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Download 10 walks in the Forest of Dean

exploring the rocks, minerals and mining history of the Forest.

An eleventh walk takes you through the last 500 million years of the Earth’s history

with the opportuinity to take selfies with dinosaurs and other creatures from those distant times.

About   |   Walks   |    Rocks beneath   |   Deep history  |   Freemining

T.Rex image made with Geoheritage app - DeepTime walk

T.Rex photo created using Geoheritage app – Deep Time walk

30 animals, plants and events from the last 500 million years are available for you to get creative with

Creating photos with creatures from deep time


Download the app Geoheritage from the app stores and download into the app the walk called ‘Deep Time Walk’.

If you are able to visit the actual site of the walk in the Forest of Dean, the app will provide additional information as you follow the walk. But you can still take the photos no matter what your location.

Deep Time Walk with camera activated


You can drag, rotate and zoom in and out the creature/object to get the photo composition you want. For selfies (front facing camera) touch the far right button in the controls.

The far left (rainbow coloured button) opens a menu of colour blend effects you can experiment with.

The ‘i’ button displays information about the creature/object.

Reset does what it says and of course the big white button actually takes the picture. Which can be located in your devices photo library just like any photo you take.

All photos include the scientific name of the subject along with a scale of its typical size.




Open the Deep Time Walk, then open the Map.

Start moving your finger slowly along the line of the walk.

When the camera button appears, as shown opposite, then you have reached an active zone for one of the creatures. When doing the walk for real this occurs by GPS detecting you have entered an active zone.

Touch the camera button to open the camera.
The first time you do this you will be asked to grant permission for the app to access your camera, followed by a request to grant permission to access photo storage on your device.

Camera active in Deep Time Walk



The creatures featured in the Deep Time Walk are based on rereations from fossil evidence of lifeforms that have been found in rocks of various ages in various parts of the world.  Unfortunately, for fossil hunters, none of them have been found in the rocks of the Forest of Dean!  So to be clear when you come across, say the T.Rex on the walk, we are not saying those creatures once roamed the Forest.  Rocks of the right age may well have once covered the Forest and may just have contained dinosaur remains, but nature has long since eroded away any such rocks from the area.

The Deep Time Walk uses the almost straight line of this appropriately named ‘Linear Park’ to provide a big ‘ruler’ to help visualise the enormity of geological – deep – time and just a few of the events that happened along the way.


One final note, which really only comes home when you actually do the walk, each step covering around 100,000 years.
The walk ends by a Forestry sign. In the last photo for the walk, a ruler has been placed on that sign to show how all of human history sits within the last few millimetres of the walk!

Deep Time Walk - scale


The Geoheritage of the Dean (to gives its full title) app was produced as just one component of the very large Foresters’ Forest Project running from April 2017 to March 2022.  The project funded by the National Lottery Heritage Fund working in association with partner organisations and local community groups within the Forest of Dean. The aim was to raise awareness and participation in the built, natural and cultural heritage that makes the Forest special.

The Geoheritage app came within the ‘Revealing Our Past‘ area of the project. The content side of the app was produced with kind input from Dave Green, Gloucestershire Geology Trust, Royal Forest of Dean Freeminers’ Association and Forestry England.


The map below shows the location of the 11 walks within the Forest of Dean.
When you download a walk into the app you will be given the exact location of the recommended start point, parking, etc.
The download includes a large scale map of the walk and features along the way. Where facilities are available they are shown on these maps.  All the walks are along public rights of way.

The Foresters’ Forest project definded an operating area matching the ancient Hundred of St Briavels, consequently all walks had to lie within that area, hence no walks are included in, for example, the Lydney or Wigpool Common areas.

11 Walks in the Forest of Dean 0 Geoheritage app

This map is available in the Introduction section of the app, where it will display your current location and by touching a point, will provide information on the rocks beneath that location. The different coloured areas show the areas where different rocks come to the surface, although usually covered by soil, vegetation, buildings, roads, etc.


This section of the app explains the main types of rock to be found beneath the Forest and the ancient environments in which those rocks formed hundreds of millions of years ago.

Also included are how the rocks of the Forest were long ago folded by tectonic forces into a bowl shape. A feature which is fundamental in forming the landscape of the Forest of today and in influencing the history of people in the Forest.

A number of 3D slices through the rocks beneath the Forest are included – two examples below. Touching the map button in this section will display a west-east slice through the Forest. Touching the rocks shown in this diagram, will give information on the name for the rock, its age and the environment of the time at which it formed.


Example geology cross-sections used in Geoheritage app


The Deep History section provides a brief overview of the past 500 million years of the Earth’s history, with special reference to events that played a part in shaping the Forest.

Touching the map button in this section will give access to a geology map of the Forest. but extending well beyond into the Cotswolds to the east, beyond the Malvern Hills to the north, to Abergavenny in the west and Chepstow to the south. The ‘Show Age’ button in this map, switches to a map emphassing the age of the rocks. As in all the maps, touch them for information.

Deep time history in Geoheritage app


This section explores the coal and iron extracted from the rocks of the Forest since Roman times. Freemining is an ancient custom still practiced in the Forest, whereby Freeminers can register to extract coal, iron or stone and associated minerals, within the area knows as The Hundred of St Briavels.

More information about the heritage of the Forest can be explored in the Hidden Heritage apps, another product of the Foresters’ Forest Project.

Freemining in the Forest of Dean
Mining map for Forest of Dean



 In the Freemining section, touch the map (top right corner – switched to ‘i’ in the image opposite) button and the map shown opposite will be displayed.

This extrodinary map reveals the labarynth of underground workings for past coal extraction, beneath the central area of the Forest. High resolution images of the original map (several metres square in size) was kindly provided by the present Deputy Gavellar for the Forest of Dean.

If you visit the Beechenhust – Speech House area, open this in the app as it will display your current location in relation to the mining below. The surface outcrop location of coal seams are shown by the thick black lines, but don’t sxpect to find any coal!.

The white trail of dots, is the recording of a walk along the Sculpture Trail which runs through this area. Activate recording your walks on any of the maps in Geoheritage, by opening Options (that will appear when you press the menu – top left control). In Options switch ‘Record my route on maps’ ON, it is OFF by default.


Display walk route on map in Geoheritage app