Wye not try Walking in the Wye Valley with a Cicerone Guidebook
The variety of walks in Mike Dunn's new Cicerone guidebook to Walking in the Wye Valley means there is something for everyone in this beautiful area. Following the fourth-largest river in England and Wales and spanning those countries' border the Wye Valley offers spectacular limestone gorges, scenic strolls and soaring moorlands.
The Cicerone guide focuses on 30 walks around Chepstow, Monmouth, Ross-on-Wye, Hereford, Hay-on-Wye, Builth Wells and Rhayader - walks that offer a great variety of features and which can be enjoyed in all seasons.
Here are a few highlights of the new guide - we hope it encourages you to go Walking in the Wye Valley. Let us know if we've missed your favourite spot.
The Wye Valley Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty
A selection of walks in an area specially acclaimed for its beauty and natural significance? Oh go on then, if we must. Our walks deviate from the official AONB but they each have their own particular reasons to be chosen for our guide, whether it is caves, bats, butterflies or something else entirely.
Red Kites in the Wye Valley:
This glorious bird of prey has undergone a remarkable renaissance and can now be spotted on most walks in the upper and middle valley. Look for a large bird with a dark red/brown body and angled 'splayed fingers' wings. They look fairly similar to buzzards so if you don't have binoculars with you then look for either a fanned or forked tail - the buzzard will have a fanned tail. The RSPB has more information.
History and secret caves
Disguised in a rocky outcrop hidden by trees near Aberedw is Llewellyn’s Cave, famous for protecting the whereabouts of a runaway prince as he was chased by Edward I's forces in 1282. Llywelyn ap Gruffydd purportedly hid in the cave overnight before attempting, and failing, to attack Builth Castle the next day.
Romance and viewpoints
The Wyndcliff walk contains some wonderful snippets of romantic trails created by Valentine Morris in the 1750s. If you can climb the increasingly steep 365 Steps you are rewarded with excellent views. The poet Coleridge described the view from The Eagle's Nest, taking in a wide view of the valley and the two Severn Bridges, as having 'the whole world imaged in its vast circumference'. What a review!
Books and walks
The unassuming little town of Hay-on-Wye is a haven for lovers of walking and books. Situated at the junction of Offa's Dyke and the Wye Valley Walk it is the ideal location for either day walks or long-distance trails. The Hay Festival in May/June brings world reknowned authors to the area but it makes a good places to visit at any time of the year.
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