Wye Basin Trails
Throughout the Wye Basin there are numerous long distance walking trails that intersect it and or pass through. They range from national trails to locally devised trails such as the Mortimer Way, the Epynt Way, the Monks Trod, Beacons Way, 3 castles Way or the Twin Trails in Herefordshire. All pass by or are near to Wye rivers, forests and or high hills and are worth stepping onto. Here is a list of the trails associated with the Wye region.
Offa's Dyke is a national trail that's picking up pace lately. Founded in 1969 it's a 177 mile long distance path following the course of the Offa's Dyke an ancient defensive ditch that runs the length of England and Wales. It passes through the counties of Gloucestershire, Herefordshire, Radnorshire, Montgomeryshire, Shropshire, Denbighshire, and Flintshire. A good portion of its Southern section is within the Wye catchment.
Glyndwr's Way is a national trail exploring the life of freedom fighter and the last prince of Wales Owain Glyndwr. It passes by the source of the river Lugg and through incredible Mid Wales country and the settlements of Welshpool, Machynlleth, Llanidloes, Bwlch Y Sarnau, Llanbadarn Fynydd and Knighton. The trail is characterized by deep vales, rolling hills, rivers and green pastures. Recommended!
The Epynt Way is a 49 mile local path created by local authorities and the Ministry of Defense in order to give people access to the Epynt an upland area in Mid Wales that was, up until recently, all Welsh speaking. Remote it's crossed by numerous mountain streams and borders the Irfon and Wye Valley to the North & East. It was created by local authorities and the ministry of defense who operate Sennybridge one of the largest military training areas in the UK.
“Think trails outside. No boxes
“Hiking side effects are sweating, exhilaration & often awe.”
Sometimes called the Monks Way the Monks Trod is an ancient route between the old abbeys of Abbeycwmhir and Strata Florida in the Cambrian Mountains in Mid Wales. It passes through rugged Mid Wales and mountain country requiring some navigation skills. There are scant details as to the whole route but information can probably be obtained from the Abbey Cwm Hir Heritage Trust who walk it each year.
The Elan Valley Way can start in the sprawling city of Birmingham or in the wilds of the Cambrian Mountains. Take your pick. It's 118 miles and follows the route of the Elan Valley aqueduct which has carried Birmingham's water supply from the Elan Valley to Birmingham since 1904. It skirts Kidderminster, the Wyre Forest, Clee Hill, the Mortimer Forest, Knighton, Radnor Forest and on into the Elan Valley. Definitely for those who revere water.
Said to be the mountain connoisseurs trail the Cambrian Way is for those who are serious about their wild trekking. It runs from North to South or vise versa over many of the highest and most scenically beautiful areas of Wales. People can start at Cardiff Castle or at Conwy Castle in the North. Mountain ranges you'll pass through are the Black Mountains, Central Brecon Beacons, the Cambrian Mountains and the mountains of Snowdonia. It's a challenging one.
“If the path be beautiful, let us not ask where it leads.”
Beside Llyn Brianne. Photo Mark Jickells
“Definitely walk the path less travelled.”
Another mountains connoisseurs walk the Beacons way at 99 miles enters the Wye basin at Bwlch and continues on through to the Black Mountains at Llanthony. It explores the Brecon Beacons taking the walker West to East from Llangadog over some of its highest peaks and most rugged terrain. Peaks include Fan Brycheiniog 803M, Pen Y Fan 886M, Fan Y Big 717M and Hatterrall Hill at 531M finishing off at the mountain town Abergavenny. It's challenging but rewarding.
Heart of Wales Trail
Weaving between stations along the 'Heart of Wales' railway line the trail passes through some of Britain's most scenic rolling countryside. Starting in Shropshire or Carmarthenshire it includes Shropshire AONB, The Radnor Forest, The Wye Valley, Cambrian Mountains, Brecon Beacons, the salt marshes of the Loughor Valley and the Millennium Coastal Park in Llanelli. It's varied and packed full of the best walking.
The Marches Way
The Marches Way is a long distance path partially way marked that runs through the Welsh English borderlands known as the Welsh Marches. The route starts in Chester and Links with the city of Cardiff. It passes through the Dee Valley, Shropshire's Long Mynd, the Mortimer Forest, the Wye Valley, Abbey Dore, Monmouthsire, South Wales and Cardiff. It's a challenging route for those who like to navigate without to much help.
“Pick a trail with a heart.”
Opposite Sugar Loaf. Photo Mark Jickells
“Hiking is medicine.”
