Blossoms and beeches on the riverbank

On Earth Day, we are reminded to consider the environment and take a moment to look at how we can live a more sustainable life, and come together to take action in many ways, such as planting trees, cleaning up litter, recycling and using less food and plastic. We are also encouraged to live a healthier lifestyle and look at transport alternatives, with many people changing to electric cars and getting outdoors and cycling or walking more.

Ross-on-Wye, a Conservation Area, sits within a designated Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty and is also a Site of Special Scientific Interest, focusing much of its attention on developing the environment and building on its wildlife eco-credentials. In the last three years, Ross-on-Wye Town Council has planted over 250 trees along the whole length of its riverside in a bid to support the banks following increased flooding in the area. The tree planting projects – carefully planned with consideration given to the species and location of the trees to ensure they are suitable for the specified location – also ensure a more sustainable eco-system, supporting the natural habitat, wildlife and securing a future for tourism.

The Ross-on-Wye Linear Arboretum spans the entire length of the Rope Walk and Long Acre – including Caroline Symonds Gardens – and is a magical display of both native and non-native trees, including blossoms, beeches, birches, maples, monkey puzzles and mountain ash to name but a few.

If you follow the route along the river bank from Wilton Bridge, you will see a diverse range of trees producing pretty displays of white flowers or even fruit. Look out for the Snowy Mespilus (Amelanchier Canadensis), a small deciduous tree; the Small Leaved Lime (Tilia Cordata) which bears clusters of small, fragrant, creamy-white flowers in summer and further along, the pretty Strawberry Tree (Arbutus Unedo) bearing strawberry-like red fruits in autumn.

A Honey Locust ‘Sunburst’ (Gleditsia triacanthos) tree sits on the first bend in the river – a small deciduous tree with small leaflets, golden-yellow in early summer, turning greener as the weather heats up.

Arriving at the canoe launch, the path leading down to the river from Wye Street is flanked by a stunning display of cherry blossoms (Prunus Amanogawa) – although already producing beautiful pink clusters, once established in another few years’ time, they will provide an even more spectacular pink arbour as you walk through them towards the riverbank.

If you fancy a break, stop off for a coffee, glass of wine or a bite to eat at The Pavilion, The Hope & Anchor‘s restaurant and bar with seating outside and riverside views. The main pub is due to open in spring 2022 and will have 12 ensuite bedrooms, the perfect holiday location for travellers looking for a walking holiday combined with the buzz of a market town a few minutes’ walk away.

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The Linear Arboretum continues after The Hope & Anchor onto the Rope Walk meadow – you can either follow the path that hugs the river or you can start on the opposite side of the green next to the walled path. Either way, there is a huge variety of trees including red oak, mountain ash, copper beech, cedars, cyprus, pine, rowan and crab apple. Next to the children’s play area, you’ll spot another beautiful spring blossom, a Royal Burgundy Cherry (Prunus Serulata) which shows off its double-pink clusters in mid-spring.

Details of the Linear Arboretum walks and maps of the area can be downloaded here:

Map 1: Long Acre

Map 2: Rope Walk

Finally, if you fancy visiting for the Ross-on-Wye Walking Festival – 23-25 September 2022 – why not book onto the ‘Birds of the Ross Riverside‘ walk which takes you along the banks of the River Wye, through the arboretum for some bird watching (and if you’re lucky you may even spot our much photographed resident kingfisher!).