The summer solstice, or midsummer, is upon us in the Northern Hemisphere and for many, is a celebration of nature, outdoors and embracing the time of year where the sun reaches its highest point making 21 June the longest day of the year.
People in different regions and countries celebrate the solstice in different ways including an early morning walk to witness the sunrise for luck and prosperity, lighting bonfires as a symbol of purification and the ‘triumph of light over darkness’, heading out into nature with family and friends to enjoy the outdoors and sunshine or taking part in wellbeing and mindful activities such as walking, yoga and meditation.
In the UK, people traditionally gather at Glastonbury’s Stonehenge every year to witness the beauty of the early morning sunrise and to connect with nature (photo: Wiltshire Live). The world-famous circle of ancient stone attracts thousands of people including a host of druids and pagans to celebrate the Summer Solstice, congregating to witness the stunning views of the sunrise over the sacred site.
Across Herefordshire, there are several planned activities around midsummer include pilates and wild swimming at Kenchester Water Gardens, a Sound Bath at Hellens Manor, a Summer Solstice Evening including yoga at The Energy Centre in Hereford plus lots of outdoor pursuits including Run the Wye‘s Summer Solstice launch event taking place at De Koffie Pot in Hereford to raise awareness of the beauty of the River Wye.
The Herefordshire Walking Festival which runs from 17th to 25th June has five walks taking place on the 21 June including the Monk’s Trod (a tour of churches and Roman sites), Woods & Reserves in the West Wye and The Hills & Valleys of Bromyard. The final walks during the week take you through stunning landscapes including Kilpeck, Garway Hill, Dinedor Ridge and English Bicknor – you can book tickets online here.
The summer solstice also coincides with National Picnic Week (also 17th to 25th June) which is celebrated across the UK and encourages people to get outdoors, connect with nature and enjoy time with friends and family. The National Garden Scheme lists a whole host of stunning gardens where you can pack your picnic baskets and head out for an opportunity to dine al fresco. The closest Open Gardens to Ross-on-Wye this week are 20 miles away and include Baileau in Abergavenny, a mature cottage style garden around an ancient farmhouse (open Sunday 25 June) and Rest Harrow in Malvern, with its 5 acre wildflower meadow, woodland and stunning views of Malvern Hills (open Saturday 24 & Sunday 25 June). Check the NGS’s website for all gardens in the area as the opening times vary across the county.
For those of you who enjoy some quiet time to recharge, International Yoga Day also coincides with the summer solstice and there are lots of yoga teachers locally who offer courses or one-off sessions to help you focus on your own personal wellbeing. EnerG Ross-on-Wye Yoga with Helen is running a summer solstice Ashtanga yoga class at Sellack Village Hall in the evening plus a Summer Solstice Reset Workshop on Sunday 25 June. The Larruperz Centre holds regular yoga sessions on every week day with yogis Ingela and Penny including revati, kundalini, ashtanga, hatha and vinyasa flow – all levels are welcome and you can book directly with them here.
Plantation Villa at Ruxton Hall, just 6 miles from Ross-on-Wye, promises peace and tranquility away from your hectic lifestyle. Located on a 14-acre farmland with a beautiful rustic 17th century farmhouse, you’ll find a variety of idyllic wildflower, meadow and woodland gardens leading to the beautiful River Wye. With their other retreat located in Sri Lanka, they have access to the best yogis, instructors and wellbeing practitioners and they believe in the connection between the mind and body offering treatments such as Ayurveda, yoga, workshops, talks, cooking lessons, meditation and bird watching. Email firstname.lastname@example.org for details.
If paddleboarding, or SUP, is something you’d like to try, Paddleboarding Adventures run yoga classes along the River Wye where you can find your inner peace (and hopefully balance), taking in the wildlife and beautiful surroundings. They have bases in Ross-on-Wye and also the Forest of Dean at Mallard’s Pike – email email@example.com for further details.
For the ultimate deep relaxation and wellbeing experience, why not head to the Forest of Dean and spend an hour or two in a floatation tank? Float in the Forest, just 15 miles from Ross-on-Wye, is a relaxation therapy where you can shut yourself off from the world and immerse yourself in a giant bathtub, letting your stresses melt away. The water is saturated with Epsom salts allowing your muscles to completely relax and your mind to drift off leaving you feel refreshed and rejuvenated. Book in advance by calling 01594 715215 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
For more information on getting outdoors and activities in and around Ross-on-Wye, visit our website here.