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The Wye, Woods & Caves

Symonds Yat
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Symonds Yat
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5.9 miles
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Ending Pub is Dog Friendly

A gorgeous walk in the Wye Valley which starts in Symonds Yat and follows the River Wye as it carves its way through cliffs and hills on both sides. Trek on through ancient woods, up to the summit to get the heart pumping, before reaching the fabled King Arthur’s Cave.

Don't Miss

Symonds Yat is right by the Wye so a great place to enjoy canoeing or even wild swimming (properly supervised, that is). You'll see a number of limestone kilns along the route. Lime was used for mortar, plaster and so on, the information panels give an insight into the hard work and no little danger involved in the production process. The popular Ye Old Ferrie Inn dates pack to 1473 and nearby you'll see the last hand ferry on the Wye - can you imagine pulling it across? Up above the cliffs, you can detour a little to walk around the Hillfort, which dates back 2500 years. It's a great vantage point to enjoy river valley views. Close by is King Arthur's Cave which is thought to have been occupied 10,000 years ago, and counting.

Total elevation gain: 400m

Route Guide

A nice gentle start from the Old Court Hotel, up into the hills and then back down to reach the car park of the 15th century Ye Old Ferrie Inn, which still operates a hand-hauled ferry across the river.

Follow the road, passing the lime kilns dating from around 1700 and then Symonds Yat East. Take a moment to read the information sign when you arrive at the site of Mr. Partridge’s Iron Works at New Weir. This was a major attraction to those taking the Wye Tour in the days of William Gilpin, and today it still attracts many visitors to take on the challenge of the nearby rapids.

Still following the river, walk through Biblins campsite and past a footbridge. There's a nice cafe on your right if you fancy a quick break before the climb that's coming!

Keep following the river until you reach a stone wall, where you will take a right turn into the ancient woods. Follow the wall up to a limestone kiln then weave your way up the hill, following your map to stay on the right track. Near the end of the climb, you will follow the stone wall in a straight line and reach a wooden fence at the top.

From here you can take a little detour to see the iron age hill fort before taking the wooden steps into more woodland, leading to King Arthur's Cave. After exploring the caves you may like another short detour to find Seven Sisters Rock for superb views over the River Wye, but best avoided in windy and icy weather; the sheer cliffs need to be approached with great caution.

Make your way around the south and east perimeter of Leaping Stocks Nature Reserve, then head back down the hill to end your walk, always keeping your eyes peeled for views across the Wye Valley during your descent. Then it's time to kick back over lunch at Old Court Hotel or Ye Old Ferrie Inn.

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