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Coppett Hill is one of the most prominent features in the Lower Wye Valley and offers some of the best views and walks in the area. The hill is south of Goodrich, a village four miles to the south of Ross-on-Wye in Herefordshire and to the west of Kerne Bridge. Symonds Yat is to the south west and it is surrounded by two large loops in the River Wye.
98 hectares of the hill is a local nature reserve, one of the largest in Herefordshire. There are a variety of different habitats; woodland (mostly broadleaf), grassland, bracken and scrub supporting a good range of flora and fauna. Bluebells cover the hill in spring and it is well known as being an ideal spot to leaf peep the autumn colours which is why we included it in our Leaf Peeping Hotspots. Its ancient woodlands offer a kaleidoscope of colour when the sweet chestnuts, beeches, oaks, hawthorns and ash all begin to change colour.
Geologically, the hill was formed by the River Wye cutting through this largely limestone area and lime kilns are still visible on the eastern side of the hill. Other parts of the hill are sandstone with rocky outcrops.
Most people visit Coppett Hill for the stunning views and to walk. From the east side of the hill there are views towards Ruardean and Lydbrook and the Forest of Dean beyond. From the trig point at the top of the hill (188 metres) there are views to the west over the village of Goodrich to the Black Mountains and views to the north over Ross-on-Wye to the Malvern Hills and Shropshire. Wherever you are, the river is ever-present.
Walking Routes on Coppett Hill
- A 7¾ mile moderate/energetic walk is available from from Herefordshire Ramblers.
- A 3 mile circular route taking in Welsh Bicknor covers the base of Coppett Hill and can be found here.
- There are two walks available from the Whitchurch and Ganarew Local History Society: One walk is along the main ridge and the river west of the hill.
- The longer walk takes the river bank to the east, past Welsh Bicknor church and close to former industrial sites in Lydbrook.
- To get the most from walking in the area, we recommend that you buy a copy of "Coppett Hill and Goodrich"; it has five different walks on the hill, all starting from Goodrich Castle, and lots of information on the history, geology and wildlife of the area. The booklet is available at the castle, information centres and local book shops. A short walk by the author of the booklet can be downloaded.
For walkers who wish to stay on the hill, there is a Youth Hostel at Welsh Bicknor. Self-catering accommodation is also available at Flanesford Priory, close to the castle.
For the more energetic, The Forest of Dean Athletic Club hold a fell race on the hill during the summer.
Little is known of the area before the Norman conquest but there is evidence of a nearby iron-age settlement and of Roman farming. There has been a castle at this important crossing of the Wye, and the border between Wales and England, since the 11th century. Goodrich Castle had a succession of different owners and throughout its long history, Coppett Hill was also owned by the Lords of the Manor. It was however considered worthless wasteland and commoners rights were established for the few living on the hill.
The name Coppett Hill may be derived from the ancient practice of coppicing trees to produce charcoal to smelt the locally found iron ore. Another theory for the name is from the copper colour of the beech trees and in the 18th century, it was known as Copper Wood.
Today the hill has many very desirable properties but originally these were simple buildings established by land encroachment. The occupants had rights to graze livestock on the common and keep pigs in the woods; they were also permitted to take fire-wood and bracken for animal bedding. The common continued to be owned by the Lords of Goodrich Manor until 1919 when it was sold. When the land was next for sale, in 1985, a group of far-sighted residents formed a trust to buy the land, preserving it as a common for future generations. The common has few public footpaths and the trust has established permissive paths across the hill for public use. Local working parties are organised to maintain the hill for the use of all and without this the hill would quickly revert to scrub and woodland.
- Children welcome
- Dogs Accepted
* Open access to the hill at any time.