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Forest of Dean

From Academic Kids

The (Royal) Forest of Dean is a region in the county of Gloucestershire, England. It is a roughly triangular area bounded by the River Wye to the west and north, the River Severn to the south, and the City of Gloucester to the east. It is characterised by over 110 km² of pine and deciduous forest, one of the most ancient surviving forests in England. It gives its name to the local government district Forest of Dean (district).

The main town and administrative centre for the forest is Cinderford, but the smaller but prettier town of Coleford is a busy centre, too. The relative isolation of the region lends it a unique character with a very broad and colourful local accent spoken by the locals.

The forest is steeped in history, and the area was settled by the Romans who used the natural resources of the area, including iron ore and charcoal. Later, the forest was used exclusively as Royal hunting grounds by the Tudor Kings (see royal forest), but its rich deposits of iron ore led to it becoming a major source of iron at this time. Timber from the forest was particularly fine and used to build Tudor ships, including the Mary Rose. Later still, the discovery of coal deposits led to a strong development of mining in the area, with commercial mining continuing into the 1980s. There were, and are still, a number of small private mines in operation. With the decline of the mines, the area suffered a decline, but this was ameliorated to some extent when a number of high technology industries established themselves in the area, attracted by grants and a willing workforce. The area also relies heavily on tourism and agriculture.

The writer Dennis Potter was born near Coleford, and frequently used the region as a setting in his work, for example in The Singing Detective and Karaoke/Cold Lazarus; the local accent and dialect can be heard at some length in the BBC productions of these shows. The BBC Radio 1 and Radio 2 DJ Jimmy Young was one of Cinderford's most famous sons. Early Britpop band EMF also hailed from the Cinderford area.

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