There is no better way to discover the Cotswolds Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty than by cycling through the...
I’m sitting here, looking outside and AT LAST the sun is shining, the sky is blue and the first buds of spring are peaking out. Recent years have given me false hopes of spring in January, but this year seems to be ‘more normal’ than for some time and the seasons appear to be slotting in nicely.
So what should I, and more importantly YOU, be doing to take advantage of the weather? Having settled here in the Cotswolds for nearly ten years now, I’ve become accustomed to getting outside and hoofing around the stunning scenery on offer. Luckily, we also have other beautiful regions on our doorstep and one of those – The Wye Valley – is an area I heartily recommend. It’s quiet, it’s easy to get to and it is also a little bit more of hidden spot.
Wye Valley Accommodation
Although I can get to the region in less than an hour from the Cotswolds, I’d still consider a short break (or longer) in the Wye Valley simply because it allows me time to get ‘out and about’ especially with so many miles to cover. Recently I stopped in a farm bed and breakfast (yes I do stay in properties other than a holiday cottage!!) and I had an excellent time taking in the scenery. And to me that is why I love The Wye.
Obviously if you’re planning to travel and stop for more than one night, unlike me, then there is a wide choice of options; some more rural than others and many with Special Offers for you to take advantage of. Either way many of them have facilities for walking gear too – including muddy boots if you catch some bad weather – so it’s the perfect solution if you’re an eager walker.
The Wye Valley Walk
You’ve got some great walks to look forward to in the area too. The major one – and one you’ve probably heard of – is the Wye Valley Walk itself. This isn’t something to be tackled in a day though: it runs for an impressive 136 miles!
If you’re an eager backpacker you could start at one end and plan to stop in specific places along the way as you progress along the route. It starts in Wales at Plynlimon and heads down through Hay on Wye and into Hereford on the English side of the border. It finally winds its way to an end in Chepstow, so you can see you get to look at some spectacular countryside through Wales and England, as well as tracing the border for a considerable way.
But you don’t need to tackle the entire Wye Valley Walk to get the most out of a holiday in the area. I’ve been to the Forest of Dean nearby as well, and I can testify to the fact that this is a stunning area of ancient forest that is absolutely unmissable. We’ve got a pair of stunning cottages deep in the Forest which are well worth considering if this area appeals more.
But if you want to stick strictly to the Wye Valley you can focus on areas around the River Wye if you wish. You’ve got fourteen miles worth of river to wander alongside – and you can even take a look at some impressive cliffs along the route. Did I say cliffs? Yes I did – this is one of the unusual delights that are hidden along the River Wye walkways.
One nice walk to tackle is the section that runs from Chepstow at the very bottom up to Tintern. This is around nine miles in length and it gives you the opportunity to explore Tintern Abbey as a nice reward at the end of your walk.
When are You coming along?
As you can see there are walks in the Wye Valley that everyone can tackle. You can focus on a particular section of the Wye Valley Walk itself, or you can go for the whole thing. Since there are river walks and countryside walks – not to mention those that bring you towards some of the area’s best sights – you will never run short of ideas for how to spend your time. If you do book into a Wye Valley cottage for a week or more, you can always be sure of coming back to a warm and inviting space when you are done for the day.
On the other hand, perhaps a visit to the local pub for a pub meal would be the perfect conclusion!