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Bracelands, Bracelands Drive, Christchurch, nr Coleford, Gloucestershire
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Some may wonder why we'd feature such a big, 'corporately run' site, but as soon as you drive under the barrier at Bracelands you'll get it. Location, location, location: huge, immaculately manicured grass pitches with the most stunning forest backdrop, amid the freshest, pine-scented air that Gloucestershire has to offer.

Bracelands, Bracelands Drive, Christchurch, nr Coleford, Gloucestershire


Bracelands covers 38 acres and is divided into three main areas: top, middle, and far field. Each has its own regularly cleaned facilities block, and there are well-organised refuse stations dotted about. Tarmacked 'roads' - great for those who want to bomb around on bikes - join up the fields.

The site is run by Forest Holidays, owned by the Caravan and Camping Club and the Forestry Commission. So yes, there are lots of gleaming white caravans and motorhomes about, but everyone seems to rub along nicely together.

The bottom of the far field is where the tenters tend to congregate, as there aren't any hook-ups, so there seems to be a more traditional canvas approach.

There is a rather quaint 1950s holiday-camp feel about this place, especially when you check in. You half expect to see loud speakers announcing the day's activities, but don't worry, there aren't any redcoats around.

Bracelands, Bracelands Drive, Christchurch, nr Coleford, Gloucestershire


There are really helpful rangers, though, who are happy to take you on guided walks or point you in the right direction of the numerous trails into the surrounding Forest of Dean.There are rules - hardly surprising on a site of such scale - but they really are only there to ensure everyone has a great stay.

COOL FACTOR Camping on the edge of the pine forest that is 27,000 acres of the Forest of Dean. WHO'S IN? Tents, campervans, caravans, dogs (on leads), groups - yes.

ON SITE There are 520 pitches here, including some pre-pitched tents, but there's plenty of space for ball games, and faultless facilities. All the washrooms have free hot showers with rows of basins to match. Disabled and baby-changing facilities are available in the first field. Water taps are dotted throughout the site and all fields have clothes- and dish¬washing sinks. No campfires, but BBQs allowed.

OFF SITE The Forest of Dean has an abundance of outdoor activities to offer. Head to nearby Beechenhurst Lodge for the Sculpture Trail set among the pines. Hire bikes from Pedalabikeaway (01594 860065; www.pedalabikeaway.co.uk) and take advantage of the award-winning and car-free trails.

FOOD AND DRINK The pains au chocolat at the grocery store in nearby Christchurch Campsite are worth getting up early for. The Saracens Head Inn (01600 890435; www.saracensheadinn.co.uk) at SymondsYat serves excellent food that you can enjoy while watching canoeists on the River Wye.

Bracelands, Bracelands Drive, Christchurch, nr Coleford, Gloucestershire


GETTING THERE From the A40, take the A4136 towards Coleford. Turn left on to the B4432 (Park Road) at the Pike House Inn. Continue, towards Symonds Yat, then turn left, following campsite signs. Bracelands' reception is at Christchurch Campsite.

PUBLIC TRANSPORT Take the train to Lydney, then a bus to Christchurch crossroads, then a 5-minute walk to reception.

OPEN April-September.

THE DAMAGE Tent plus 2 people £8-£22 (depending on size of pitch, servicing, and season), plus £10 refundable deposit for the barrier key.




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