7 Apr 2015

Escaping to The Forest of Dean | #TasteforAdventure with Mud House

The first three months of 2015 have been busier than I could have ever imagined. There's been little time for myself + Hollie to grab a coffee together, let alone escape somewhere for a weekend. With Easter looming I knew it would be the perfect time to step away from work, put down the laptop and disconnect for a few days. We'd planned to stay in Liverpool as a late 9th anniversary celebration but something else came up, something I knew was too good to refuse. We were invited to go off the grid for a long weekend, with Mud House Wines, in the beautiful Forest of Dean, Gloucestershire. How would we refuse?

Catch you later 3G!

In fact, four days of absolute peace was just what the doctor ordered. We usually spend our anniversary in busy cities, dashing around endless shops with zero down time. This weekend was going to be about discovery and adventure. What a way to celebrate!

Mud House was founded by a British married couple: John + Jennifer Joslin. They set sail to travel the world and found themselves drawn to New Zealand. On their continuous search for new cultures, the couple fell in love with New Zealand's rich countryside and outdoor lifestyle. It suited their taste for adventure, and they decided to stay put. Two decades on and Mud House are producing award winning wines, recognised across the world.

We were inspired by Mud House's drive and passion for exploration and their craft, and made it our mission to encapsulate their message through our time in the forest.

We stayed in the sweetest log cabin, on the Forest Holidays resort a concept which I didn't even know existed until a few weeks back! Just look how lovely it is? We instantly made ourselves at home, unpacked our bags and started to plan our adventure in the Forest of Dean. With three whole days ahead to explore the surrounding forest, we sat down and researched into exciting activities to get involved with. We looked for local landmarks to visit, suggested trail walks to conquer and beauty spots...but we knew we wanted to keep things a little spontaneous, so in the end we pencilled a few things in and let the rest happen. Let's do this!

I felt like Tintin in Tibet, we had the taste for adventure!

It felt like bliss to get out in the open and totally disconnect from technology. Our first day lead us on the Highmeadow Trail - a cool 12 mile walk filled with mixed gradients, wildlife and stunning views. With homemade trail mix packed, we laced up our walking boots and set off early. It may sound like a cliche but it instantly made us feel refreshed and alive - working behind a computer screen for weeks-on-end can bring you down at times, and every so often you need to reward yourself with a real life experience.
The sounds, the smells, the crisp fresh air. So peaceful we couldn't have asked for more.

Our legs led us to the top of Symonds Yat a popular destination for ramblers, local villagers and novice-adventurers like us. It took us a good three hours to reach the highest point, and boy was it worth it. The views from the top of the Yat were just beautiful. Hollie commented on the fact that we're constantly scrolling Instagram "liking" other people's lifestyle, but to experience them yourself really put things into perspective.

At the top of Symonds Yat we were joined by groupes of bird spotting enthusiasts and nature enthusiasts. We had the chance to join some of these people on a night walk, but we couldn't make it in time. I'm marking that down for future adventures. Loved their passion.

A steady gradient climb was followed by a incredibly steep decline down the other side of the Yat, where we ended our walk with a well deserved pint from a local brewery and steak at the highly recommended The Saracens Head pub.

On wandering back to the cabin with a full day behind us, we knew that this day wouldn't easily be forgotten. It gave us time to bond and share an experience like we have never done before. It felt like a new connect. After nine years together we're still discovering, still learning. We ended our night with Scrabble and a glass of wine. I let Hollie win as always...

Being greeted by an early morning downpour didn't deter us from finding other activities to keep us busy. We came across an old iron mine just a few miles north of the Forest of Dean in Clearwell, intriguing! My only other experience in a mine was in Wales, but Clearwell Caves was on another scale, and something which we both enjoyed immensely. It's these kind of things I associate with Bank Holidays and weekends, shared experiences for the whole family.

We spent around an hour exploring the upper levels of the caves, learning about the history and relevance of this particular mining village, which was once a important source of iron for the UK during the Industrial Revolution. There was the option to go "deep caving", but we'll save that for another visit. 200ft down takes a little more preparation!

 Hollie wears -  Marmot Jacket | Whistles Jeans | CAT Boots | Headphones c/o Sony
 Wearing - Jacket c/o Timberland | Albam Jeans | Red Wing Boots | Patagonia Backpack | ASOS Shirt + Hat

Our final day followed in similar fashion: woke up early, laced our boots, packed our bags and jumped on one of the many surrounding trails. I'd brought my bike with and planned to cycle around the local area. The Forest Retreat within the forest site had a mountain bike rental service, which I'd recommend to anyone considering a break like this. I stuck to the main trails but it would have been great to get off road and muddy. Next time.

Truth be told, when our final day in the forest arrived I wished we'd booked for a little longer. The thought of leaving such a beautiful, peaceful part of the British Isles wasn't agreeing with me. Our adventure actually brought myself + Hollie closer together it gave us the chance to bond with each other away from busy city life, and the chance to mute our busy lifestyles.

