Staunton stones guided walk

“A great morning out – 6km in glorious weather followed by a brief visit to the pub!”

Suckstone
Walkers inspecting the Suckstone.

The Wye Valley Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty organise many different events throughout the year. Between April and December 2010, there have been 13 very popular guided walks.

The walk on December 5 took place at Staunton, on the edge of the Forest of Dean in the hills above Monmouth. It was one of the walks led by the Forest of Dean and Wye Valley Tour Guides.

Compared with other parts of the country, the Forest has been lucky with the weather. Nevertheless, it was still touch and go all week as to whether the walk would take place. As it turned out conditions were absolutely perfect; although it was still freezing there was bright sun throughout the walk.

Ten of us enjoyed the walk around Staunton to see three of the stones for which it is so well known.

The Buckstone is at 279 metres and gives great views west over Monmouth to the Black Mountains and Brecon Beacons beyond. We had impressive views, with snow-covered hills in the distance and Monmouth and the river valley shrouded in thick mist. The Buckstone was a rocking stone until 1885 when it was dislodged by “drunken revellers”. It was recovered bottom of the hill and is now firmly cemented in place.

Nearby Near Harkening Rock has a similarly impressive west-facing view from its top. The rock has a concave face and is named because gamekeepers standing in the lee of the rock would listen for poachers seeking deer. There are still a lot of deer in the area and we saw a group of about 20 near the Buckstone. From Near Harkening Rock it is a short walk to the Suckstone, the largest fallen rock in England estimated to weight about 14,000 tons.

A great morning out – 6km in glorious weather followed by a brief visit to the pub!

Lindors, winter walking week 2010

Winter walkers fron the Lindors
Winter walkers fron the Lindors

A group of walkers from Lindors Country House Hotel on a walk devised and led by a Forest of Dean and Wye Valley Tour Guide.

The Autumn sun shone throughout this all-day walk around the beautiful woodland of the central Forest of Dean. Several deer were spotted during the day. The walk was completed just as the sun dropped below the side of the Cannop Valley.

Symonds Yat Rock

The view from Symonds Yat Rock is one of the iconic images of the Wye Valley.

Symonds Yat Rock
Symonds Yat Rock

The Wye Valley A.O.N.B. ‘Overlooking the Wye” project has made this popular viewpoint accessible to many more people with a new wheelchair-friendly wooden walkway up to the viewpoint. Part of the wall has been replaced with a strong see-through grill (far right of photo)  that allows all to enjoy this view of the Wye sweeping past Coppet Hill.
Symonds Yat Rock was, and still is, one of the highlights of the grand Wye Valley tour. Wordsworth and Nelson would have glided by in a boat. Nowadays we enjoy it by foot or by coach.  A topograph shows directions and distances to the major landmarks.
Back in the car-park, near the toilet block, new interpretation boards show an impression of the Iron Age promontary hill fort that used to exist here. Look for the iron age ramparts as you walk up towards the log cabin. Another intrepretation board explains how the present day landscape was sculpted out by the river Wye.

The group above enjoying the view from Yat Rock are a taking part in a walk devised and led by a Forest of Dean and Wye Valley Tour Guide.

12 Easy Walks

The Forest of Dean and Wye Valley Tour Guides drew on their experience to design all 12 walks for this guide.

12 Easy Walks booklet
12 Easy Walks booklet

Above an article fron the Monmouthshire Beacon of 11/8/2010

The Forest of Dean and Wye Valley Tour Guides drew on their knowledge of the area and guiding experience to  design the  12 walks for this guide.