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. Bags were packed 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 our, 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, only a 6 minute journey but put us in a great location to start the walk. After we get of the bus at All Saints Church we crossed the main road and climbed a sty into a meadow, this then led us into a forest trail.
The walk was then down hill through some stunning forest, a very quiet trail as saw no people and had the privileged half way on our descent to the river Wye to see a deer ahead of us. Without following maps we continued down hill 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, cakes were enjoyed 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 foot bridge, with the aim of crossing the Wye, the views from the bridge were stunning. Biblins Footbridge is suspension bridge was built over the river by the Forestry Commission using local oak timbers in 1957. It links Symonds Yat (East) to the Biblins camp site, it has signs requesting that no more than 6 cross at a time.
Walk From Biblins Bridge To Symonds Yat West
We headed upstream after crossing the bridge through the youth campsite and 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 over head, didn’t get any good photos but believe they were buzzards.
Next phase was a riverside walk upstream to Symonds Yat West a pleasant and nearly flat walk through forests with plenty of wild flowers. We stopped half way to get our feet wet in the river and cool down, sitting on a rock 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 Saracens Head Inn. 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 locally history and they make up a traditional way of life.
Symonds Yat & Saracens Head Inn
The ferry ride was enjoyable with great views all around, it was doing friendly as 4 dogs were on our crossing. Finally we had reached the main waypoint of our walk The Saracens Head Inn. We enjoyed a nice pint of 2 of Mortimer’s Orchard cider, a plate of chips and bowl of olives. The pub is very nice with indoor and outdoor seating, we sat in the cool bar area for our “half way” break.
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 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.
Downstream To Monmouth
Next was the long walk downstream towards Monmouth, first was past the Symonds Yat rapids and a nice amble in the shade along the river stopping a few times to wet the feet and hydrate. We passed Biblins bridge again and carried along the riverside footpath until we reached farm land towards Monmouth.
Feeling tired the walk through fields towards the town was nice with some glorious oak frees among the farmland.
Finally we reached civilisation, we crossed the river once again and headed to the nearest dog friendly pub The Old Nags Head. A nice drinking and music themed pub to rest our weary legs, enjoy a pint of cider and charge phones, cameras and vapes. The pub was friendly and welcoming but didn’t serve food.
As they didn’t serve food we asked for recommendations and was pointed in the direction of The Punch House by another customer. The punch house was a comfy restaurant/bar which we enjoyed pie with mash and veg and 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 are would be fantastic.