Situated in the heart of the Forest of Dean, Beechenhurst was previously home to the Speech House Colliery (a deep level coal mine.) Beechenhurst was converted to a picnic site in the 1960s and is now a popular tourist attraction with forest walking trails including the Sculpture Trail, family activity trail, access to the Colliers trail (family cycle trail), Beechenhurst café, an adventure play area and Go Ape (Tree Top Adventure). Beechenhurst is situated just off the B4226 Speech House Road between the towns of Coleford and Cinderford.
There is level access from the main entrance to:Ranger HatchBeechenhurst ToiletsBeechenhurst CafeMeeting roomBeechenhurst Adventure Play Park
There is level access from the car park to:Beechenhurst Picnic Area
Travel by public transport
The nearest train station is Lydney, which is 8.2 miles away. Taxis are available at the station and accessible taxis can be booked in advance. A helpline is available Mon – Sun 08:00 – 20:00 on 08453 003 005. There are no staff available at the station, however there is a ramp for train access. The Newport bound platform is accessible via a ramp with a gradient of 1:12.
Blue badge accessible parking is available close to the main building via a sloped tarmac access ramp or from the smaller front car park which is level but a further distance from the building, this is accessible by following the access road towards the exit. Both of these paths to the main building will also take you to the cafe, toilets, ticket machines, picnic area and play area.
Parking charges apply to all visitors including blue badge holders, this is a national Forestry England policy and parking charges are enforced.
Visitors with limited mobility may find it easier to pay by phone or online using RingGo prior to their arrival. Please note car parking spaces are not reserved or guaranteed if paid for prior to arrival on site.
To pay by phone call 0203 046 0063.
To pay online visit myringgo.co.uk or download the app prior to visiting.
Already registered? Text 81025 or use the app.
Location codes: Car: 31002 Minibus: 31003 Coach: 31004
Purchasing a ticket on the day – There are 3 pay and display machines located around the site, you can pay for parking via card by the pay and display machine by the main building underneath the arches, the other machines accept cash only payments. There is a ticket machine located by the blue badge bays in the smaller front car park. This ticket machine is cash only.
For the blue badge bays located closest to the building with an access ramp, users have access to a ticket machine that accepts card payments as well as cash. Or car parking tickets can be bought at the Rangers Hatch at peak times via cash or card payments.
Path to main entrance
Getting around inside
Ticket/ information desk
There is a Rangers Hatch that opens at Beechenhurst at peak times. This is mostly weekends, bank holidays and school holidays throughout the summer. The Rangers hatch is an information desk where you can buy trail maps, activity packs, membership and car parking day tickets. Hours of operation are usually 11am-3pm.
Access to the Rangers Hatch is via a fixed ramp from one of the blue badge parking areas. Access from the other blue badge parking area is flat.
Public toilets are located at the end of the building close to disabled parking area 1. They are clearly signed. There are separate male and female facilities and an accessible toilet which includes baby changing facilities.
The accessible toilet door is 0.85m x 1.95m the door has a hand rail on the inside and is set at 0.95m from ground height. The room is approximately 2.8m x 1.97m. There are two handrails by the toilet itself which can be folded down. When down these are 0.68m from ground height.
Place to eat and drink
Beechenhurst Café is at the heart of the site, and is open from between 8.30am-9.00am daily. The café has over 100 covers inside, which are accessible via the central atrium. There is further outdoor seating, most of which has accessible access. There is a canopy outside the front of the café and a separate shelter covering tables for rainy days or for keeping out of the sun.
The outdoor Kiosk is raised but staff are happy to come out and assist visitors when requested.
The café comprises of 2 distinct seating areas, one has wet pour flooring and the other is wooden. There is ample natural light and further low level lighting in both sections.
The main atrium doors are automatic opening and have no lips to the doors, other than on the external door in the smaller café seating area, known as ‘The Snug’. The snug has comfy seating by a woodburner.
Please note during busy periods Beechenhurst Cafe may direct customers through a one-way system using the side entrance in the Snug, this door is not automatic and has a lip. Beechenhurst Cafe and Forestry England Staff are happy to help visitors if they require assistance.
