The Wye Valley and its Visitor Attractions
Wye Valley is situated on the border of England and Wales and is as an Area Outstanding Natural Beauty. Covering 45 miles and located south of Hereford, its landscape is one of the most picturesque in the UK. This was recognised in 1971 when it received its AONB designation.
The Wye Valley is spread over three counties: Herefordshire, Gloucestershire and Monmouthshire. To the North lie the impressive Black Mountains which give way as one travels south, to the softer rural valleys around Newport and Chepstow. In addition to tourism, agriculture remains an important industry in the area.
Through the landscape of streams and wooded hills, flows the River Wye, the fifth longest in the country. Its waters prove popular with water-sport enthusiasts, fisherman and pleasure-boaters.
The Wye Valley also provides a natural habitat for a range of rare animal and aquatic species such as the Horseshoe Bat and the Whitebeam. It also has three, internationally recognised, Special Areas of Conservation.
A variety of water-sport activities can be arranged on the River Wye. The Monmouth Canoe Centre, hires out canoes and kayaks and also offers guided excursions around the region.
Go Ape Adventure Course proves very popular and features a tree-top obstacle course consisting of ladders, tarzan swings and zip slides - pre-booking is essential however,
A number of centres also provide horse-riding services, such as Llanthony Riding and Trekking at Court Farm - short excursions and longer riding holidays can be arranged.
Cyclingaffords visitors a a novel way of exploring the region and there are a variety of bike-hire companies scattered throughout the region.
History and Culture
The region has an intriguing history, vividly illustrated through the wonderfully preserved Tintern Abbey. It is considered to be one of the most impressive monastic ruins in the country.
The 12th century Goodrich Castle is also impressive and remains largely intact. Standing three stories high, it overlooks the Wye Valley towards Symonds Yat and affords some outstanding views of the surrounding countryside.
In addition, it boasts a fine collection of well-preserved medieval buildings as well as an excellent visitor centre, which is home to a small exhibition which celebrates the history of this splendid astle.
Chepstow Castle is another historical site well worth visiting and dates from the mid-11th century - it is one of the oldest surviving examples of a stone fortification in Britain.