I recently enjoyed one of the nicest walks of my life in The Wye Valley AONB while on a camping holiday in The Forest of Dean.
The day started with breakfast at Greenacres campsite near to Coleford where I was staying. I packed bags with essentials, then walked through fields to Coleford town centre.
In Coleford, we stocked up with lunch and snacks, including cheese from The Forest Deli, bread and cakes from The Crusty Loaf bakery and drinks from a convenience store. We had time before the bus ride to grab sustenance at The Baguette Stop, a very good value place to eat out. Their bacon baguettes were generous and delicious.
Staunton to the Wye Valley Walk
Next step was to catch the number 35 Stagecoach bus to The Village of Staunton. The bus ride was only a 6-minute journey but put us in a great location to start the walk. After we get off the bus at All Saints’ Church, we crossed the road, climbed a sty into a meadow. This then led us onto a forest trail.
The walk was then downhill through some stunning forest, a quiet trail as saw no people. We had the privilege, halfway on our descent, to the river Wye to see a deer ahead of us. Without following maps, we continued downhill through the woodland until we reached the river.
Hitting The River Wye
Time for our first break on a secluded river bank ½ mile downstream from Biblins bridge. We enjoyed cakes from The Crusty Loaf Bakery, as was some much-needed hydration. This was a beautiful spot and could have sat for hours chilling and watching the river.
Next was the walk upstream along the river to Biblins footbridge, to cross the Wye. The views from the bridge were stunning and took our time admiring them. Biblins Footbridge is a suspension bridge that is very pleasing on the eyes. The Forestry Commission built it using local oak timbers in 1957. It links Symonds Yat to the Biblins’ campsite. The footbridge has signs requesting that only 6 cross at a time.
Walk From Biblins Bridge To Symonds Yat West
We headed upstream after crossing the bridge through the youth campsite. After crossing, we found a shaded area to sit, hydrate, and have a light lunch of bread and cheese. While dining, we saw 2 birds of prey circling overhead, didn’t get any photos, but I believe they were buzzards.
Upstream Hike on the River Wye
Next phase was a riverside walk upstream to Symonds Yat West, a pleasant and nearly flat walk. The hike took us through forests with plenty of wildflowers. We stopped halfway to get our feet wet in the river and cool down, with feet in the shallows.
Symonds Yat Hand Ferry
Hitting Symonds Yat West, we followed the signs to the hand-pulled ferry that crosses the river to The Saracen’s Head. This ferry is one of two hand-pulled ferries on this short stretch of the River Wye. The ferries at Symonds Yat are enshrined in local history and are part of a traditional way of life.
Symonds Yat & Saracen’s Head Inn
The ferry ride was enjoyable with magnificent views all around. As a bonus, it was dog friendly. Finally, we had reached the main waypoint of our walk, The Saracen’s Head Inn. We enjoyed a nice pint of 2 of Mortimer’s Orchard cider, a plate of chips, and a bowl of olives. The pub is very nice with indoor or outdoor seating. We sat in the bar area for our “halfway” break.
Kingfisher Cruises in the Wye Valley AONB
I have been on a tour of the Wye valley with Kingfisher cruises before, but my guests hadn’t, so we joined the boat for a cold drink and to enjoy the tour. The tour travels upstream and teaches you about the history of the area, including salmon fishing, floods, Saint Dubricius Church and much more. The boat was comfy. Even with resident ducks sitting on the bow, dogs were also welcome on this trip.
Walk Downstream To Monmouth
Next was the long walk downstream towards Monmouth. First was past the Symonds Yat rapids. This was a nice amble in the shade along the river, stopping a few times to wet the feet and hydrate. We passed the Biblins bridge again and carried along the riverside footpath until we reached farmland towards Monmouth.
Feeling tired, the walk through fields towards the town was nice, with some glorious oak trees among the farmland.
Monmouth in the Wye Valley
Finally, we reached civilisation; we crossed the river once again and headed to the nearest dog-friendly pub; The Old Nags Head. This is nice drinking and music-themed pub ideal to rest our weary legs. Also, time to enjoy a pint of cider and charge phones, cameras and vapes. The pub was friendly but didn’t serve food.
Punch House Pub
As they didn’t serve food, however, we asked for recommendations. This led to being pointed toward The Punch House. The punch house was a comfy restaurant/bar, which we enjoyed pie with mash and veg and a burger with fries.
Finally, our pre-booked taxi picked us up to drop us back to Greenacres campsite.
This hike was a long one but as planned avoided any extended uphill sections, The Wye Valley is a stunning area and sure any walk in the area would be fantastic.