5 villages you should visit in the Wye Valley, England

by Jan

The Wye Valley is an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, which straddles the borders between England and Wales.  It is a beautiful, natural area with a rich, industrial past.  This wonderful combination of history and nature is reflected in the many little villages that are spread across the valley.  With such a vast choice, we have listed 5 villages that you should visit in the Wye Valley, England.

Newland

Cathedral of the Forest, Newland, , Wye Valley, Gloucestershire, UK

One of the prettiest villages you should visit in the Wye Valley is Newland.  The focal point of this picturesque, unspoilt village in the Forest of Dean is the beautiful All Saints Church.

Established in the 13th Century, this historic church is now known as “The Cathedral of the Forest”.  Take time to look inside at the intricate stained-glass windows, bygone effigies, and ornate tombs.  Or a few moments to wander round the ancient graveyard.

Newland Almshouses, Wye Valley, Gloucestershire, UK

In front of the church is a row of charming almshouses, built for the parishioners in the 17th century.  However, if you’re looking to eat, head to the opposite side, where you’ll find The Ostrich Inn.  This traditional village pub serves real ale and homemade food.

Redbrook

Redbrook Penallt Viaduct, Wye Valley, Gloucestershire, UK

About 10 minutes’ drive from Newland is the historic village of Redbrook.  Redbrook sits partly in England and partly in Wales, with the River Rye running through the centre.

Redbrook’s most notable feature is it’s Grade II listed bridge, also known as the Penallt Viaduct which was last used in 1964.  Redbrook has a rich industrial heritage and the bridge is a reminder of former times when it was used for the Wye Valley railway.

Boat Inn Penallt, Wales

Cross the bridge to get beautiful views of the River Wye and to reach the lovely Boat Inn, which is on the Welsh side in Penallt.  With its waterfall and lush foliage, this traditional pub has a pretty pub garden with waterfalls running through it.

Unfortunately for us, it was in lockdown when we visited.

Ross-on-Wye

Ross on Wye, Wye Valley, Herefordshire, UK

Ross-on-Wye is actually a town, but we didn’t want to exclude it from places you should visit in the Wye Valley.  This pretty market town stands on the borders of Herefordshire on the River Wye.   From a distance you can see the iconic spire of St Mary the Virgin Church, which stands 205 feet up.

After our visit to the church, we explored the churchyard.  This leads to Prospect Gardens, a historic park built in 1700.  From this viewpoint, you’ll get magnificent views over the Wye Valley below and as far as the Welsh mountains.

Inside Ross on Wye Cathedral, Wye Valley, Herefordshire, UK

At the heart of Ross-on-Wye is the historic Market House.  Make time to venture upstairs, where you’ll find Made in Ross, a collective selling locally made arts and crafts.  Beyond the Market House is a mix of independent shops and antique emporiums intermingled with high street stores and charity shops.

When you need to stop for refreshments, Ross-on-Wye has a delightful coffee house and delicatessen.  Alternatively, you could make a pit stop at The Man of Ross Inn, a family run pub.

At less than 3 hours from London, Ross-on-Wye makes a perfect weekend getaway from the capital.

Symonds Yat

Symonds Yat is a picturesque location near Coleford in the heart of the Wye Valley in England.  There are three distinct areas, all of which are worth a visit.

Firstly, you have the two pretty hamlets Symonds Yat East and Symonds Yat West.

Saracens Inn, Symonds Yat East, Wye Valley, Gloucestershire, UK

Symonds Yat East & Symonds Yat West

On the east side of the river, Symonds Yat East offers a choice of charming restaurants and tea houses. We ate at the Saracens Inn, a traditional pub overlooking the River Wye.

Afterwards we set out on a walk to discover the natural landmarks, King Arthur’s Cave and Seven Sisters’ Rocks.  Not only a popular venue for hikers, Symonds Yat is a great place for canoeing on the River Wye.

If you want to get across to Symonds Yat West, you’ll need to use the hand pull ferries.  The boats link to a cable and have been transporting people across the River Wye for centuries.

Alternatively, you can do a circular walk via Biblin’s rope bridge.

Biblins rope Bridge, Symonds Yat, Wye Valley, Gloucestershire, UK

Symonds Yat Rock

Secondly, overlooking the gorge and River Wye, is the famous viewpoint, Symonds Yat Rock.  The Forestry Commission manages this scenic beauty spot, which offers a choice of woodland walks and bike rides.

Symonds Yat Rock has a famous viewpoint, which looks over the horseshoe bend in the River Wye. It is also the perfect spot for seeing Peregrine Falcons and other birds of prey.

Symonds Yat Rock View, Wye Valley, Gloucestershire, UK

Lydbrook

Our final choice of villages you should visit in the Wye Valley is Lydbrook.  Lydbrook is a long, narrow village in the Forest of Dean, Gloucestershire, which runs down the deep valley from Upper Lydbrook to Lower Lydbrook.

To be truthful, we have a bias towards this one, as it’s where we stayed on our recent visit.  Lydbrook is in a great central location.  What’s more, it makes a great base to discover the many things to do in the Forest of Dean and Wye Valley.

Holy Jesus Church, Lydbrook, Wye Valley, Gloucestershire, UK

Upper Lydbrook

Dominating Upper Lydbrook from the top is the pretty, Holy Jesus Church, which overlooks a playing field and the hillside forest. We took a walk from here down to the River Wye at the other end.

The village still has plenty of evidence of Lydbrook’s industrial past.  Historically, Lydbrook was home to a tinplate works and later a cable works factory.  There was even a huge viaduct, which crossed the valley.

Today, there are still many interesting historic buildings on the main street, including Lydbrook Baptist Church, the Old Methodist Chapel, and many charming cottages.  Lydbrook also has a lot of houses dotted about the hillside on either side of the valley.

However, most notable is the Old House, which is a gorgeous 3-storey building with timber beams.  Previously, this grade II* listed property, was the home of Sarah Siddon, a famous English actress of the 18th Century.

Lower Lydbrook

Wye Valley Alpaca Farm, Lydbrook, Wye Valley, Gloucestershire, UK

Whilst you are walking down to Lower Lydbrook keep your eyes peeled for the Wye Valley Alpaca Farm.  Located aside a public footpath, the farm is home to some gorgeous alpacas and their piggy friends.

At the foot of the valley, in Lower Lydbrook, is a meadow overlooking the River Wye.  From here you can walk along the river, launch a canoe, or just sit and watch the world go by.

If you’re looking for food in Lydbrook, the Fish and Chip shop in Upper Lydbrook, serves very generous, tasty portions.

A map of the 5 villages you should visit in the Wye Valley

Below is a map of the 5 villages you should visit in the Wye Valley.

Save the map to use when you are there by clicking on the star to the right of the title.

You can later find the map by going to your Google Maps app and selecting the saved icon.

What’s your favourite village in the Wye Valley?  Please feel free to comment below.

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