Archive for the ‘Wye Valley’ Tag

Wye Valley Wander   12 comments

Our wonderful spring weather was drawing to a close. One last chance – for now – to set out early for a walk in the sunshine. A change of scene was needed so we stayed local and took a walk in the Wye Valley.


Parking up in Goodrich we headed up to the top of Coppet Hill for the now regular routine of cooked breakfast.


Views over Goodrich Village and its castle.


Our only summit of the day – Coppet Hill. A long spur between the sinuous bends in the river Wye.


Lazing in the warm sun, bellies full of bacon and eggs.


Its a lovely high level stroll before descending the long ridge through the woods and down to the river. This was the first time I felt moderately ill-at-ease in the new situation. We were walking a respectful distance behind a family group who were stopping more frequently than us. Not a problem as it was a fine day to pause and enjoy the surroundings while we waited for them to move on. What was unsettling was that under normal circumstances we’d have just walked past and shared our mutual enjoyment, where we were all heading, what a fabulous day it was. This is one of the delights of the outdoors, those brief moments of sharing these joys with like-minded people. It felt like I was avoiding them, almost rude and it felt wrong. Just something we will have to get used to for a while.


The rest of the walk was a long easy wander along the banks of the Wye.


The grassy meadows full of buttercups were wonderful.


Just before we reached the church and hostel at Welsh Bicknor I took a look at the old railway tunnel on the long-abandoned line. Its blocked off now for safety reasons but when I was a kid we visited the hostel on a History field trip and took a walk through. A few hundred yards that slices off a good 2 -3 miles of river walking.


I’d forgotten what a beautiful church it was, especially under such a clear blue sky.


As we continued we were looking for a likely spot for a stop and a swim in the river. Unfortunately all the best spots were on the other side of the river and the few on our side were all occupied. The last few miles were protected by what must be one of the longest continuous patches of nettles anywhere.


Still, the walking was still lovely, albeit it was becoming rather hot. The swim was badly missed.


A new family enjoying the weather.


We finished off at Kerne Bridge before a short walk back up the road to Goodrich and the car.


Something different and another walk that I probably wouldn’t have done had the Welsh Mountains been open. Accentuate the positive!


Water! Water! Everywhere!   6 comments

The journey back home from the airport after my ski trip through some truly appalling weather, some the heaviest rain I’ve ever seen in the UK, was a taste of things to come.


February was a dreadful month with seemingly endless rain, storms and in the case of my county, floods. After two weeks of this we finally had chance for a stroll round our village to check out the water levels.


These photos were of three of the five routes out of the village. The other two were just as bad, effectively cutting off the village for anyone without a 4WD or SUV.


Whilst we are relatively near the river Wye all of these floods are just a result of excessive rain, blocked ditches and a high water table. You would never walk around the village in summer and think it was an area prone to floods.


Flood damage in Madley was limited but the Wye in Herefordshire broke all existing records going back a couple of centuries by over half a metre! The damage in the towns of Ross and Hereford has been very sad to witness, businesses will likely be finished as a result.


Our usual walk around the fields is a very muddy one at present, sections are impassable.


This grove of trees normally has just a babbling brook running through it.


The water table is effectively at the surface so even if we get a spell of a few days without rain, one spell of rain and it’s all back again. It’s hard to tell if the fields will dry out any time soo.


Makes for some nice images but what I’d give to be able to walk round and not see huge expanses of mud and water.


Posted March 9, 2020 by surfnslide in Local Walks, Walking

Tagged with , , ,

A Dash Between the Rains   12 comments


I’m catching up slowly and this walk was only 2.5 weeks ago. A horrid Saturday and a wet Sunday morning with a poor forecast seemed to condemn us to a weekend of domestic servitude. Sunday lunchtime arrived, clouds cleared and the sun weakly shone so we swiftly headed out for a walk.


Hay Bluff and Lord Herefords Knob is always a good choice for a short notice walk as, like the Sugar Loaf you can park halfway up.


Classic views across the Wye Valley right from the outset.