Before we arrived we couldn't wait to see the forest, but it went far beyond our expectations. So much so we're already thinking about planning our own adventures in other parts of the British Isles, we've truly been missing out! My passion may be within the city, but I discovered my adventurous side in the forest.

Where would your Taste for Adventure take you? Visit Mud House on Facebook and you could win a trip to New Zealand!

Buckets & Spades was a guest of Mud House Wines for the weekend at Forest Holidays in the Forest of Dean 

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  1. Oh my goodness, guys! This place is extremely beautiful. You both are so lucky to have received such offer. It's like a magical forest. I'm in love -just by seeing the pictures.
    I'm glad you had the chance to rest, mate. It looks like you've been really busy and resting feels like gold in times like this.

  2. Love this place looks wonderful, I spent a summer in a cabin by a lake like this when i was little, really brings me back.

  3. First of all, happy anniversary! Second, what an awesome way to spend it. As a nature freak and Scrabble lover, this would have been a perfect day for me. Love the photos of you exploring the sea of trees.


  4. Albert Wijaya09:45

    Beautiful cabin! And love your adventure photos!
    Best, Albert | Palming Pebbles

  5. Maria Fallon13:05

    Happy anniversary! This looks like a lovely way to disconnect from it all, it really is a beautiful part of the country (and not far from me!)

    Maria xxx

  6. Stunning photos and beautiful place. Such a departure from the city! Glad to know you had a good time! Must've been a great way to celebrate! Congrats and happy anniversary!

  7. Happy anniversary.

    This is a beautiful part of the country isn't it? We also enjoyed our walk to Symonds Yat. Fantasic! I am well pleased that you also found your way to the Saracen's Head! We had a few there too!!

    What a stunning place to stay. Kudos to the owners I am certain they shall do spectacularly well. I am book marking this place for our next visit.

    BTW. It made me a little sad when you said; "working behind a computer screen for weeks-on-end can bring you down at times, and every so often you need to reward yourself with a real life experience". It should not be a REWARD for yourself Mat. It should be a standard. Work to live and not live to work my friend x

  8. Happy Anniversary! Looks like a really rad adventure! What a beautiful little place to escape to :)

  9. Happy belated anniversary!! This looks and sounds like the most perfect escape! The log cabin is dreamy <3 So happy for you, guys!

  10. Chuck21:52

    I always think that the Forest of Dean sounds like something from a fantasy novel. It looks lovely and I'm glad you had such a good trip. It is always a pleasure to spend time with one's other half outside of the practical, technological demands of 'normal' life. You're like, yes, you are awesome! Well done me. (That's my reaction anyway)

  11. Happy anniversary...wow, this place is stunning! I love the cabin and the forest...it just looks like such an amazing place to relax! Gorgeous photos!

  12. Lucy B12:45

    This looks idyllic!

  13. Wow this place looks amazing, postcard-perfect! Sounds like such a good weekend for relaxing.

  14. I completely agree with the comments below..... the scenery was stunning!

  15. Beautiful part of England for sure.

  16. Defo post card worthy Jane!

  17. Them cats thoooo!!! Its always a pleasure visiting your blog. Inspiring pictures and a stunning scenery indeeed.
    btw did you use the word "WAND" with scrabble haha :-)

    Cool post! :-)

    New post on the blog : THE GREAT ESCAPE

    Greets Jon

  18. Was a great weekend!

  19. Thanks Valerie! Was a very cool looking place, so glad we got to go. It was around 3 hours drive from our home.

  20. Thanks Lou, much appreciated. It was, such a nice way to spend a weekend.

  21. Thanks Vanessa, it sure was a good one. Thanks for having a little look.

  22. Thanks Maria. It was great to shut down and properly spend time together.

  23. It really was! Thanks again Albert.

  24. Thanks Tee, looks like this kinda trip is ticking all your boxes then! Sea of trees, damn I want to be back there.

  25. Did you, where did you stay? I'd love to look it up.

  26. Well worth changing our original plans for something like this, we would go back for sure.

  27. We do feel pretty blessed to have been offered something like this, I want to return already! the place was just huge, walking for a few miles made little impact. Well, compared to the US it's nothing, but we're only small.

  28. I love these photos! What a great break you two had!

  29. Ah dude, thank you. Yes it sure was, lovely place, we'd defo visit again. We did, we had a couple and some very nice food. Service was great too, very welcoming.

    They seem to be doing very well, there's about 100 cabins spread across the whole site, quite close to each other but we didn't feel it.

    Well I guess I have to work behind the computer to earn the monies which allows me to go to these kinda places no? But ok, it's standard, it's going to happen. But what would a reward me counted as?

  30. Thanks Jane, it was such a nice way to toast the occasion.

  31. Sounds like an absolutely brilliant and relaxing break away from everything. I am definitely considering to go there very soon! It will be what I really need.

    Katrina Sophia

  32. Thanks Kat! I'd say look into it when the time is right, you can catch off-peak weeks and get a good price on it. I'd suggest going for 3 or 4 days.

  33. We had a lovely time. Thanks for stopping by Kate.


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