The Wild Rambler

A blog celebrating nature, outdoor adventures, folk tales and crafts

Category: Reviews

Wild adventures in the Forest of Dean and Wye Valley

Group of outdoor bloggers after caving

Happy muddy cavers. Image © David Broadbent

When people talk about places for outdoor adventure in the UK, they tend to focus on the big hitters – The Lakes, Snowdonia, Dartmoor etc. However after spending a weekend in the Forest of Dean and Wye Valley with some of the lovely #OutdoorBloggers crew, I think it’s time that more people heard about the amazing adventure potential of this beautiful region. Here are just a few of the activities you can try.

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Where to stay in the Forest of Dean and Wye Valley

A viewpoint in Puzzlewood

‘Hidden gem’ is a pretty over-used phrase these days, but it definitely applies to the Wye Valley and Forest of Dean. Not only are the acres of ancient forest and deep rushing rivers spectacularly beautiful, but the area is also full to the brim with places to explore and activities to try. What’s more, it’s only an hour’s drive from me – so after a quick zip down the M4 on a Friday afternoon, I soon found myself bowling along quiet country roads to arrive at Puzzlewood, where I was staying for the weekend.

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Review: Buff Headwear for cool-weather trail running

Close up of girl wearing blue Merino wool Buff as a neckwarmer

Confession: for an outdoorsy person, I can be pretty lazy. I’m particularly bad in winter, when the freezing winds and incessant rain make it all too easy to find excuses not to go outside. All of which is a roundabout attempt to justify the fact that I haven’t been for a run since September.

Fortunately the lovely team at Kitshack recently gave me the opportunity to test out a Buff, which was the prod I needed to hit the trail again and see if this might finally crack my reluctance to run in anything less than 20 degree sunshine.

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Exploring the wilds of Dartmoor

Emily in Wistman's Wood, Dartmoor

If you’re in search of tiny picturesque villages, miles of rambling over open heathland and more local folklore than you can shake a stick at, then Dartmoor is the place to go.  I spent a week swimming in rivers, exploring the wild moors, and generally pretending I was in a gothic horror mystery novel.

Spoiler alert: at no point was I eaten by a giant hound.

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Review: Hydroflask insulated bottle

‘Let’s go on an 8 mile hike around Bath’ said Jenny.

‘It’ll be fun’ said Jenny.

Ok so it wasn’t as bad as all that, but my first time around the Bath Skyline walk did remind me just how damn hilly my home city can be, especially as it was a pretty hot ‘n humid day. Fortunately I’d been sent a shiny Hydroflask to try out – but would it keep my restorative smoothie nice and cold, or would I be left with a load of tepid gloop on my hands? (Possibly literally. I’m a very messy eater).

Hydroflask

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Review: ‘De la Vina’ boots by Teva

IMG_6777

If something’s worth reviewing, it’s worth reviewing properly – right? At least that’s my excuse for the fact that I’ve spent the last 6 months thoroughly abusing my De la Vina Low boots (£90) from Teva.

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Horseback Archery

It is a truth universally acknowledged that if you want me to wake up pre-8am, the best tactic is to bribe me with ponies. If you then add another quirky sport into the mix I might even be enthusiastic about it – which explains why I was up at the ungodly hour of 5am a few weeks ago so that my lovely co-adventurer Siân and I could drive over to Hertfordshire for a day of Horseback Archery. (Yes it is a thing. Yes it is awesome.)

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Beach Riding, Pembrokeshire

Nolton Pembrokeshire 1

According to Benjamin Disraeli, ‘a canter is a cure for all evils’. Fortunately I’m not plagued by that many evils at the moment, but I was still glad of a chance to blow away the cobwebs when I went beach riding in Pembrokeshire, courtesy of Nolton Stables (and especially Ace!)

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