Over the winter months, it’s a great time to get outdoors in the fresh air and enjoy the scenery with the promise of a delicious hot meal at the end of it or en route to keep you going. Check out our top three favourite walks below for short, medium and long rambles in and around Ross-on-Wye with a selection of pubs and inns where you can get cosy and enjoy a delicious dinner, roaring log fire and a well earned pint or glass of wine. All the pubs are dog-friendly so your four legged family member can happily accompany you along the way.
1. The Ross River Ale Trail
- Length: short – 1.5 miles and ca 45-60 minutes
- Difficulty: easy – an uphill walk for 5 minutes and then an easy decline to finish
- Description: “A riverside walk with good beer and scenic views to make an idyllic Ale Trail“
- Start / end point: Wilton Road Car Park (if driving) – or start at The Royal if you’re already in town
- Head up the hill from Wilton Road car park and take a right turn up towards The Royal, the town’s most iconic hostelry dating back to 1833 – a large white Victorian building visible from most of the main routes leading into the town. The hotel has a lovely bar and restaurant plus outside decking, perfect for summer drinks or in winter, enjoy a hot meal from the extensive menu or a Sunday roast next to the open log fire in the main bar area.
- The next point on the map is The King’s Head Hotel on the High Street – dating back to the 1600s. This is definitely worth a stop off if only to sample the pub’s own signature ales, brewed onsite in their microbrewery at the Corn Exchange. Their roasts are to die for and their award winning restaurant The Conservatory is definitely worth a visit.
- Heading out of the pub, turn right, and a two minute walk will bring you to the Man of Ross Inn, built in 1847. If you time your walk to coincide with a sunset, pitch up at one of their outside tables and watch the sun go down before heading off for your final part of your walk.
- A gentle amble down hill from the pub will take you to the Thomas Blake Memorial Gardens, a pretty terrace of flowers and herbs, maintained by local volunteers and a new accessible Sensory Garden at the very bottom. Here, you’ll reach The Hope and Anchor which serves food all day, either inside in the bar with its cosy wood burner, or outside on the tables adjacent to the river.
- Leaving the The Hope and Anchor, head left along the Long Acre riverbank, with the river to your right, towards Wilton Bridge in the distance. Just beyond the bridge, cross over the road and you’ll find The White Lion, a lovely old pub, and former gaol, on the opposite side of the Wye dating back to the 1600s. They have a great lunch and dinner menu that you can enjoy either indoors or in the beer garden, plus a wide range of ales, ciders, wines and spirits. If you parked in Wilton car park, it’s just a few minutes’ walk along the main road to complete the loop.
2. Mills, hills & manors
- Length: moderate – 5.5 miles and ca 4 hours with several steep climbs
- Description: “A linear walk between Kerne Bridge and Ross-on-Wye through woodlands, tracks and pathways, climbing to a hill fort with views of Goodrich Castle and the Wye Valley.”
- Start / end point: if staying in Ross, take the #34 bus to Kerne Bridge from Cantilupe Road
- Map and details: click here
- Note: As this is a linear walk, part of the Wye Valley Walk, you can start either from Ross or Kerne Bridge and get a bus in either direction to/from Cantilupe Road but it’s probably better to bus it to Kerne Bridge and make your way back to town. If you time your walk to start at lunch time, the Inn on the Wye at Kerne Bridge serves an excellent Sunday roast on the weekend in their cosy bar with log burner so this is a great post-lunch ramble taking in stunning scenery.
- Kerne Bridge: Starting at the Inn on the Wye or from the bus stop, with Kerne Bridge behind you, head towards Bishopswood Village hall where you’ll find a gate leading to the car park. Through the gate turn left along the end of the car park.
- Wye Valley Railway: Cross over the road and walk up the lane opposite the bus shelter and after 15 yards, take a left turn between the houses. Continuing up the drive, you’ll then climb some steps which lead to another track. Bear right and cross another drive and head straight up along a hedge lined path until you reach the road – bear left and continue walking along the lane between the houses. At the crossroads, turn left and start your descent towards Cherry Tree Cottage on the right. Just before meeting the road turn right and head back uphill following a concrete drive.
- Walford Sawmill: Continue along the drive heading into the woods and keep walking over the junction, crossing another drive leading to a path which eventually reaches Bull’s Hill, the home of the Wythall Estate Vineyard. At Spring Herne, turn left and then right on a drive, passing Linden Lea, taking a steep descent towards more steps and three stiles. You’ll start another ascent which leads onto a road – cross over and follow the bridleway, following the track to the right of Meadow House until you reach a junction where you then take the left turn downhill. Follow the track, crossing a meadow and heading into woodland where the path eventually reaches Coughton.
- Coughton: Continue left along the road towards Mill House and cross the road heading through a gap next to a gate with farm buildings on the right and head straight on along a path passing three more gates. Passing through a field, you’ll reach Chase Wood where the path continues to rise quite steeply until it reaches a junction. A final challenging climb will take you through Chase Wood to the Iron Age hillfort.
- Chase Wood Hillfort: Once you reach this point, you can enjoy the descent which has fantastic views over Ross. The track heads down through woodland, passing straight through the forestry barrier, Hill Farm to the right and eventually reaching Merrivale Wood. Keep right at the fork, passing through another gate and carry on until you reach an oak tree. Turning left, passing two gates, you’ll see Ross-on-Wye and St Mary’s Church spire in the distance – in the next field, bear left and go through a series of kissing gates in the left hand corner which leads to Alton Court.
- Ross-on-Wye: Continue along Penyard Lane which joins Alton Street – turn left and walk ahead until you turn right into Chase Road cross Gloucester Road and then turn right into Cantilupe Road where you can pick up a bus home – or stop off for a well deserved pint at The Tap House at the end of Cantilupe Road on Millpond Street (they do a fabulous Sunday lunch from 12pm-4pm) or grab a bite to eat at one of the many town centre restaurants or cafés.
3. Harewood End to Hoarwithy
- Length: moderate – 4.5 mile loop and 3-4 hours
- Description: “An easy walk of paths, tracks and quiet country lanes with only a few stiles. Take in the interesting Italianate church at Hoarwithy.”
- Start / end point: The Harewood End Inn on the A49
- Starting at The Harewood End pub, take the bridle path that runs alongside it and after passing a couple of garages it becomes a sunken tree lined path until you emerge from the trees through a gate and pick up a farm track in the same direction towards Woodlands Farm.
- Walk between the farm buildings (ignoring the path to the right) and pick up the path after a gate. Follow the track along the edge of the field through another gate. Keep the fence on your left and walk down the hill towards Redbrook Farm emerging onto the farm access road. Turn right and walk down to the Hoarwithy road. Remember this point for the return journey. Follow the road down the hill to Hoarwithy and take some time to explore the fine church. Retrace your steps back up the road to where you joined it earlier.
- Take the left-hand track that runs parallel with the road, passing a cottage and over a stile into a meadow. Follow the path keeping to the right of the meadow until you pass through a kissing gate, cross a farm track and through another kissing gate. Keep to the top of the field and pass through yet another kissing gate. Pick up a bridle path that joins a farm track coming in on your right and walk down to the road.
- Turn right and follow the road for three quarters of a mile until you see a marked path and stile to your right, just before a small wood. Over the stile and into a field, walk around the left-hand edge until you come to another stile. The path then goes through a small grove of young trees before emerging out onto another field. Pick out the path across the crops in the same direction as the woodland path and pass through another small wood and then you emerge on the A49 about 100 yards from the Harewood End Inn.
For more details of walking in and around Ross-on-Wye, visit https://walkinginross.co.uk.