At over 130 miles the river Wye is the longest in the UK and forms part of the border between England and Wales . The Wye Valley is an area of outstanding natural beauty and it has been a popular destination for recreational and sporting activities for over 250 years.
Chepstow is the stone walled gateway to the Wye Valley and its castle – or the ruins of it – rises over the river. This historic town has great independent retailers, cafes and mysterious winding alleys that take you back to the 15th century. The only town inside the Wye Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty is Ross-on-Wye; an historic market town and with an impressive 17th century Market Hall, Tudor timbered houses and enchanting riverside walks it is genuinely postcard material; and the town’s fantastic Heritage Centre will teach you more about the human and natural history of this very special area.
This gorgeous area is also famous for it’s adventurous outdoor activities,especially water-sports, Canoeing, kayaking or rowing down one of Britain’s most unspoilt rivers is a definite highlight and the Wye offers both exhilarating rapids and gentle streams perfect for a family paddle; and there are many activity centres that either rent out the gear or even offer canoeing tours.
Caving and rock climbing are a more challenging ways to explore the secrets of the valley. If it’s rewarding yourself with mesmerising views from atop or squeezing yourself through deep gaps in the ancient stone formations , there is something for beginners as well as the advanced and there are plenty of places to rent-out gear or arrange guided climbs and caves. For those who fancy getting in touch with their inner Tarzan Go Ape – a fun, family friendly aerial adventure in the near-by Forest of Dean – is a great destination.
The valley offers spectacular walks, cycle trails and woodlands – which make up about a third of the valley’s flora and eighty percent of all the ancient, trees in Europe can be found here amongst which you may encounter wild cats, deer, wild boar, polecat, woodpeckers and come the evening bats. But the wetlands and meadows also make fora fantastic hiking territory. The river itself is not just habitat to many fish, prominently Salmon, but also seals; so fishing – but not for seals – is another fantastic way to experience the Wye.
If you are spending a week or more in the Cotswolds, the Wye Valley and adjacent Forest of Dean are only a short trip away, and well worth the journey.