There are a number of interesting places to visit within 30 minutes of Tintern.
CLEARWELL CAVES. These are old iron mines situated just outside of the village of Clearwell on the way to Coleford. The tour is self guided and probably takes an hour or so depending upon your level of interest in the subject. Pre-teen children seem to love the place. There is a cafe on site. Open March to October. Tel: 01594-832535
DEAN FOREST RAILWAY. This is a full-size steam railway with its head-quarters situated just outside of Lydney at Norchard on the road to Parkend. The DFRs brochure encourages you to start your visit at this Norchard Railway Centre which is open all year for viewing. It has a large free car park. On site there is a souvenir shop and railway museum open late March to Christmas and winter weekends. On steam days light meals etc can be served in air-conditioned classic coaches. Rides go at present to Lydney Junction, the BR station, via St. Mary's Halt where you can break your journey for a visit to the parks and lake and the historic St. Mary's Church. It is hoped that the two mile extension to Parkend will come into passenger use fairly soon. Tel: 01594-843423 (information line) 01594-845840 (general enquiries) 11:00 - 15:00 every day late March to Christmas and weekends only in winter. (taken from the DFR's pamphlet)
DEAN HERITAGE CENTRE. This is a Trust active in safeguarding the heritage and culture of the Forest of Dean. The site has four museum galleries including a "mine", working beam engines and hands-on activities. Art and local history exhibitions take place throughout the year and art and craft workshops occur from March to June though advance booking is necessary for these. The Centre is on the B4227 at Soudley in the Forest of Dean. Closed 24-26 December, otherwise open at 10:00. Tel: 01594-822170. Soudley Ponds are nearby and are beautiful and interesting and there is a level trail around the ponds under the shade of mature Douglas Firs. (taken from the Centre's pamphlet)
PERRYGROVE RAILWAY (THE TREASURE TRAIN). Situated just south of Coleford on the B4228. This uses a proper 15" gauge steam locomotive and ride-in carriages. The ride itself is interesting and longer at 1.5 miles round trip than it might at first appear. The main interest is for the younger children, with help from the older ones, to find the answers to several clues as they ride the rails. When the clues have been answered they provide the combination to unlock the Treasure Chest from which the children can gain their booty. The trip takes around an hour. There is a small cafe on site. This trip is easily combined with a visit to the Puzzle Woods and/or Clearwell Caves just along the road. The railway opens on various dates between April and October with the first train of the day at 11:00am. There are also open days in December. Tel: 01594-834991
PUZZLE WOODS. Situated just south of Coleford on the B4228. The Romans extracted iron in these woods and they have left a miniature canyonlands behind them. The wandering pathways move from the bottoms of the canyons to the tops, across bridges and are quite unusual. The place is a little like a maze, though it is not difficult to find your way out. The walk around takes just under an hour at a very easy pace. There is a small cafe and a small collection of rare breed farm animals on site which will also occupy children. Tel: 01594-833187