Weekend away at Ross-on-Wye, October 2016
As part of our annual programme of walks the Southwell Group organise two three day walking trips to parts of the country not easily accessible for our normal Sunday walks. These are usually held in the spring and autumn and have become a very important part of the group’s activities attended by present members and those who have moved to live in other parts of the country.
In October 2016 our trip away was to Ross-on-Wye, Herefordshire. We stayed at the Chase Hotel in Ross-on-Wye which proved to be an excellent base for our trip. Twenty-six members took part including three who were joining us for the first time on such an adventure, and a dozen who had been on our original trip to this area back in 2003.
Day 1 saw us walking in the Doward and Symonds Yat area with the River Wye twisting its way through. The initial part of the walk was through wooded slopes providing specular scenery. King Arthur’scave, a stone Catherine wheel and the Seven Sisters cliffs were all explored before we finally dropped down to the River Wye. After lunch we crossed the river on a wobbly bridge constructed by the Forestry Commission providing easy access to both sides of the river. At this point the group split into two groups; one group heading up to the Symonds Yat vantage point and the other following the route of the disused railway line to the Saracen’s Head Hotel. Both groups then re-crossed to the river by the cable ferry boat, a novel but traditional way of crossing a river costing £1.20 per person.
Day 2 saw the group rendezvous at Goodrich Castle for a leisurely walk along the Goodrich Ridge through an ancient coppiced wood before descending to the river below Symonds Yat. We then followed the river as it swept north back towards Goodrich Castle. Over dinner that night Tony Wiiliams showed some photographs taken on the original trip to this area in 2003. Following dinner Mark and Alma gave a presentation about a proposed visit to the North Downs next year for our next walking trip.
As is always the case on these visits, Day 3 came along all too quickly. After breakfast a small select group walked from the hotel to the woods serving as a backdrop to Ross. The very picturesque walk took in an ancient hill fort and local farm land before returning to Ross along the River Wye where we saw a kingfisher.