An outstanding landscape

Corona Virus Update 22nd May 2020

We would like to remind everyone that different rules apply to travelling in England and Wales. Please remember that Wales is still in lockdown with only essential local travel permitted. If you live in Wales you must still ‘Stay Local, Save Lives and Protect the NHS’.

People from England are unable to drive to visit any part of the Wye Valley AONB which falls in Wales. 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. Please consider carefully any trips to the English parts of the AONB and the impact your visit may have on our small rural communities. Be aware that some areas of the Wye Valley are only now reaching the peak of Covid-19 cases, especially Ross on Wye and South Herefordshire. We urge you to ‘Stay Local’ at this time.

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. 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:

Find the Countryside Code here:


‘Documenting Now’ – life in the Wye Valley AONB during the pandemic                                                                                                                    

Documenting Now’ is an AONB project capturing people’s feelings, fears and hopes during the pandemic. Monmouth-based photographer and film maker Emma Drabble has been creating audio portraits, sharing stories showing how people are surviving during these strange times. Listen Here


The River Wye

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.


Explore the Wye Valley

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.

Caring for the Wye Valley

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.

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What is an AONB?

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).

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