And the usual leg burning, lung busting steep climb to the top of Hay Bluff



Panorama from the summit


What I wasn’t prepared for was the strong winds and significant drop in temperatures from the previous few days. A north wind meant that wearing shorts was not the best decision!



After a couple of days of damp misty weather the winds had cleared the air and visibility was amazing in the clear sunny spells. We could see as far as Cadair Idris in the southern reaches of Snowdonia




We didn’t linger on the summit for very long. It was cold and windy.


And storms were approaching



This one was definitely coming our way and I feared we were in for a fair old battering


View south down to the Vale of Ewyas


In the end we only caught the tail of the storm and the soaking was very minor as we walked back to the car


Hadn’t expected to even hit the hills on this weekend so we counted ourselves fortunate to grab such a decent slice of wild and clear weather between the showers

Keeping the musical contribution going. A great track from a band who, with the passing of Tom Petty earlier this year, now have less surviving members than departed ones. The End of the Line for this post

Short stroll on Mynydd Troed   8 comments

I had a lazy day planned. I’d been out for a few beers on Friday night and needed a weekend off to recover. That’s old age for you. Sunday was grey and dreary and I settled down in front of the TV for some serious couch potato action. Then the sun came out and then blue sky filled the view. Betrayed by the weather I was forced into a walk

black mountains, brecon beacons, pengenffordd, mynydd troed, wye valley

I ticked the following boxes on the form. “Short walk”, “Park as high as possible”, “Isolated Summit”, “Fine Views”. Mynydd Troed was the answer

black mountains, brecon beacons, pengenffordd, mynydd troed, wye valley

black mountains, brecon beacons, pengenffordd, mynydd troed, wye valley

A day of contrasts. In the sun and out of the wind it was like summer. In the wind and shade it was still winter

black mountains, brecon beacons, pengenffordd, mynydd troed, wye valley

black mountains, brecon beacons, pengenffordd, mynydd troed, wye valley

A brutally steep ascent brings you directly to this fine summit. Views of the Black Mountains, Brecon Beacons and the Wye Valley abound

black mountains, brecon beacons, pengenffordd, mynydd troed, wye valley

black mountains, brecon beacons, pengenffordd, mynydd troed, wye valley

black mountains, brecon beacons, pengenffordd, mynydd troed, wye valley

black mountains, brecon beacons, pengenffordd, mynydd troed, wye valley

black mountains, brecon beacons, pengenffordd, mynydd troed, wye valley

We sat for a while on the top, pretending it was summer while we shivered. We talked long distance footpaths I recall. TJS and TBF are fans. I’m not

black mountains, brecon beacons, pengenffordd, mynydd troed, wye valley

black mountains, brecon beacons, pengenffordd, mynydd troed, wye valley

TJS was feeling a little under the weather so rather than head along the ridge we circled back down to the car

black mountains, brecon beacons, pengenffordd, mynydd troed, wye valley

black mountains, brecon beacons, pengenffordd, mynydd troed, wye valley

A short walk but a fine one under a surprisingly abundant and unforecast blue sky.

black mountains, brecon beacons, pengenffordd, mynydd troed, wye valley

black mountains, brecon beacons, pengenffordd, mynydd troed, wye valley

Hangover cured, all was back in sync with the world

Another local post for local people   4 comments

A few nice photos from a couple of walks on Coppet Hill by the river Wye and Garway Hill in South Herefordshire:


TJS does drama classes on Saturday mornings at Goodrich so with 2 hours to kill you can just about take in a 5 mile walk down by the river and along the fine high level ridge that is Coppet Hill. Photos from a couple of days, one on a warm hazy day and one with a glorious clear spell after a vicious shower. Previous visit can be found here

