Hike, run, canoe, climb or ride through one of England’s most entertaining outdoor adventure spots.
Why: Few places can pack in as much outdoor adventure in as little space as Symonds Yat. Straddling the River Wye, this outdoor playground offers canoeing and kayaking on the river, climbing on steep limestone cliffs, walking, a tough road cycle hill climb, and miles of mountain biking in the neighbouring Forest of Dean.
The viewpoint from the top is one of the finest in the entire Wye Valley, particularly when autumn colours sweep across the forest.
Canoe here: Whether you head upstream or down, for half a day or a long weekend, canoeing and kayaking along the River Wye is a fabulous experience.
The river is wide and generally calm, although about a mile downstream of Symonds Yat there is a brief stretch of Grade 2 rapids. You can hire a two-person Canadian canoe in Symonds Yat for £35.00 from, riverwyecanoehire.com
Climb here: The limestone gorge at Symonds Yat makes for one of the most scenic climbing destinations in the country, and with more than 400 routes ranging from 10m to 30m, including a pinnacle, there’s huge variety.
If you’re new to climbing, sign up with a group and instructor at wye-pursuits.co.uk. For those who prefer the low life to the high life, there’s also an extensive cave network to explore for potholers.
Run here: Broad tracks, thick forest and steep inclines make this a potential trail running heaven. If you don’t want to carry a map, just follow one of the waymarked walking routes that pass by Symonds Yat – the Highmeadow Trail has 8 and 11-mile circular options, or link the waymarked Campsite Trail with the Campsite cycle link for a 5.5-mile route – see tinyurl.com/okh3jc2
Cycle here: Get ready to sweat and struggle on the tough climb to the top of Symonds Yat, with the gradient touching 17 percent in places and 20 percent near the top.
Mountain bike here: There are fire trails and tracks through the woods around Symonds Yat, but it’s such a popular walking destination that mountain bikers are better advised to take advantage of the first class trails in the nearby Forest of Dean.
Our choice? The 7-mile blue and red graded Verderers’ Trail, ideal for intermediate and experienced bikers, tinyurl.com/ptgblvs.
Maps: Navigate your way around with Ordnance Survey Explorer OL14, Wye valley & Forest of Dean, or Landranger 162 Gloucester and Forest of Dean.
Stay here: Cheap sleeps can be found at YhA Wye Valley, close to Symonds Yat, where beds cost from £15 per night, yha.org.uk.
Camping at Doward Park in Symonds Yat West costs from £14 per pitch for two people, dowardpark.co.uk. For your own room with a solid roof, try Garth Cottage, B&B from £35pp/pn for two-night stays, garthcottagesymondsyat.com, or the Saracen’s Head Inn, where double rooms cost from £85 per night B&B: saracenheadinn.co.uk