Explore the Wye Valley
Corona Virus Update 22nd May 2020
Stay Local, Stay Safe, Save Lives
With the Bank Holiday weekend and half term coming up we would like to remind everyone that different rules apply in England and Wales. Please remember that Wales is still in lockdown with only essential travel permitted. People from England are unable to drive to visit any part of the Wye Valley AONB which falls in Wales. If you live in Wales you must still ‘Stay Local, Save Lives and Protect the NHS’.
If you live in England you can visit those areas of the AONB which are in England, but please be aware that most of the facilities you normally take for granted, especially toilets, handwashing facilities and car parks are not open, nor are tourist attractions or holiday accommodation. We would urge people to consider carefully any trips to the English parts of the AONB and urge you to ‘Stay Local’ at this time and to think about the impact of your visit on our small rural communities who may be shielding vulnerable people and who are not yet ready to look after visitors in the way they would wish to.
Please be aware that some areas of the Wye Valley are only now reaching the peak of Covid-19 cases, with the town of Ross, and South Herefordshire, particularly affected.
We very much want to welcome visitors back to the whole Wye Valley AONB but we need to do so in a way that is safe for visitors and for the people who live and work on both sides of the border. Whilst we have two sets of rules to work to we ask visitors in England to respect the regulations in place in Wales and, for now, to visit locations near to your home for exercise and to spend time outdoors. We look forward to welcoming you back when it is safe for you and safe for our communities.
You can find further guidance for Wales here:
Find information about which Forestry England carparks and toilets are open here: https://www.forestryengland.uk/coronavirus-visitor-information
Find information about the Countryside Code here:
The Wye was voted the nation’s favourite river in 2010, its unspoilt beauty capturing the imagination of all who visit. One of the most natural rivers in Britain, it rises in the mountains of mid-Wales and flows south for some 150 miles, becoming part of the border between Wales and England before meeting the Severn. In its lower stretches, it meanders for 58 miles through the Wye Valley Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB), from just south of Hereford down to Chepstow.
How long do you have?
Just an hour? Then you won’t want to miss the romantic ruins of Tintern Abbey, in the prettiest of settings surrounded by river, trees and hills. An afternoon? Take a short boat trip along the Wye at Symonds Yat and then head up to Yat Rock to take in the Wye Valley’s most iconic view. An evening to spare? Make your way up the Kymin, near Monmouth, and savour the view as the sun sets over Monmouthshire’s stunning countryside. All day? Relax into a different pace of life, floating down the Wye in a canoe, and stopping for a leisurely lunch at a riverside pub. A night time outing? Head out at dusk to hear the amazing calls of nightjars on a summer’s evening on Beacon Hill near Trellech.
The Wye Valley Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB) is cared for by a partnership of local residents and businesses, community groups, local authorities and other interested organisations. This is called the Wye Valley AONB Partnership and its role is to conserve and enhance the special qualities of the nationally designated landscape, so that we, and future generations, can live and work here alongside the vibrant wildlife and rich heritage, and that everyone can explore and enjoy this outstanding place.
An Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB) is a landscape which is considered so precious that it is protected for the nation. There are 46 in the UK alongside 14 National Parks. The Wye Valley AONB was designated to protect its dramatic limestone gorges and native woodlands, its impressive geology, its historic legacies of hillforts, castles and the first Cistercian Abbey in Wales, and its wildlife (which Includes 25% of Britain’s population of lesser horseshoe bats).