Coppet Hill, Goodrich, River Wye, Wye Valley

Coppet Hill, Goodrich, River Wye, Wye Valley

Coppet Hill, Goodrich, River Wye, Wye Valley

Coppet Hill, Goodrich, River Wye, Wye Valley

Coppet Hill, Goodrich, River Wye, Wye Valley

Coppet Hill, Goodrich, River Wye, Wye Valley

Coppet Hill, Goodrich, River Wye, Wye Valley

Coppet Hill, Goodrich, River Wye, Wye Valley

Coppet Hill, Goodrich, River Wye, Wye Valley

Coppet Hill, Goodrich, River Wye, Wye Valley

Coppet Hill, Goodrich, River Wye, Wye Valley

Garway Hill a fine spot for a short stroll as you can park on it’s upper slopes. This day was incredibly windy and after poor weekend of rain we stole out in a brief spell of sunshine for some fresh air. Previous walk from last year is here

Garway Hill

Garway Hill

Garway Hill

Garway Hill

Garway Hill

Garway Hill

Garway Hill

Garway Hill

Me? On a Bike? You must be joking!   9 comments

Most of my friends know that I’m not a huge fan of cycling. As a cheap means of transport when I was too poor to afford a car it did the job. As a means of outdoor fun it just never quite buried itself in my psyche like walking and the rest of my madcap outdoor pursuits. I do own a very dated mountain bike a very sad relic in an age of high-tech machines, but its a rare occasion when I take it out.


This could be changing however after a rather splendid little jaunt a couple of weeks back which I have to admit I rather enjoyed. When we were walking at Symonds Yat at couple of months back I noticed lots of cyclists on the south side on what must be an old disused railway line along the course of the river Wye. Perfect for the kids I thought so we hoisted all the bikes down there and gave it a shot


After a reluctant start from my youngest (trying to get past the crowds and the cars at Symonds Yat out her off a bit) and some lunch the kids really got into the swing of it and we picked up a decent pace all the way to Monmouth and back.


Only about 10 miles in total but seeing as L in particular has never cycled more than up and down our cul-de-sac before I was quite pleased at how well she coped. The weather was kind and stayed dry so it was a very pleasant and very different day out from the usual walks. The Forest of Dean nearby has loads of old disused railway lines from the coal mining days now used as cycleways so hopefully we can get a few more trips in before winter.


I actually quite like cycling – there, I said it. Just don’t expect any major cycling tours from me!

Video works better than photos so enjoy the little compilation with a tune to remind you that it’s still August and still technically summer…

Posted August 6, 2012 by surfnslide in Cycling, Family Trips

Tagged with , , , ,

At home with our friends from the North – Goodrich and Coppet Hill   8 comments

For the second half of the half-term week we provided a full-board accommodation package to old mate Mark from Beating the Bounds and his family. I’d made great plans for some summer picnics in the hills, climb a few of my favourite local mountains and some kiddie play in the garden with a BBQ and drinks. What passes for a British summer put pay to that and the day they arrived was wet and miserable and the forecast for the rest of the week didn’t look much better.

Alternative plans were required. We are lucky that the borders and Marches where we live has some cracking historic buildings and the Wye Valley some pleasant strolls in the rolling hills and by the river. Perfect for the kids and when the weather is mixed. The first day out we decided on Goodrich Castle and a walk up the nearby eminence of Coppet Hill if the weather stayed fine. Things didn’t look good as we headed off with dark skies followed by a hefty rain shower. Our luck seemed to be in though and by the time we parked up it had stopped and there was some semblance of brightness so we hit the castle immediately.

I’m sure you were expecting a number of photos and one of my slideshow masterpieces. However like the ageing senile numpty that I am, I forgot the camera and had to take a few shots with my phone and they are pretty poor. So, I’m going to cheat big-time here and just drop in a couple of photos from said phone and say that Goodrich Castle is a superb and interesting place backed up by one of the best audio guides I’ve ever used, detailed and informative that helps create just the right atmosphere as you wander through the site.


Entrance from the Barbican


Courtyard and Keep


View from the Moat

I could add more but Mark has made a much better and more interesting write-up so I suggest you pop over and read his version here with added advantage of a photo of me and subsequent comments to thoroughly humiliate me and both my attire and my rather embarrassing pose.


Main View of the castle

It started to rain just as we headed back for lunch and we waited out a massive downpour in the castle shop with my natural tight-fistedness holding sway over the kids demands to spend their inheritance early. We enjoyed a high quality picnic outside the shop where the sun came out in a surprisingly extravagant manner.