The Monmouthsire Way is a circular trail covering 121 miles of Monmouthshire passing through much of the Wye basin. It includes the towns of Chepstow, Monmouth, Abergavenny, Pontypool and Usk as well as the counties highest point at Chwarel y Fan (2227 feet). Besides the Black Mountains there's also UNESCO World Heritage at Blaenavon, a location important during the Industrial Revolution. Alongside the Gwent Levels it's a varied walk.
The trail is a 150 mile circular route along existing rights of way that hooks up the market towns of Ledbury, Ross-on-Wye, Kington, Leominster and Bromyard. A rural trail it reveals the varied landscapes of the Malvern Hills, the Black Mountains to the West through to the forests of Mortimer in the North. There are in addition rural churches, castle ruins and other historic features (see river Dore Diary) together with country inns. It's a long pleasant ramble!
The 'Twin Valley Ley Line Trail,' explores ancient ley line features said to be straight lines connecting prehistoric sites and somewhat of an energy super highway. Discovered by Alfred Watkins a local walker and cosmic explorer it taps into two free flowing rivers the Monnow and Dore, lush valleys, the Black Mountains as well as monastic sites, tiny churches and views to inspire. We've hiked both rivers and can testify to the beauty of the area.
“Leave the road, take the trails.”
Above Grosmont. Photo Mark Jickells
“We don’t stop hiking because we grow old, we grow old because we stop hiking.”
This trail will take you through (see route) part of the Marches of England starting in the county town of Ludlow and finishing in the Small border town of Kington. It passes through large forests, limestone plateaus and ambient pastures in an area once ruled in mediaeval times by the Mortimer family, one of the most powerful Norman earldoms. It takes in along the way the rivers Teme, Lugg and Arrow, which wind through deep cut glacial wooded valleys.
3 Castles Walk
Exploring the 3 castles of Grosmont, Skenfrith, White Castle and the landscape in which they reside the 3 Castle Walk will take you though a part of Monmouthshire that was once dominated by Norman castles. You'll experience the rolling hills of the borderlands, see views of the impressive Black Mountains and those of South Wales as well as handrail and cross two Wye rivers the Monnow and Trothy. It's a great area to explore.
Linking the Wye Valley Walk and Offa's Dyke Walk the Gloucestershire Way also hooks you up with the Severn, Cotswold, Oxfordshire and Heart of England Ways. It passes through the Forest of Dean, Severn Plain and Cotswolds Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty. At 100-mile (160-kilometre) long it uses existing rights of way. The trail has considerable variety and interest was conceived on the theme of 'Forest and Vale and High Blue Hill' - words taken from the poem "A Song of Gloucestershire" by F. W. Harvey of the Forest of Dean.
“There are more answers on trail than their are on your sofa.”
Monnow Valley by Mark Jickells
“After a days walk everything has twice its usual value.”
Linking up the Off's Dyke and Wye Valley at Monmouth with the source of the river Thames and the beginning of the Thames Path National Trail the Wysis Way passes through the Forest of Dean, the Severn Vale and the Cotswolds all renowned for their picturesque beauty. At 55 miles you pack a lot into the walk from sources of rivers through to historic cities, towns, canals, forests, enchanting pastures and valleys. A trail for the rural rambler.
An 80 mile trail the Wyches Way connects the Offa's Dyke and the border of England and wales at Kington (see River Arrow) with the Coltswold Way at Broadway Tower. The official start is the market town of Kington where you shortly stride through spectacular North Herefordshire countryside via the Lugg and Frome valleys before immersing yourself in the Malvern Hills prior to standing below Broadway tower in the Cotswolds. Named after an old middle ages 'Saltway' crossing it makes for a stimulating few miles.
3 Choirs Way
Celebrating the world renowned three choirs festival this long distance walk of 95 miles definitely has a musical flavor to it. Numerous natural features are encountered from the rivers Severn through to the Wye, Teme and Lugg as well as the ridges of Marcle and Malvern let alone the Suckley Hills. It also connects with the Worcestershire, Gloucestershire, Wysis and Severn Ways and the Wye Valley Walk. Step out and enjoy.
Monnow Valley Walk
Linking with Monmouth and Hay On Wye via the river Monnow valley the Monnow Valley Walk is a 40 mile hike that handrails a good portion of the River Monnow whilst passing through the settlements of Skenfrith, Grosmont and Longtown before reaching Hay On Wye to the North West of the start at Monmouth. With the Offa's Dyke, Black Mountains and its inspiring headwaters we can testify to the fact that it's a great hike to get fully immersed in.