Green Travel Guide to the Wye Valley
Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty
A bewitching area of outstanding natural beauty, the Wye Valley has at its heart the sparkling and meandering Wye River that flows in the AONB from Monmouth to Chepstow. All around the river are magical and ancient woods, majestic monuments and fascinating ruins. Superb walking trails run through the valley, including the Wye Valley Walk and Offa’s Dyke Path National Trail. Those who come to appreciate the area’s natural wonders will find a big and friendly welcome in the Valley’s villages and market towns and scores of places to eat, drink and stay that proudly serve superb Wye Valley produce.
Foreword by Andrew Blake, AONB Officer,
Wye Valley AONB
In search of picturesque beauty? Then visit the Wye Valley. You’ll find romantic viewpoints that take your breath away, impressive cliff top castles, cultural icons like Offa’s Dyke and fascinating industrial heritage, all within the majestic meandering trail of the River Wye.
The sublime natural beauty of the Wye Valley AONB offers outstanding recreational opportunities, too. History buffs travel from far and wide to marvel at Tintern Abbey; walkers come to eagerly explore the Wye Valley Walk and Offa’s Dyke Path National Trail. Thousands come each year to explore the river: keen canoeists take on the most challenging bits of the River Wye; families on fun days out gently paddle downstream on their way to a picnic spot or afternoon tea in welcoming cafes; fly-fishermen spend hundreds of pleasurable hours on its banks. Everyone can experience the river’s beauty from a unique angle.
There is refreshment for the body and the spirit in every corner of the valley… after exploring ancient forests and tranquil riverbanks, nourish yourself further with excellent local produce: Wye Valley beef, lamb, venison, beers, ciders, wine and fruit juices, all produced right here. And when you want to find somewhere to rest your head there are intriguing market towns and villages scattered through the landscape.
From Chepstow to Hereford, 128 square miles of the Wye Valley are declared an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty.
Photo credits: Linda Wright (tree, canoe and Tintern Abbey) & Mike Longridge (rainbow) for Wye Valley AONB.
Wye Valley AONB Officer
What our writers discovered in the Wye Valley
Stay, Eat, See & Do
Our pick of places across the Wye Valley
Google Map Key:
Click on the coloured icons for more information about each listing
Green = Places to stay; Blue = Places to eat; Yellow = Attractions; Purple = Activities
Click on the square brackets top right of map to reveal expanded map
The term ‘Picturesque’ was coined in Wye Valley in the 18th century,
starting both British tourism and the concept of conservation.
The Wye Valley is internationally important for otters, salmon,
Greater & Lesser Horseshoe bats and also for its whitebeam trees.
Ancient ravine woodlands dominate the valley for 18 miles and, along with
the River Wye, are internationally protected.
The Wye is the fourth largest river in England and Wales
(with an average flow at its mouth of 74 m3/second).
Annually 2.2 million people visit the Wye Valley AONB
and 30,000 people live and work in the area.
Tintern was the birthplace of the industrial revolution and the smelting of brass and
iron began in 1568. The Wye gorge, forested for over 8,000 years, was for centuries
coppiced on an industrial scale for charcoal to fuel the blast furnaces.
At 230 metres, Wyndcliff, near St Arvans, is one of the highest inland cliffs in Britain.
The Wye Valley Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB) is the only protected
landscape to straddle the English and Welsh border.
In the AONB there are 45 Sites of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI)
and four National Nature Reserves.
King Arthur's Cave on Little Doward contained 15,000-year-old bones of humans, woolly rhinoceros and mammoth.
Thousands will celebrate the second Wye Valley River Festival of nature, culture, landscape and conservation between 29th April and 15th May 2016.
Travel to and around the Wye Valley
Getting there: There is a good train service to Chepstow and, then, buses between Chepstow and Monmouth. Outside of bus routes, short taxi rides would link you with most places to stay, places to eat, attractions and recommended activities mentioned in this guide.
By rail: The closest railway station is Chepstow. For information and timetables call 08457 484950.
Arriva Trains cover much of Wales and for ticket reservations call 0870 9000 773. If you have mobility issue and need special assistance call 033 300 50 501 or 0845 758 5469 (Textphone).
For train times and fares:
03457 48 49 50 (24-hour National Rail Enquiries line)
0345 60 40 500 (National Rail Enquiries Welsh Language)
0345 60 50 600 (Textphone)
By coach and bus: There are nationwide coach services to and from Chepstow and Monmouth. Call 0871 781 8181. The National Express Disabled Persons Travel Helpline can be contacted on 0371 781 8181.
The Welsh section of the Wye Valley in this Green Traveller's Guide and is shown in light green; the English section in dark green and yellow.
Map supplied by Wye Valley AONB
Map of the Wye Valley AONB
Words by Abigail Whyte. Film produced by Green Traveller.
Artwork for Green Traveller's Guides by Tina Smith and Mark Edwards.