Picnic in the sun

We chanced that the showers would hold off for the afternoon and took in the short-walk up Coppet Hill. It’s a ridge enclosed by a huge meander of the Wye and has expansive views over the surrounding area and across to the Black Mountains. It was a cracking walk in warm sunshine but more cheating here. Mark’s account is again much more interesting and informative or for an alternative viewpoint you can read about my stroll up here with the family back in April. Hey, I’ve been busy at work and I’m tired, so you’ll just have to deal with my laziness.

Anyway, in the end a pretty decent day, the weather was kind to us, and Mark and his family got to see some of the best of the gentler side of my manor. Would our weather luck hold for another day. Tune in to the next blog post to find out……..

Posted June 20, 2012 by surfnslide in Family Trips, Local Walks, Walking

Tagged with , ,

Coppet Hill   2 comments

Oh dear, a long way behind with my blog again. Lots to catch up on with a little trip into the little known hills west of Builth Wells, a trip to Wasdale and an ascent of Pillar and cracking birthday weekend in Snowdonia. While I get around to editing some slide shows and writing up the thrills and spills here’s a few photos, words and a little Flickr slide show of a recent family trip up Coppet Hill near Goodrich.

It’s a stunning little hill perched above a massive meander in the river Wye between Goodrich and Symonds Yat. The latter is a busy tourist fleshpot but this hill is mercifully quiet and unspoilt with expansive views over the Herefordshire countryside.


Coppet Hill and Herefordshire countryside


Kerne Bridge

It’s a fine place for a family stroll across the open ridge and down through woods which we hoped would be carpeted with bluebells but it was just a little early. You descend sharply down to the sharp-point of the meander before returning along the fields at the bottom of the hill.


On the banks of the Wye


Across the meadows

The last time I’d been here with D on a summer walk the Wye was high and chocolate-brown. This time it looked as if you could almost wade across. This was to prove the calm before the storms as over the next week the river rose to bursting point in the latter half of April and has only just returned to normal.

We managed to find a sheltered spot in the grass for a customary brew, watching the kayakers on the river (must get round to a canoe trip with the kids on my local river sometime) before heading home.


Afternoon tea

A fine walk on a cold spring day close to home, a little stocking filler between the adventure on Rum and the walks to follow

Posted May 14, 2012 by surfnslide in Local Walks, Walking, Wye Valley

Tagged with , ,

Wye Valley Walking   3 comments

My normal drive home from Bristol takes me along the Wye valley between Chepstow (one of my Slovakian colleagues at work once called it Chickenstowe!) and Monmouth so time for a change from mountain climbing. . The Wynd Cliffe area I was in has some great views over the lower reaches of the valley. Having left the car at Upper Wynd Cliffe I walked down to the view-point at Lower Wynd Cliffe. There is a lot of forest in these parts so expansive views are few and far between but when they appear they are pretty decent.

Wye Valley from Lower Wynd Cliffe

Wye Valley from Lower Wynd Cliffe

You then have to climb back up to the top again along a steep path with handrails and metal steps called the “365 steps”. I counted them. There were less than 365. I feel cheated. I’m over it now though! At the top you reach a lookout called predictably, Eagles Nest, although the views over the valley, Chepstow (racecourse and castle both visible if you look closely in the photos) and especially of the two Severn bridges.

Chepstow and Severn Estuary from Eagles Nest

Second Severn Crossing from Eagles Nest

Severn Bridge from Eagles Nest

From there it’s a long steady walk through the woods along the Wye Valley Walk. J & D did this section last year and whilst there are no views there were plenty of grey squirrels and blackbirds to keep me company. The Wye Valley Walk heads down into Tintern but my route took me back across the meadows to the car, lovely in the evening sunshine and deserted.

I hadn’t seen a soul all evening on my 3.8 mile walk.

Full set of Flickr photos here

Posted June 11, 2011 by surfnslide in Walking, Wye Valley

Tagged with , , ,

%d bloggers like this: