Hiking the Wye Valley | Herefordshire
Hiking the Wye Valley: The River Wye is the 5th longest river in the UK and it winds its way through the beautiful valleys and countryside of Herefordshire including some areas of outstanding natural beauty.
There is a very popular 'Wye Valley Walk' which runs from Chepstow to Pumlumon and which takes in a large swathe of rural Herefordshire.
The route is 136 miles long and straddles the border between England and Wales, it can be a bit hard going in parts but would probably be classed as an easy grade walk for most hikers.
Hikers and walkers will find plenty of bed and breakfasts in Herefordshire along the way (Herefordshire being the central part of the route).
Herefordshire bed and breakfasts vary in price and you can expect to pay up to £90 for a double room.
For the slightly better equipped hikers, campsites are plentiful along the Wye Valley route and are never far from the river's edge.
Places of Interest in Wye Valley
Wye Valley route is nearly all rural with only a few towns/villages, and one (small) city, to break up the country landscapes.
Chepstow sits at the bottom of the route and is a quaint town with a large castle and picturesque streets.
Near to Chepstow is the historic and touristic Tintern Abbey.
Further up stream is the old market town of Monmouth, which is attractive and has some great independent shops to visit.
The hike then follows what used to be the old steam railway route along the river up to Symonds Yat.
Symonds Yat nestles on western side of the Forest of Dean and is popular for canoeists, rock climbers, cyclists, hikers, bird watchers, fishermen and cavers.
It is classed an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty with rapids, viewpoint high above the valley and an ox-bow bend in the river which is clearly visible from Symonds Yat Rock.
The magnificent mediaeval Goodrich Castle perches above the Wye midway between Ross On Wye and Whitchurch.
Here there is the old Flanesford Priory and Kerne Bridge, a hidden, and long disused railway tunnel situated nearby which runs deep beneath the fern covered Coppetts Hill.
Ross On Wye is another picturesque market town with an ancient market place and is steeped in history with antique shops and rural farming atmosphere.
This route between Ross and Hereford city is winding and very rural with farmland either side of the Wye.
Hereford itself is an intriguing city which is dominated by the enormous Hereford Cathedral with 'Mapa Mundi' (a spiritual as well as geographical map of the mediaeval world).
From here the Wye continues up to Hay On Wye, sometimes referred to as the 'Book Capital of The World.
Hay is a most beautiful border town with a festival of literature which takes place annually.
The route beyond this becomes even more tranquil as the river gradually becomes more of a stream deep into the Welsh countryside.
Fauna and Flora on the Hiking Trail
Animal life of the Wye Valley is rich.
Salmon and trout can be fished for in parts of the Wye and if you are lucky you may catch a glimpse of a predatory Pike.
Deer, foxes, badger and rabbit are all friends of the river valleys as well as mink.
According to the Environment Agency, in selected parts of the Wye, the lovable otter is once again thriving.
There are many varieties of tree in the Wye Valley and perhaps the most beautiful example of ancient British woodland is the stretch of river from Monmouth to Symonds Yat.
Here the forests almost crowd the river.
You can find fir, yew, beech and oak woods to name but a few amongst the dense woodlands.
Wye Valley Teems with Bird Life
From peregrines and other birds of prey such as buzzards to all varieties of woodpeckers, kingfishers to mute swans, cormorants and grey herons to night-jars and dippers.
All these birds make the Wye Valley their home and a hiker is most likely to see at least some of these birds on route.
If you're looking for a lengthy but tranquil walk then the Wye Valley is superb and will offer some stunning scenery and interesting wildlife for those willing to venture along the river's trail.
The Wye Valley is Britain at its very best!
Have you had the pleasure of hiking in Wye Valley?
Let us know below in the comments section.