PLAP Route 15 - The Blakeney Greenway and Carriage Driving Circuit
Distance: approximately 12.5 miles
Map: Ordnance Survey Explorer Map Number OL14 (Map 1:25000)
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The Forest of Dean is located in the county of Gloucestershire, on the border between England and Wales and, although it is tucked away between the River Severn and the River Wye, it is remarkably easy to access by road or rail.
This is a 12.5 mile route in a figure of 8, making either two shorter drives or one long drive. The drive is in the beautiful Forest of Dean and apart from a short stretch is off road on mostly hard forest tracks, with some grassy tracks. It is undulating with some long hills, although not very steep.
Visiting carriage drivers wishing to use the Blakeney Greenway must contact the Forestry Commission’s office in Coleford (call 01594 833057 or email email@example.com) to buy an annual permit which will provide them with keys to the barriers that control access to this route. Please allow at least 14 days for your application to be processed.
This route is one of four routes that make up the Forest of Dean Greenways Project, piloted by the Forest of Dean and District Horse Riders and Carriage Drivers Association. For more information on this project please visit the Forest of Dean Greenways website (opens in new window).
This route requires you to start the drive from Mallard Pike car park (map ref. 637088). There is a parking charge and it can get very busy on school holidays and weekends. There are toilets and disabled facilities. The parking bays are easily big enough for a lorry or car and trailer.
1. Follow the exit signs to the entrance from the road but take the gate on the left. Follow the track uphill passing the first right turn. You will see the lake on your left as you go along. This is a steady climb for well over a mile. Ignore the next right and continue on until the crossing track. Go straight over.
2. Continue along this track and take the right fork.
3. You now have a lovely long drive up and down hill (not too steep). The track will eventually bend left and go steeply downhill for a short distance before you come to a T-junction.
4. Turn sharp right and follow the track to the T-junction where you will turn sharp left. You are now on the track you originally came up.
5. Follow the track; again, you will see the lake through the trees on your right. Take the first left, or you can continue on and go back to the car park.
6. Continue along another long track to the road where you will turn right.
7. Follow the road go over a bridge, look right and you will see the remains of a Roman road (there is now some doubt as to whether this was a true Roman road). Then go under Blackpool Bridge to the T-junction. Cross the road to a forestry track.
8. Stay on this track passing a greenways sign. Look for a multi-way sign and turn sharp right onto a grassy track going uphill.
9. Keep on the left fork going along the ‘pylons track’. The pylons will be on your left. There are two manholes on this track. Pass close to a pylon on the right and come to another track.
10. Bear right and very shortly turn sharp right. Go uphill to a stoned forestry track and turn right.
11. Stay on this undulating track eventually going uphill. Turn right onto another grassy track.
12. There will be pylons on your left. Go down the grassy track turning right at a stoned track.
13. This track will bring you down onto the road opposite the entrance to Mallard Pike.
14. Cross the road and go through the new carriage gate next to the cattle grid.
15. Follow the road to the car park.
You can also do the drive in two halves. At point 5, continue down to the gate, turn right for the car park. Alternatively, from the car park follow the exit signs to the road, take the left track through the gate and then take the first right. Follow from point 6.
Parking: Parking is available at Mallards Pike. There is a charge of £3.50 from March to October and £3 from November to February. You'll need to check the time the gates will be locked.
Please do not park in front of any barrier. These are needed by others to access the forest.
Insurance: The BHS recommends that before undertaking any part of this route, both horse and rider should be adequately insured against public liability. The British Horse Society can provide public liability and personal accident insurance cover as well as many benefits if you join as a member (terms and conditions and territorial limits apply). For more information or to join, visit our Membership section.
Feedback: These routes are kept to the standard that the local authority can afford. They were all accessible at the lime of launch and are on definitive public rights of way. If you experience any problems with the routes or wish to raise any concerns, please contact the local authority, your local BHS Access Officer or the Access Team at BHS HQ via firstname.lastname@example.org.