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Dappled wooded glades, eye-stretching views, ancient ruins, towering cliffs and gentle river meadows all hold the key to the lure of the uniquely special Wye Valley Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB). Just like our National Parks the Wye Valley is a protected landscape and safeguarded for everyone to enjoy.
Dramatic landscapes and peaceful countryside combine to create an exceptional area for walking, cycling, canoeing, stand up paddle boarding and climbing. Long-distance trails, Offa's Dyke Path and the Wye Valley Walk, as well as many miles of footpaths and bridleways give you the chance to discover the beauty of this special place.
The Wye Valley is rewarding at any time of year. In spring, woods are carpeted with bluebells, wild garlic and wood anemones. During summer, the meadows come alive with wild flowers. Autumn sees trees bursting into red and gold, and the crisp cold of winter brings crystal clear views to the Black Mountains, Golden Valley and across to the Forest of Dean.
This is castle territory. As a disputed border for more than a thousand years, signs of war and power are evident from the ramparts of Offa's Dyke to the stone walls of Chepstow and Goodrich Castles.
The Wye Valley can claim to be the birthplace of British tourism - and the first package holiday was taken here in 1770! The 'Picturesque Wye Tour was popularised by William Gilpin who published a book, Observations on the River Wye, that opened the world's eyes to the beauty of the Wye Valley. Taking the Wye Tour became the height of fashion between 1780 - 1830. Thousands came to 'do the Wye Tour', to enjoy specific viewpoints, visit romantic ruins like Goodrich Castle and Tintern Abbey and to wine and dine at the sites prescribed by William Gilpin. Painters, poets, writers and diarists recorded their own Wye Tours in amazing paintings, poetry and prose which you can enjoy today.
The Wye Valley continues to inspire artists, creatives and crafts people and there is a thriving artistic community today and also a festival held every other year.
Catch up with Wye Valley AONB's '50 Walks at 50' progress as they launch a walk a week in 2021 to celebrate their 50th anniversary here.