Walking in the Wye Valley
By Mike Dunn
Guidebook to 30 varied walks of 3 - 10 miles, in the valley of the Wye, the most scenic river in England and Wales, between Chepstow in the south and Plynlimon. Landscape ranges from open moorland to wooded gorges and is dotted with the sites of Iron Age hillforts and castles. Centres include Ross-on-Wye, Hereford, Hay-on-Wye and Rhayader.
Seasonsall walks can be enjoyed in any season, although care needs to be taken on the mountain and moorland walks in the upper valley in winter; risk of winter flooding between Hereford and Monmouth
CentresChepstow, Monmouth, Ross-on-Wye, Hereford, Hay-on-Wye, Builth Wells and Rhayader
Difficultya number of the walks, especially in the upper valley, require good navigational skills and (in one or two cases) a degree of stamina
Must Seespectacular river scenery, with huge meanders and a classic limestone gorge; soaring moorlands in the 'green desert' of md-Wales; ancient routes including part of the iconic Monks' Trod; Palaeolithic bone caves and Neolithic burial chambers; and border castles, Tintern Abbey and industrial archaeology
This guidebook includes 30 day walks in the stunning and varied lands of the Wye Valley. From its source on Plynlimon in the Welsh Cambrian mountains, down along the Wales-England border through Hay-on-Why, Hereford and Chepstow to the Severn Estuary.
The routes in this guide are circular, and range in length between 5 and 15km. Every route description is accompanied by an annotated OS map, and includes details on points of interest along the way to enhance your wandering.
The Wye Valley is known for its beauty and wide range of scenery; a walkers' paradise at any time of year. From the high moorland near the source, down through gentle green hills, before diving into the woods and limestone gorge near the sea.
Practical details such as the amount of ascent and timings information are included for every walk, as are details on public transport and parking facilities. Other useful information on the river's history, geology and wildlife ensure that this is an ideal companion to exploring the impressive range of walking the Wye Valley offers.
- the Wye Valley also has a long distance trail from sea to source. Check out the Wye Valley Walk here.
Geology and landscape
Plants and wildlife
The impact of man
Getting to and around the Wye Valley
When to go
What to take
Maps and waymarking
Using this guide
The Lower Wye: Chepstow to Ross-on-Wye
Walk 1 The Lancaut Peninsula
Walk 2 The Wyndcliff
Walk 3 The Devil’s Pulpit from the east
Walk 4 Tintern and the Angidy Valley
Walk 5 Trellech and Beacon Hill
Walk 6 The Kymin
Walk 7 King Arthur’s Cave and the Seven Sisters
Walk 8 Coppet Hill and Goodrich
The Middle Wye: Ross-on-Wye to Hay-on-Wye
Walk 9 Sellack and Hoarwithy
Walk 10 Capler Camp from Fownhope
Walk 11 Haugh Wood
Walk 12 Aconbury Hill
Walk 13 Breinton Springs
Walk 14 Black and White Weobley
Walk 15 Arthur’s Stone and Merbach Common
Walk 16 Kilvert’s Clyro
Upper Middle Wye: Hay-on-Wye to Newbridge-on-Wye
Walk 17 Talgarth and Llanelieu
Walk 18 The Begwns
Walk 19 Brechfa Pool
Walk 20 Llewellyn’s Cave and Aberedw Rocks
Walk 21 Llandeilo Hill and Twm Tobacco’s Grave
Walk 22 Builth and Banc-y-Celyn
Walk 23 Cors y Llyn
Walk 24 Shaky Bridge
The Upper Wye: Newbridge-on-Wye to Plynlimon
Walk 25 Above the Elan Valley reservoirs
Walk 26 Drygarn Fawr
Walk 27 Gilfach Farm
Walk 28 The Monks’ Trod
Walk 29 Llangurig to Llanidloes
Walk 30 Plynlimon and the source of the Wye
Appendix A Route summary table
Appendix B Useful contacts
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Page 36 (Walk 3)
The northings and eastings for the grid reference for the start and finish of this walk were inadvertently transposed. The correct grid reference is ST 558 993.
Page 110 (Walk 19)
The path from the A470 to the edge of the woodland south-west of Boughrood Bridge has been extensively repaired by Powys County Council, with significant drainage works and improvements to the surfacing of the path. One suggestion is to use this path for the initial ascent at the start of the walk, and to descend through the buttercup fields at the end.
Page 42 (Walk 4) paragraph 4 in the printed edition.
States "....When this reaches a forest road ignore the path straight ahead..." and suggests a detour because the path " peters out". This is incorrect. Our reader walked that path on 14 February 2017 [today] and it is quite clear emerging at a farm by the bridge at Tintern Cross where the route continues straight ahead along the lane.
"Alongside detailed route descriptions for every walk, are annotated OS maps, as well as key information on timing, distance, ascent, where to park and public transport access. In addition, the guidebook provides a range of advice on getting to and around the Wye Valley, where to stay and what to take to make the most out of your walks. The information on the geology, history and points of interest along the way are designed to enhance any walk, whether its a full day in the Upper Wye’s Cambrians or a leisurely valley wander. The result is an ideal companion to exploring the impressive range of walking the Wye Valley can offer."
Read the full review on the Tintern Village site.
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Mike Dunn was born and bred in Leicester but has now lived in Penarth in the Vale of Glamorgan for over 30 years. He worked for the Welsh Assembly Government, latterly specialising in environmental and conservation issues, and has also written widely on landscape, walking, pubs and real ale. His books include The Penguin Guide to Real Draught Beer, Walking through the Lake District, Walking Ancient Trackways and Real Heritage Pubs of Wales (with Mick Slaughter). He is married and has two daughters, and his interests include playing and organising tennis (he is a Board Member of Tennis Wales), birdwatching, cricket and real ale. Mike's favourite locations for walking are the Welsh borders, the Hebridean Islands and the Lake District.View Articles and Books by Mike Dunn