The Wye Valley Walk is one of Britain's valued long-distance footpaths. It runs close to the Welsh-English border, sometimes in one country, sometimes in the other. The full official route begins at Ryader and takes about 10 days. This version is designed to be walked in a single week's holiday (including both weekends) starting from Hay-on-Wye.
- Hay-on-Wye to Middlewood
- Middlewood to Sugwas Pool
- Sugwas Pool to Hereford
- Hereford to Fownhope via Nupend
- Fownhope circular walk via Capler Camp
- Capler Camp to Ross-on-Wye
- Ross-on-Wye to Goodrich
- Goodrich circular walk via Symonds Yat
- Symonds Yat to Redbrook Bridge
- Redbrook Bridge to Chepstow
Start from the Hay side of the Wye Bridge. Go down steps from the bridge towards the river and turn right onto the path, walking down river. Turn right onto Hay Road, past a building with wrought iron gates (Wyeford Road). Cross a road, go up steps and through a gate to pick up a footpath, signposted to Black Lion Green.
Go through a gate beside a car park and out onto a lane beside some cottages. Walk up as far as a white cottage (No. 4) and take a hairpin bend left to walk down behind the cottages and cross a footbridge over a stream (signposted to Potters Lane). Go up a bank and head directly across a field, aiming just to the right of 3 prominent trees (the stile is hidden below the general level of the field). Drop down to cross the stile, then cross a stone slab bridge over a small stream.
Go up a bank and straight across the field to another stile; cross the stile and walk straight ahead on a road. When the road bends right continue straight ahead on a footpath and over a stile. Cross the field to another stile beside a May tree, then cross the next field to another stile with a copse nearby (on the right). Veer slightly right, skirting a dog-leg bend in the field boundary but keeping more-or-less on the level to the next stile in the left hand corner of the field.
Head straight across to another stile, which seems to bisect a line of trees (when you get there the trees are actually behind it). Head diagonally right across the next field, where the stile brings you in sight of a clubhouse. Follow the field edge to the next stile in the right hand corner. Notice a tower, which comes into view on the right from time to time (part of The Moor). Cross the next stile and go over a plank bridge and onwards to a stile, which takes you into Summerhill Golf Course. Head slightly to the right, towards a green-and-yellow post, then picking up the footpath signs beside a dried-up pool. The Wye Valley Walk continues along the bottom edge of the golf course alongside woodland. Further glimpses of The Moor's tower can be seen to the right.
Cross a stile at the eastern end of the golf course and head diagonally across a field towards Parish Wood. Aim for the top corner of the field and then drop down to the Hardwick Brook, which you cross by means of a narrow footbridge.
Continue along a broad track to a gate and a stile, then carry on straight ahead. At the next stile the Hardwick Brook turns away from the path. Cross the stile and follow a track round and over another stile to a farm. Cross a stile and turn left onto a road opposite the farm. After 100 yards turn right onto a footpath/farm track. Head up the hill (ignoring the tempting footpath sign beside a house on the right) and continue to the top of the field and another stile. Go through the next field, aiming to the right of some houses. Cross a stile to walk between hedgerows beside the houses and out to a road junction. Take the road straight ahead in the direction of Clifford and Whitney-on-Wye. After about 50 yards cross (or go round) a green to take the road on the right, passing in front of an old chapel.
Follow the road to the village of Clifford, then turn left at the village green to pick up the Wye Valley Walk signs pointing the way to a footpath beside a house. Walk straight across a field to a stile, then follow the right hand edge of the next field down to a footbridge crossing a brook. Continue along the right hand edge of another field, then cross a stile and turn right onto a road. Go past "The Farm" and, just before a stone bridge, turn right to pick up a broad path following an old railway route.
Go through a gate and continue on the railway path to where a sweeping bend of the River Wye comes into view on the left. Cross a stile and follow a permissive route along a field edge parallel to the old railway. Cross another stile and continue along the permissive route, which heads diagonally left to a gate leading to a bridle path through woodland. The path now runs parallel to the River Wye. Walk to the end of the woodland and pass through a gate, with a superb view of the river to the left.
Go through another gate and continue on the bridleway uphill, passing Locksters Pool on the left. Go up through a gate and veer left. Cross a field, go through a gate and left onto as road (just below Upper Castleton Farm). Notice an imposing house (Old Castleton House) on the right just before a right hand bend; when the road next bends left, opposite the driveway to the house, turn left over a stile to pick up the footpath again.
Follow the left hand edge of the field, heading towards woodland. Pass through a gateway and cross the next field to a stile in the left hand corner. Follow a grassy track right beside a wooden fence. The track becomes a gravel driver passing a large and well-kept garden and leading down to a road.
Turn left onto the road and cross a bridge, then follow the road up and round towards Clock Mills. There is accommodation in Clock Mills and at Middlewood (about 500 yards from the route, via a road to the right).
The Wye Valley Walk is not a mountain route, but it includes some stiff climbs and several sections that can be very muddy. The week-long walk should not be attempted without proper walking boots and wet weather gear. Inexperienced walkers may find some sections too long.
Hay-on-Wye is famous for its annual book fair, but bookshops and street-side bookstalls are a feature throughout the year. It also has a castle and a number of venerable buildings and a busy market.
The Moor - This tower, which overlooks Summerhill Golf Course is the remnant of a once impressive house and garden. Only the walled garden and this tower now remain.