King of the Wild Things: Dean Heritage Centre

I remember as a young boy, when the Dean Heritage Centre opened. We took a school visit, to discover the rich history of our locale. The blink of an eye, and thirty years have passed us by. This time instead of being a small boy, exploring our rich heritage, I am now guiding my own son down memory lane.

The wonderful museum, with around 20,000 pieces on show, is the main attraction here. JB showed a little interest in a few of them, but as a two year old I didn’t expect much. 

However, dotted around there are little workstations, furnished with crayons, pencils, and pictures ready to colour. A wonderful touch, designed to give older children, and us parents, a chance to discover the cornucopia of history the Forest of Dean has to offer, while the little ones doodle.

From Iron Age, through Roman and Saxon times; the industrial revolution, two world wars, and a gallery dedicated to the life and works of our local playwright, Dennis Potter.


Now I’ve wet your appetite, lets move on the the meat and potatoes of why we were here in the first place.

The Dean Heritage Centre have a Hungry Caterpillar trail, running until next Easter, winding through the woods, finishing at an adventure playground.

All the stops along the way feature a large wooden caterpillar and the fruit that has been eaten. They are marvelous creations from the on-site chainsaw carver, Clayton Ryder.


The playground is exactly as I remember it, although smaller for some reason, but the look on my sons face, put me in mind of how I felt, playing there, all those years ago.

Can you find all of the sugary treats that gave the hungry caterpillar tummy ache? 

 I know if I’d eaten a cake this big, I would be suffering for a week! They are hidden in and around the playground, and my little cherub was so excited when he found them.

Along with the Hungry Caterpillar, you will find, a coal mine, traditional charcoal burning, (the last weekend of August), and lots of other wood carvings. You will find pieces from previous trails such as The Gruffalo, and Room on the Broom. 



There is also a bug trail, and if you don’t like our eight legged friends, then I suggest you turn away now.

Did I mention the great archives library they have on site? Surely I mentioned the ferret walks, and the Pigs?

There is literally loads to see and do here, they have an art gallery where they showcase great local artists, and many other attractions on certain dates. Check out the Dean Heritage Centre website for further information.

All in all, a great escape from the hustle and bustle of modern life, whether that’s into the magical past for you, or the wonderful world of books for your kids.

King of the Wild Things is a series of posts about the wonderful places your children would love to visit in the Forest of Dean. Check out other posts in the series by clicking the following links.

Perrygrove Railway

Brilliant blog posts on

4 thoughts on “King of the Wild Things: Dean Heritage Centre

    • Glad to hear you’ll be popping by. 😃

      Before you explore, be sure to visit a tourist information office. Pick up a visitors guide for loads of tasty ‘money off’ offers to most of the attractions here.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s