The constituency of the Forest of Dean was established in 1997 and includes areas of Gloucestershire west of the River Severn. Laying on the Welsh border, the core of the constituency consists of the Royal Forest of Dean itself, which was established by William the Conqueror nearly a thousand years ago and is one of the last surviving Royal Forests in England. The seat has a rich industrial and mining history, evidenced by the market towns of Coleford and Cinderford, and the old port of Lydney, from where coal mined in the Forest of Dean coalfield would start its journey to all parts of the world. The Dean’s rich industrial heritage and spectacular natural beauty unsurprisingly means tourism is an increasingly important aspect of Forest life, not to mention its attraction of film and television producers.
The seat has been held by Conservative MP, and former Chief Whip, The Rt Hon. Mark Harper, since 2005, having previously been a very strong Labour seat.