Built in the early 12th century, St Briavel’s was an important royal castle on the frontier with Wales and the administrative and judicial centre of the Forest of Dean – a royal hunting ground where the game was protected and the king alone allowed to hunt.
Edward I added a fine twin-towered gatehouse to St Briavel's in 1292. During his reign the castle was a crossbow bolt factory, using local Forest of Dean iron to produce weapons for his campaigns against the Welsh and Scots. After the conquest of Wales the gatehouse became a debtor's prison, and the castle is now a youth hostel, set in wonderful walking country.
Read more about the history of St Briavels.
Before You Go
Parking: Very limited free parking is available to the right of the entrance ramp.
Opening Times: The exterior of the castle and moat can be viewed during any reasonable daylight hours. Please note that the YHA operate a working Youth Hostel within the interior of the Castle. Access is usually limited to the inner bailey grounds and gardens from 11am to 4pm. Please be advised that occasionally this will be further restricted to the entrance and courtyard only due to school or group activities on site. Access to the interior of the Castle is by YHA staff permission only and it is essential to check in advance prior to arrival (Tel; 01594 530272 or email@example.com).
Facilities: Toilets and refreshments are available to visitors during opening hours.
Dogs: Assistance dogs only.
Please be aware: English Heritage does not permit drone flying from or over sites in our care, except by contractors or partners undertaking flights for a specific purpose, who satisfy stringent CAA criteria, have the correct insurances and permissions, and are operating under controlled conditions.
Please do not climb on the walls.
Plan a Great Day Out
St Briavels is a great base for local walks including Offa's Dyke Path. English Heritage manages a three mile section of the dyke. From the Devil's Pulpit you can enjoy panoramic views of Tintern Abbey.
The Youth Hostel Association host various events and activities throughout the year. Visit their website for more information.
The Forest of Dean has a wealth of attractions and activities and is well worth exploring further. The Forestry Commission's Beechenhurst Lodge is a short drive away and is a good place to find out more.
Also nearby is Goodrich Castle, one of the finest and best preserved of all English medieval castles. The castle boasts a fascinating history, spectacular views from the battlements and a delightful tearoom.