Landscapes for Life
Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONBs) are some of the UK’s most cherished and outstanding landscapes.
136 miles of superb river and hill walking following the River Wye through the riverside meadows, ancient woodland, apple orchards and arable fields, hills, mountains and open moorland. Buzzards, bluebells, bats, peregrine falcons and red kites make this a walk full of wildlife interest, whilst bluebells in spring and autumn leaves create seasonal delights.
Starting at Chepstow, the Walk weaves through the magnificent scenery of the Wye Valley Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, crosses the rolling countryside of Herefordshire and heads up into the mountains of Mid Wales to the Wye’s source on the slopes of Plynlimon. Along the way the Walk passes the historic border towns of Monmouth, Hereford and Hay-on-Wye, as well as the architectural highlights of Chepstow Castle, Tintern Abbey, Goodrich Castle, Hereford Cathedral (home to the Mappa Mundi) and Gilfach Medieval longhouse.
136 miles (218 km) – Length of the walk
Crossing the border between England and Wales
136 miles of superb river and hill walking following the River Wye through riverside meadows, ancient woodland, apple orchards and arable fields, hills, mountains and open moorland, full of wildlife interest (think bats, buzzards, bluebells, peregrine falcons and red kites) makes this a classic long distance route.
Starting at Chepstow the Walk weaves through the magnificent scenery of the Wye Valley Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, crosses the rolling countryside of Herefordshire and heads up into the mountains of Mid Wales to the Wye’s source on the slopes of Plynlimon.
Along the way the Walk passes the historic border towns of Monmouth, Hereford and Hay-on-Wye, as well as the architectural highlights of Chepstow Castle, Tintern Abbey, Goodrich Castle and Hereford Cathedral (home to the Mappa Mundi) and Gilfach Medieval longhouse.
I’m lucky enough to call the Wye Valley home and the Wye Valley Walk passes through this beautiful part of the world. The route often climbs away from the river providing a different perspective on the unfolding landscapes that are frequently, and sometimes literally, breathtaking. Don’t rush the walk. Remember to stop once in a while and take in your surroundings.
How long does it take to complete the Wye Valley Walk?
About 12 days from end to end (if you are reasonably fit).
Where do I start?
There are Start/ End point marker stones at Chepstow Castle and Rhyd-y-benwch car park, Hafren Forest.
Which way should I walk?
You can walk in either direction. The path is waymarked so you can start at the source and walk to the sea, or start at the sea and walk to the source. The Official Guidebook currently has route instructions which run from the sea at Chepstow and end at Rhyd-y-benwch near the source, but many people choose to walk from source to sea. There can be a ‘pilgrimage’ element to ending at the sea and there are benefits to finishing the walk in Chepstow where you can celebrate your achievement in a local hostelrie or restaurant and catch a train home from the station!
When is the best time to walk?
You can walk at any time of year, but some sections of the route may be flooded/ muddy/ slippery after heavy rain, especially in winter. Frosty winter days bring wonderful views as the trees have lost their leaves. The Wye Valley comes into bloom in April and May when bluebells, wood anemones and wild garlic flower and trees unfurl their lime green leaves. During the summer you may walk through beautiful wildflower meadows and hay fields. The autumn colours of the Wye Valley are spectacular and a great attraction for walking during the shorter days at the end of the year.
Who can walk the Wye Valley Walk?
The Wye Valley Walk is not difficult or challenging for most of its length and there are many sections that can be enjoyed by people who are less mobile. Download our Easy Access Walks – barrier free walks which are suitable for a range of less mobile people including parents pushing pushchairs, wheelchairs and those unable to walk long distances.
How far does the river descend from source to sea?
The river descends 2,230ft (680m) from source to sea.
What is the highest point on the route?
Near Nantyhendy Hill is 1,575ft (480m).
Where are the nearest train stations?
Chepstow, Hereford and Builth Road near Builth Wells.
Which towns have a bus service?
Buses serve most of the towns and villages en route, including Tintern, Monmouth, Ross-on-Wye, Hay-on-Wye, Rhayader and Llangurig and Llanidloes at the Northern end of the walk.
Information and advice:
Wye Valley Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty Unit,
Hadnock Road, Monmouth, NP25 3NG.
01600 710846 | firstname.lastname@example.org