Ross-on-Wye

Riverside beauty. Vintage heaven. Neighbouring Symonds Yat.

  • Birthplace of tourism
  • Perched on a sandstone cliff above the River Wye
  • Set in the Wye Valley Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty 
  • Close to Symonds Yat & Ledbury 
  • Heart of the 'Land of Hedgehogs'!
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Ross-on-Wye Boat


Embraced by the River Wye, Ross-on-Wye is an inviting place to potter. When William Gilpin wrote Britain's first travel guidebook about the Wye Valley in 1782, he sparked a trend for 'picturesque tourism'. Today, as well as enjoying that same scenic beauty, you can browse independent shops, saunter alongside the town's 19th-century mock-Gothic walls and Gazebo Tower folly, and admire pastel-hued dwellings tumbling down the hillside to the river. The town is the centre of a region historically dubbed Archenfield or 'Land of Hedgehogs', and you'll find 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 Second World War.

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Two walkers look out over the river

Meanders on the River Wye

Two centuries ago, taking a boat tour from Ross along the River Wye was the height of fashion. The draw? Viewing the valley's 'picturesque' landscape, beloved of artists and poets, from Turner to Coleridge. Today, 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 might spot a peregrine falcon among the many birds thriving here.

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Ross on wye church

The Man of Ross

The philanthropist John Kyrle (1637–1724) dedicated his wealth to improving Ross-on-Wye – he became known as the 'Man of Ross' – and his legacy is still strong today. Walk to The Prospect, public gardens laid out by Kyrle for the wellbeing of locals and still a superb lookout point providing views over the horseshoe bend of the Wye, 30m below. From here, walk under the stone-built Kyrle's Gateway into the churchyard.

Return to the front of St Mary's Church – call in to hunt the hedgehog, the emblem of Ross, which also appears on the Kyrle family crest. Then pass the almshouses and stroll along to the 17th-century arcaded Market House. At the east end you'll spot Kyrle's logogram, composed of the letters F and C, standing for 'Faithful to Charles in heart'.  Directly opposite, you'll see Kyrle's timber-framed home, now housing shops. Finish with a pint of Herefordshire's finest Butty Bach ale at The Man of Ross Inn before descending through the fragrant, terraced public garden for a promenade along the river.
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Ross on wye high street

Vintage Shopping Trail

Ross boasts an abundance of shops selling antique, vintage and retro items. Follow the Vintage Shopping Trail to track down treasures ranging from curios and collectibles, to nostalgia and knick-knacks, jewellery and art. En route, mooch around gift and lifestyle shops, or take a ten-minute drive to Baileys, an interiors outlet housed in a series of farm buildings, espousing a mantra of plain, simple and useful.

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Hoarwithy

River Loops Cycle Ride

Pedal a scenic 50km bike ride along the River Wye, visiting Hoarwithy, How Caple and Hole-in -the-Wall before returning to Ross. A series of ascents are rewarded with fabulous views – and visits to  excellent country pubs including The New Harp Inn, The Cottage of Content and The Greenman.
 

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symonds yat

Walk the Wye Valley

The 219km Wye Valley Walk passes through the centre of Ross-on-Wye. Take a short stroll or tackle the 28km leg to Hereford, enjoying relaxed strolling through riverside meadows and traditional orchards, plus some hilly scrambles, to finish at the city's magnificent cathedral.

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