For the very first edition of Sykes Cottages’ ‘Walk of the Month’ we have chosen a wonderful winter walk in the Forest of Dean that is sure to blow away a few cobwebs and burn off some of those extra comfort food calories! The Forest of Dean was designated Britain’s first National Forest Park back in 1938 after a long and much varied history, serving as both a medieval royal hunting forest and one of the engine rooms of the industrial revolution. Nowadays, the Forest of Dean has become one of the nation’s favourite tourist destinations, with a variety of activities on offer amongst the trees, including mountain biking and segway riding. Yet the good old walk remains one of the best ways to explore this beautiful spot of British countryside, so join us as we take you on a woodland walk around this majestic British forest.
The Symonds Yat loop is a relatively short (two and three quarter mile) circular walk along the banks of the River Wye. Be sure to look out for the numerous butterflies at Biblins Campsite and also for the wild Peregrine falcons that call the Wye Valley home; and remember to take some change to pay for your ferry crossing (£1 for adults and 50p for children)!
The starting point for the walk is the quaint village of Symonds Yat East below Symonds Yat Rock, famous for its stunning panoramas over the River Wye. After parking at one of the village’s car parks, make your way to the Saracen’s Head inn where you’ll find a hand pulled ferry that will transport you over the river. Once you disembark on the opposite bank, take a left up the hill and then another left down the signposted steps to the riverbank.
Now follow the riverbank along, making sure to keep the river on your left. Soon enough, the rapids and small islands in the River Wye will come into sight. This is a popular spot for adrenaline junkies, so there will most likely be a couple of hardy canoeists tackling the rapids! Eventually you’ll reach the Biblins Youth Campsite, which roughly signifies the half way point of the walk. At the Camp you’ll find a footbridge that leads back over the river, cross here and turn left.
Keep following the riverbank again back towards Symonds Yat East, making sure to avoid the tracks that lead up the hill. Soon enough you’ll reach the rapids again and just a bit further on is a car park. This car park marks your return to the village of Symonds Yat East where you’ll be able to find a warming cup of tea in one of the delightful little cafés that are dotted around!
Make sure that you check out our cosy holiday cottages near to the Forest of Dean so that you have somewhere to put your feet up after completing the walk!