Forest of Dean District

Coordinates: 51°47′N 2°33′W / 51.783°N 2.550°W / 51.783; -2.550
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Forest of Dean District
Coleford Market Place, the town where Forest of Dean District Council is based
Coleford Market Place, the town where Forest of Dean District Council is based
Forest of Dean shown within Gloucestershire
Forest of Dean shown within Gloucestershire
Sovereign stateUnited Kingdom
Constituent countryEngland
RegionSouth West England
Non-metropolitan countyGloucestershire
StatusNon-metropolitan district
Admin HQColeford
Incorporated1 April 1974
 • TypeNon-metropolitan district council
 • BodyForest of Dean District Council
 • LeadershipLeader & Cabinet
 • MPsMark Harper
 • Total203.2 sq mi (526.4 km2)
 • Rank75th (of 296)
 • Total87,937
 • Rank270th (of 296)
 • Density430/sq mi (170/km2)
Ethnicity (2021)
 • Ethnic groups
Religion (2021)
 • Religion
Time zoneUTC0 (GMT)
 • Summer (DST)UTC+1 (BST)
ONS code23UD (ONS)
E07000080 (GSS)
OS grid referenceSO6206309601
Forest of Dean District Council
Coat of arms or logo
Di Martin,
since 25 May 2023
Adrian Birch,
since 18 April 2024
Nigel Brinn
since November 2023[2]
Seats38 councillors[3]
Forest of Dean District Council composition
Political groups
Administration (15)
  Green (15)
Other parties (23)
  Independent (11)
  Labour (5)
  Conservative (4)
  Liberal Democrats (3)
First past the post
Last election
4 May 2023
Next election
6 May 2027
Meeting place
Council Offices, High Street, Coleford, GL16 8HG

Forest of Dean is a local government district in west Gloucestershire, England, named after the Forest of Dean. Its council is based in Coleford. Other towns and villages in the district include Blakeney, Cinderford, Drybrook, English Bicknor, Huntley, Littledean, Longhope, Lydbrook, Lydney, Mitcheldean, Newnham and Newent.[4][5]


The district was formed on 1 April 1974 under the Local Government Act 1972. The new district covered the whole area of four former districts and part of a fifth, which were all abolished at the same time:[6][7]

The new district was named Forest of Dean after the ancient woodland which covers much of the district.[8]


Forest of Dean District Council provides district-level services. County-level services are provided by Gloucestershire County Council.[9] The whole district is also covered by civil parishes, which form a third tier of local government.[10]

Political control[edit]

Since the 2023 election the council has been run by a Green minority administration with support from Labour on a confidence and supply basis.[11]

The first election to the council was held in 1973, initially operating as a shadow authority alongside the outgoing authorities until the new arrangements came into effect on 1 April 1974. Political control of the council since 1974 has been as follows:[12][13]

Party in control Years
Independent 1974–1976
No overall control 1976–1991
Labour 1991–2003
No overall control 2003–present


The leaders of the council since 2007 have been:[14]

Councillor Party From To
Marion Winship Conservative 23 May 2007 Sep 2009
Peter Amos Conservative 11 Sep 2009 8 May 2011
Patrick Molyneux Conservative 26 May 2011 13 Jul 2017
Tim Gwilliam Independent 13 Jul 2017 25 May 2023
Mark Topping[15] Green 25 May 2023 18 Apr 2024
Adrian Birch[16] Green 18 April 2024


Following the 2023 election, the composition of the council was:[17]

Party Councillors
Green 15
Independent 11
Labour 5
Conservative 4
Liberal Democrats 3
Total 38

The next election is due in 2027.


The council is based at the Council Offices on High Street in Coleford.[18]


Since the last boundary changes in 2019, the council has comprised 38 councillors elected from 21 wards, with each ward electing one, two or three councillors. Elections are held every four years.[19]

Parishes and settlements[edit]

The whole district is divided into civil parishes. The parish councils of Cinderford, Coleford, Lydney and Newent take the style "town council".[20]

Settlements include:


  1. ^ a b UK Census (2021). "2021 Census Area Profile – Forest of Dean Local Authority (E07000080)". Nomis. Office for National Statistics. Retrieved 5 January 2024.
  2. ^ "New Forest of Dean Council chief exec on £110k a year describes role as a 'great opportunity'". The Forester. 10 August 2023. Retrieved 11 May 2024.
  3. ^ "Find a district councillor - Forest of Dean District Council".
  4. ^ "Forest of Dean Parish Map" (PDF). Gloucestershire County Council. Archived (PDF) from the original on 25 August 2020. Retrieved 25 August 2020.
  5. ^ "Administrative unit Forest of Dean District District/Unitary Authority". A Vision of Britain. Archived from the original on 9 July 2020. Retrieved 25 August 2020.
  6. ^ "The English Non-metropolitan Districts (Definition) Order 1972",, The National Archives, SI 1972/2039, retrieved 31 May 2023
  7. ^ "Forest of Dean: Local government and public services Pages 377-381 A History of the County of Gloucester: Volume 5, Bledisloe Hundred, St. Briavels Hundred, the Forest of Dean". British History Online. Victoria County History. Archived from the original on 7 March 2016. Retrieved 25 August 2020.
  8. ^ "The English Non-metropolitan Districts (Names) Order 1973",, The National Archives, SI 1973/551, retrieved 31 May 2023
  9. ^ "Local Government Act 1972",, The National Archives, 1972 c. 70, retrieved 31 May 2023
  10. ^ "Election maps". Ordnance Survey. Retrieved 6 June 2023.
  11. ^ Garcia, Carmelo (19 May 2023). "Labour to vote for Green council leader but rules out Forest of Dean coalition administration". Gloucestershire Live. Retrieved 25 June 2023.
  12. ^ "Compositions calculator". The Elections Centre. Retrieved 1 June 2023.
  13. ^ "Forest of Dean". BBC News Online. Retrieved 26 September 2009.
  14. ^ "Council minutes". Forest of Dean District Council. Retrieved 28 June 2022.
  15. ^ Tunnidge, Sarah (11 April 2024). "Forest of Dean council leader steps down". BBC News. Retrieved 20 April 2024.
  16. ^ Garcia, Carmelo (19 April 2024). "'Inexperienced' councillor chosen to lead council". BBC News. Retrieved 20 April 2024.
  17. ^ "Local elections 2023: live council results for England". The Guardian.
  18. ^ "Contact us". Forest of Dean District Council. Retrieved 25 June 2023.
  19. ^ "The Forest of Dean (Electoral Changes) Order 2018",, The National Archives, SI 2018/547
  20. ^ "Parish council contact details". Forest of Dean District Council. Retrieved 25 June 2023.

External links[edit]

51°47′N 2°33′W / 51.783°N 2.550°W / 51.783; -2.550