Introducing Symonds Yat
On the forest’s edge, squeezed between the River Wye and the towering limestone outcrop known as Symonds Yat Rock, Symonds Yat East is an endearing tangle of pubs and guesthouses, with great walks and an excellent canoeing centre and campsite right in the middle of the village. An ancient hand-hauled ferry (adult/child/bicycle £1/50p/50p) crosses the Wye to Symonds Yat West on the other side of the valley, where there’s a riverside caravan park. Travelling between the two villages by road involves a convoluted detour via the A40.
The area is renowned for canoeing and rock climbing and there’s also good hiking and cycling in the nearby Forest of Dean - the scenic Peregrine Path follows the riverbanks from Symonds Yat East to Monmouth.
The most popular walk from Symonds Yat East picks its way up the side of the 504m Symonds Yat Rock, with fabulous river and valley views. Try to spot peregrine falcons soaring by the drop-off in July and August. Peaceful walking trails continue east through the forest into Gloucestershire.
Rock climbers follow a series of mainly trad routes directly up the face of the cliff, but routes in the easier grades tend to be very polished, and rock falls are common – bring a varied rack and wear your helmet. Symonds Yat, by John Willson, is the definitive guidebook.
There’s no direct public transport, but bus 34 between Ross-on-Wye and Monmouth can drop you off on the main road 1.5 miles from the village (services every two hours).