Food served in the café is locally sourced where possible. There is a wide selection of hot and cold food and provision for baby food heating. The café does it’s best to cater for dietary requirements with vegetarian, vegan and dairy or gluten free options.
For further information on the menu or specific requirements please contact the café direct 01594 824662.
The upper level of Beechenhurst is used for functions and events and can be hired out from the café. The loft is accessible via a wooden access ramp located to the rear of the building. The access ramp is approximately 38.5m in length and is 1.2m wide with hand rails and an anti-slip surface. The loft can seat up to 40 people and has a accessible toilet.
Getting around outside
The Sculpture Trail
There are a number of waymarked walking trails at Beechenhurst all of which pass through the woodland areas in the Cannop Valley.
The topography of the area means that the paths around the site have some steep slopes making the walks unsuitable for most pushchairs and wheelchairs.
Some trails can be accessed using mobility scooters but it is advised that you contact the main forestry office at Coleford firstname.lastname@example.org Tel: 0300 067 4800 between 9am-3pm Monday to Friday for further advice.
There is a walks information board at Beechenhurst and a specific trail start board for the Sculpture Trail. Leaflets on the walks are available at the café and rangers hatch or dowloadable from the Forestry England Website.
The internationally renowned Sculpture Trail features pieces by artists set in the beautiful woodland surroundings of the Forest of Dean. The route uses a mixture of wide surfaced (loose stone) tracks and narrow unsurfaced paths. There are steep gradients along the route making it unsuitable for most wheelchairs and pushchairs. Two shortcuts are marked for those not wishing to complete the whole 4.5 mile route. Many of the artworks are accessible to touch.
However, at the begining of the Sculpture Trail there is a trail up to a viewpoint that is accessible for most people, but not accessible to all. The trail is a 1:10 gradient path and it has a hard and firm path surface with some loose stones, no bigger than 10mm and not covering the whole path. The are 4 rest areas along this section of the trail leading up to the viewpoint.
There is alternative parking at Speech house woodlands where you are able to access both the Cathedral sculpture and Gathering sculpture via newly laid paths and level areas. This is accessible to wheelchairs.
Beechenhurst Picnic Area
There are a number of picnic areas at Beechenhurst, some of which have benches suitable for wheelchair users. From the accessible parking area 1, access to the picnic areas are via a permanent ramp. From the accessible parking area 2, access is along a flat path. Some picnic areas are on the grass whilst others are on a hard stone surface. There are a few picnic areas sheltered by a canopy of trees, some other areas are more open.
Visitors can bring their own tables, chairs and picnic blankets for their stay.
There are four BBQ areas available for hire at Beechenhurst. Access to 'The Glade' BBQ area is via an uphill hard stone path. Access to 'The Colliers View' BBQ 1, 2 & 3 is via a flat grassy area. All four BBQ areas have parking close by, however accessible bays are not in place at these locations.
BBQ’s can be hired via Forestry England at https://bit.ly/BeechenhurstBBQ
Booking is available 30 days in advance, and will close 34 hours in advance.
Beechenhurst Adventure Play Park
There is a toddler and children’s play area. One piece of furniture (a nestswing) is DDA (Equality Act 2010) compliant however at this point the access to the swing is on a surface comprising of loose bark chippings. The play area also consists of two accessible swing sets but again these are on loose bark chippings. Forestry England are currently reviewing the play area safety surface and are planning to make more of the play equipment accessible by installing a different surface. Any new installations will be designed for access to all in mind.
Customer care support
Trampers are available to hire from both The Speech House hotel and Forest Holidays, Christchurch. You can book directly with both of these. Visitors with permanent or temporary limited mobility can hire one of two ‘Walking with Wheels’ trampers through the Countryside Mobility Scheme, that is supported by Forest Voluntary Action Forum and part-funded by Foresters’ Forest National Lottery Heritage funded programme. They can be hired for £2.50 an hour.
You can be accompanied by a volunteer guide who will be able to help you explore the forest, however, please note that advance booking for this service is necessary .
Emergency evacuation procedures
Customer care support
Our Sculpture Trail and Explorer maps are available in alternative formats. Please call 0300 067 4000 or email email@example.com to request this.