Whether your idea of fresh air and exercise is wandering through the woodland, hiking across the hills, canoeing down the rapids or scaling a rocky outcrop, the Wye Valley has something to offer all.
The Wye Valley is a walker’s wonderland offering the dedicated hiker and the afternoon stroller a wealth of interest and variety – from spectacular viewpoints overlooking the valley to quiet wooded trails and riverside pastures.
In addition to these well-known walking routes there are also a number of public footpaths that criss-cross the woodland and pastures that surround the cottage. These lesser travelled routes allow visitors to wander off the beaten track and discover some of the area’s real beauty spots, the wildlife and evidence of the area’s rich cultural and industrial heritage – some of the gems which led to the Wye Valley ‘s designation as one of the most outstanding areas of countryside in the UK.
One of our favourite walks from Spring cottage is to Tintern via the Old Station and returning via the Offa’s Dyke Path (2 hours). This walk takes in the best of the local area – riverside pastures, ancient forest and great views over the valley and Tintern Abbey.
The neighbouring Forest of Dean also has some fine walks exploring some of England’s most unspoilt indigenous forest.
We provide a selection of maps and walking guides at Spring Cottage for the use of guests and are happy to recommend other walks. It is also worth looking at this blog, written by a Brockweir inhabitant that is a very useful resource for walks in the immediate area.
Cyclists are particularly well catered for in the Forest of Dean with cycle routes through several of the Forest Enterprise sites. A very popular cycle route is the 11 mile Family Cycle Trail, a waymarked, surfaced, traffic-free and circular route with picnic sites along the way. There is also a number of downhill rough terrain tracks and bike parks for the hardened bikers – see the Pedalabikeaway website for further information.
Along the Wye Valley itself, Sustrans have opened a level riverside cycle route along the former railway line between Monmouth and Goodrich. The trail is called The Peregrine Path and passes through Symonds Yat, famous for it’s peregrine falcons.
Bikes can be hired from several companies in the area. Pedalabikeaway is situated in the heart of the Forest of Dean, at the start of both the Family Cycle Trail and the downhill routes, and has a good range of leisure and downhill bikes.
A highlight of any visit to the Valley is canoeing or kayaking down the River Wye on a warm summer’s day. From the surface of the water you get an impeccably peaceful vista of the green fields and tree clad hills along the banks of the Wye together with the river’s animal life including peregrine falcons, salmon, buzzards, otters, swans, ducks and herons.
Canoes can be rented in Monmouth or Symonds Yat. Monmouth Canoe & Activity Centre offer half and full day hire of canoes or kayaks and will arrange transport further up the River Wye and allow you to paddle back to Monmouth. Here they will greet you and help remove your canoes from the water and return them to the centre, a short walk away.
Symonds Yat Canoe Hire, Ross-on-Wye Canoe Hire and Wyedean Canoe Hire are all centred around Symonds Yat, a popular stretch of the river which sports some rapids and plenty of refreshment stops. All canoe hire centres will recommend itineraries and arrange drop-offs and pick-ups.
There are several golf courses locally that take full advantage of the scenery here, as well as a couple further afield.
For the professionals, the The Celtic Manor (20 miles) on the outskirts of Newport is a world-class golf resort that hosted the Ryder Cup in 2010. There is also the famous Rolls of Monmouth Golf Club (15 miles) set around the spectacular stately home once owned by Charles Rolls of Rolls-Royce fame.
If you want to scale it down a little there’s Wye Valley Miniature Golf in Symonds Yat(14 miles), open all year.
The Wye is renowned for it’s fishing. Bigsweir Fishery (3 miles) own a beautiful 2 mile stretch of the Wye offering double bank fishing between March and October.
Broadstone Fishery near Staunton (15 miles) stock a range of rainbow trout from 1 to 10lbs in 2 ponds and is perfect for a good days fly fishing, for the regular trout fisherman or the complete novice.
The Wye Valley is an ideal place for riding. Bridleways cut through the area and the Forestry Commission allow riding on many hard stoned tracks through their woodlands. Several riding stables in or adjacent to the area offer lessons and opportunities for trekking through beautiful countryside. These include Redbrook Equestrian near Monmouth and Severnvale Equestrian Centre Tidenham, near Chepstow, both 10 miles from Spring Cottage.
Go Ape! (11 miles) is a great day out for children and adults alike. The high wire forest adventure involves following a giant obstacle course up in the trees using ladders, walkways, bridges, tunnels, zip wires, high ropes and swings. Located in the Forest of Dean this a great day out and can be combined with a lakeside picnic or cycle ride around the Family Cycle Trail.
Other Activities and Sites
A great resource for activities, tourist attractions and events in the local area is the Wye Dean Tourism website.