The Wye Valley is situated on the border of England and Wales and is a Region of 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 gained an AONB designation to become a protected area.
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 proves a natural habitat for a range of rare animal and aquatic species such as the Horseshoe Bat and the Whitebeam – it 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.
A number of centres also provide horse-riding services, such as Llanthony Riding and Trekking at Court Farm – both short excursions and longer riding holidays can be arranged. Cycling also provides a novel way of exploring the region – cycle hire is widely available throughout the region.
History and Culture
Tintern Abbey is one of the most impressive monastic ruins in the country and dates back to the 12th century. Standing three stories high and largely intact, it looks over the Wye Valley towards Symonds Yat.
The magnificent Goodrich Castle is also well-preserved and boasts a fine collection of medieval buildings as well as an excellent visitor centre, which features small exhibition detailing the life and history of the Castle.
Chepstow Castle, overlooking the River Wye, is also worth visiting and dates from the mid-11th century – it is one of the oldest surviving examples of a stone fortification in Britain.
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