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Walking in the Wye Valley

Belinda and Mike - follow our tourist travels in the UK

Wye Valley & Forest of Dean Holiday July 2015 - page 1

The stunning Symonds Yat Rock viewpoint high above the Wye Valley in Gloucestershire sure takes your breath away!  We headed there during our holiday to absorb the beautiful scenery before scrambling down the steep track to Symonds Yat East for an enchanting cruise along the River Wye.  And in a car-free day we enjoyed a glorious river walk in the summer sun from Redbrook to Monmouth, complete with an idyllic picnic on the banks of the Wye.
This is page one of three.
Wye Valley Forest of Dean 1 | Wye Valley Forest of Dean 2 | Wye Valley Forest of Dean 3
 

Studying the info board at Symonds Yat Rock
There's a large car park at Symonds Yat Rock; although it's pay and display the only payment machine was covered up so the £3.50 we saved...

Log cabin café at Symonds Yat viewpoint
...we spent instead on coffees in the reasonably priced log cabin café.  And in case you're wondering, yes, Yat Rock does have toilet facilities.  So on to...

Symonds Yat Rock: viewpoint platform
...the famed Symonds Yat Rock viewpoint, 120 metres above the River Wye.  This Carboniferous Limestone cliff face has a spacious viewing platform from which some splendid views...

Classic Symonds Yat Rock view of the Wye Valley below
...of the river valley below can be had; here's Mike admiring the classic Wye Valley scene seen in many a photo.  On the other side of the viewpoint we were lucky enough to observe two Peregrine Falcons...

Symonds Yat Rock: looking for Peregrine Falcons along the Wye Valley
...flying around the cliff side (on right, above pic, er, somewhere).  RSPB volunteers helpfully provide telescopes and info for Yat Rock visitors - we found out that Peregrine Falcons can fly at 180 mph!

Highmeadow Trail down to Symonds Yat East
So after visiting beautiful Symonds Yat Rock and a snack at the log cabin café it was onwards and upwards (or rather downwards), down the steep wooded footpath to the River Wye...

Looking towards Symonds Yat East
...and Symonds Yat East in its...

Symonds Yat East from the Saracens Head
...gorgeous riverside location.

Hand pull ferry in operation at Symonds Yat
The River Wye splits Symonds Yat village so this hand-pull ferry links Symonds Yat East with Symonds Yat West and is operated by the pub staff at...

Drink up, the Symonds Yat boat trip awaits
...the Saracens Head.  Here Mike came out with his usual statement after exertion - 'the first pint won't touch the sides'.  Hey, is that the cruise boat there?

Enjoying the cruise along the River Wye at Symonds Yat
It was, so we decided the best way to enjoy the river was to take the trip with Kingfisher Cruises, which lasted some 40 minutes and cost £6.  The fascinating cruise commentary enlightened us to many interesting facts about the Wye Valley...

Symonds Yat: serene scene on the River Wye
...such as its popularity as a filming location - the Countryfile people often visit and the iron age hill fort was used in 'Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows' movie.  The Wye is also popular for watersport activities such as canoeing and kayaking.

Approaching Symonds Yat East on Kingfisher Cruises
Symonds Yat railway station was sited just up there, on the line from Monmouth to Ross-on-Wye.  Sadly the route closed in 1959 and Symonds Yat station long gone but we can visualise what an incredibly scenic train journey that must've been!  We walked part of the disused line doing a bit of the Wye Valley Walk on our next adventure (below).  So with our visit to Symonds Yat over, just got to climb back up...

Wye Valley: steep trail at Symonds Yat
...the steep track to the car at Yat Rock, phew!

The Boat Inn and old bridge at Penallt, Wales
In a car-free day (well, we like to do our bit for 'green' tourism) we headed down the hill from our Penallt holiday cottage to join the Wye Valley Walk from Redbrook to Monmouth.  Here's the Boat Inn...

View across the River Wye at Penallt
...rather gorgeously located by the River Wye at an old railway bridge that's now part of the Wye Valley Walk route.  Anyway, after a swift half at the pub (well, we like to do our bit for the local economy)...

Walking along the Wye Valley Walk near Redbrook
...we crossed the bridge, passing from Wales into England in the process, and picked up the trail alongside this grassy river bank.  As you can see...

Scenic picnic spot by the River Wye
...the weather was brilliant, as was this splendid spot we found to enjoy our picnic lunch at river level.  The tranquillity was only broken by some somewhat...

River Wye selfie, canoeists approaching
...excited canoeists passing by as we took our holiday selfie who exclaimed 'oh look, there's a selfie going on!' - as if it was some big deal.  Kids, eh!

Wye Valley: old railway girder bridge near Monmouth
The trail along the Wye from Redbrook followed the route of the disused railway that once ran from Chepstow to Monmouth and presently we...

Wye Valley: looking across the old railway viaduct
...came across evidence of this with these two old bridges.  Well actually this is the girder bridge that took the line from Monmouth to Ross (and Symonds Yat, see our Yat trip up the page) and here's...

Old stone raiway bridge at Monmouth in the Wye Valley
...what's left of the stone bridge, of the line from Chepstow.  Now Mike was in his element as he loves railway history and exploring old railway infrastructure, especially in idyllic places such as...

Wye Valley Walk towards Redbrook
...the Wye Valley here.  But all good things must come to an end and at this point we headed back along the Wye Valley Walk to Redbrook... and that steep hill up a mile to our Penallt cottage base - but not before a refreshing drink at the inn again!

 

Awesome - in a word that about sums up our hugely enjoyable visits to Symonds Yat and the short section of the Wye Valley Walk we did (erm, just 5 miles of the 136 mile route!).  And no wonder it's a designated Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB); the only one that spans the Welsh-English border at its heart.

If you'd like to find out more about the Wye Valley and Symonds Yat check out our UK tourism resources.

Now please follow us to our next Wye Valley holiday page where we visit Goodrich and Monmouth castles, and venture into the Forest of Dean to Clearwell Caves >>>

 

Previously we've also walked part of the Offa's Dyke Walk and viewed more bird life on Skomer Island, Wales.