoal Burner's Camp is situated in the woodlands, adjacent to the Museum and is where demonstrations of traditional turf and earth charcoal burning take place. The charcoal burners hut is used during these burns as a place of shelter and sleep for those doing the night shifts. See our events page for more dates and times of the charcoal burn demonstrations.
The Freemine is dug into the side of a hill, and is a replica of a traditional Forest of Dean coalmine, as used by Freeminers.
The Adventure Playground Follow the woodland path along the Soudley brook and you'll discover a woodland adventure playground with lots of things to do and play on!
OPENING HOURS Summer (March – October):
Open daily 10am – 5pm
Winter (November – February):
Open weekends only 10am-4pm
Open Bank Holidays
except between 24 – 26th December
Open New Year’s Day 11am-4pm
ADMISSION CHARGES 2007
Child (under 16):- £2.50
Family ticket:- £14.00
(2 adults and up to 4 children)
* Children under 5 are free *
The Heritage Centre is open throughout the year with reduced hours in winter.
Group and school bookings are available by prior appointment all year round.
There is wheelchair access to all galleries. Please telephone in advance if you have any special requirements to help facilitate your visit. The Heritage Centre has a wheelchair, which must be booked, at no extra charge, in advance.
An adapted toilet is available in the main part of the Museum.
Only guide dogs are allowed in the Museum and grounds. Dogs are allowed in the car park area but must on kept on leads at all times.
Opening Hours About UsCar parking available with additional disabled spaces
RURAL SKILLS COURSES 2007:-
The Dean Heritage Centre also have rural skills cources at various rates, teaching the atrs of
Hedge Laying, Hurdle Making, Stone Carving, Dry Stone Walling, Bow Making, Basket Making and Coppicing and Woodland Crafts