St Briavels and the Wye Valley
Saturday 2nd October
This delightful circular walk of approximately 13km/8 miles has been crafted to take in some of the best scenery and features of the Wye Valley AONB, from a starting point in the historic village of St Briavels. We will meet on The Tump beside the 12th century castle which is now a Youth Hostel (there is free street parking in the roads around the moat) with a panoramic view across the River Wye to Wales. We will walk through the ancient woodland of The Hudnalls on the eastern slopes of the Wye Valley down to the river itself, then stride along the Wye Valley Way through the water meadows upstream to the picturesque bridge at Bigsweir. From here the walk takes us through open farmland and meadows to the mixed Cadora Woods, with views up and down the Wye Valley. We follow part of Offa’s Dyke path then traverse Wyegate Hill with views back across to St Briavels before descending down to the tiny hamlet of Mork where we take a little known path up through the secluded valley of the Slade Brook. This is a gentle climb back up to St Briavels through woodland beside a cascading brook with a surprise rare geological feature that earns its SSSI status. At the top we walk back through farmland to St Briavels taking in the expansive views of the route we have walked. There will be opportunity for well-earned refreshments in the village (Covid permitting) and a chance to explore the village and castle before a pleasant drive back across the Severn to Bristol.
If it is clear we may see to the Black Mountains and will be able to appreciate why the continuous wooded slopes of the Wye Valley are regarded as one of the best places in the world to enjoy autumn colours. We criss-cross Offa’s Dyke and several streams along our route also passing badger sets and haunts of deer and wild boar. Birdlife varies from kingfishers and woodpeckers to buzzards and red kites.
There are a couple of steady uphill climbs along good woodland tracks and several stiles, so this walk will suit people who like to earn their grand views with a hill or two, and don’t mind clambering over stiles. The terrain is generally good underfoot with just a short section along a quiet country lane. A gem of a circular walk and worth the 40 minute drive from Bristol!
Distance: 8 miles
Difficulty: Moderate + stamina
Start time: 10am
Finish time: 3.30pm*
Start and finish point: St Briavels, Forest of Dean
*Time built in for lunch stop
How to book
You will be able to buy tickets and book your walks online here from 21st June 2021.