Embraced by the River Wye, Ross-on-Wye is an inviting place to potter. Back in 1782, William Gilpin wrote Britain's first guide book, focused on the Wye Valley, and sparked the craze for 'picturesque tourism'. Today you can tour the independent shops, saunter around the mock gothic walls (built in 1833) and pass The Gazebo Tower folly and pastel-coloured dwellings which tumble down the hillside to the river. As for the hedgehogs? Historically this region was named Archenfield or 'Land of Hedgehogs' - find many examples of the icon in St Mary's Church, dating back to the 17th Century and on more recent memorials to the Boer War and WWII.
Meanders on the River Wye
Two hundred years ago, taking a boat tour from Ross along the River Wye was the height of fashion. The draw? Viewing the Wye Valley's Picturesque landscape, beloved of artists and poets from Turner to Coleridge. These days, canoe trips are more à la mode, but the countryside is just as dreamy. Embark at Ross-on-Wye, calling at the Inn on the Wye at Kerne Bridge for lunch, before meandering under Symonds Yat Rock where you may be lucky enough to see a peregrine falcon.
The Man of Ross
The philanthropist John Kyrle dedicated his wealth to improving Ross-on-Wye and his legacy remains today. Walk to The Prospect, the public gardens originally laid out by Kyrle for the wellbeing of locals. It's remains a superb look out point over the horseshoe bend of the River Wye, 100ft below. From here, you can walk under the stone Kyrle's Gateway into the churchyard.
Vintage Shopping Trail
There is an abundance of choice for aficionados of antiques, vintage and retro. Follow the Vintage Shopping Trail to ensure you don't miss a single store! Pick up everything from curios and collectibles, nostalgia and knick-knacks, to jewellery and art. Along the way, mooch around gift and lifestyle shops. A ten-minute drive will bring you to Baileys, an interiors shop based in a series of farm buildings, which lives by the mantra of plain, simple and useful.
Explore Near Ross-on-Wye
Standing in open countryside above the River Wye, Goodrich Castle is one of the finest and best preserved of all English medieval castles. Boasting a fascinating history and spectacular views from the battlements. Learn about the famous Civil War Siege; see the murder holes built into the castle walls and admire the stunning stained glass window in the 13th century chapel. Be sure to see the famous 'Roaring Meg,' the only surviving Civil War mortar, and the cache of cannonballs.
Wythall Estate Vineyard Tour & Tasting
Planted in 2010, Wythall Estate now produces several award-winning still and sparkling English wines. The tour begins with a walk through the vineyard, discussing the grape varieties, the pruning methods, the harvesting and so forth. Next, follow a tutored tasting, held in the beamed dining room of the 16th Century Manor House.
Get Active near Ross-on-Wye
A scenic 50km bike ride which closely follows the River Wye, visiting Hoarwithy, How Caple and Hole-in -the-Wall. There's a few climbs along the way, resulting in fabulous views, as well as many excellent country pubs, including The New Harp Inn, The Cottage of Content and The Greenman.