– 10 walks starting from the Castle, all fairly easy and of varying lengths. Read more.
– Angel Walk from the Angel Inn. Read more.
– Three Castles Walk (joining Grosmont, Skenfrith and White Castle) is 19 miles but can be done in three sections! Read more.
– Garway Hill – for an almost 360° vista and a view of the village. Drive for about 15/20 mins and then walk for about 20 mins.
– Ewyas Harold and Rowlestone – 7 miles moderate, circular route. Read more.
– The Skirrid (Ysgyrd Fawr), near Abergavenny is a little hard-going at first but the views are fantastic. Read more.
– The Black Hill or Cat’s Back, a walk of about five miles in the most mountainous part of Herefordshire. Bruce Chatwin used the Black Hill as the setting for his novel “On the Black Hill”. Read more.
– Monnow Valley Walk, a linear walk of 65 kms (40 miles) which follows the River Monnow Valley from Monmouth to below Hay Buff where it links up with the Offa’s Dyke Path. Read more.
– Offa’s Dyke Path. From Chepstow to Prestatyn, this 285 km (177 miles) goes through eight counties and crosses the border between England and Wales about 20 times. Part of it is near Pandy (about 7 miles). Read more.
– Wye Valley Walk, a 218 km (136 miles) walk from Chepstow to Plynlimon, along the River Wye. There are plenty of shorter local walks, both linear and circular, which link to the main walk, eight of which are in Monmouthshire. Read more.
– Brecon Beacons and Black Mountains. There is a variety of walking to be had, which includes walks ranging from strenuous mountain walking to gentle walks along a canal. There are also walks of special interest such as Wildlife Walks and also Easy Access Routes. Read more. (Click on the walk number for route etc.)
– We are on the 4 Castles Cycle Route. This 52 Km (32 mile) circular route has several challenging hill climbs and takes in the castles of Abergavenny, White Castle, Skenfrith and Grosmont. Read more.
– There is a pleasant ride along the Monmouthshire and Brecon Canal from Abergavenny. Read more.
– Hire bikes from www.deanforestcycles.co.uk or from www.pedalabikeaway.co.uk where there is a traffic free 11 mile Family Cycle Trail to explore some of the Forest of Dean (23 miles, 45 mins) or take your own bikes. Also mountain bike routes. 9am – 6pm in summer, 9pm on Thursdays.
– Forest of Dean and Wye Valley Cycling Routes: www.wyedeantourism.co.uk/cyc
– Newent Cycling Loop is a 28 mile route on quiet roads and lanes through the Gloucestershire countryside (start is about 24 miles, 38 mins from here). There are also two short cuts of 19 miles each. The routes are sign posted and can be ridden in either a clockwise or anticlockwise direction. Map.
– Peregrine Path (start is 13 miles, 25 mins from here). A great 5 – 8 mile ride (or walk!) that straddles the Wales/England border along the River Wye from Monmouth to Symonds Yat or Goodrich. Map.
WATER SPORTS – Canoe and Kayak hire and instruction
www.wye-pursuits.co.uk Kerne Bridge nr Ross-on-Wye. HR9 5QX. (18 miles, 32 miles)
www.wyedean.co.uk Symonds Yat East. HR9 6JL. (18 miles 35mins)
www.monmouthcanoe.co.uk Old Dixton Road, Monmouth. NP25 3DP. (14 miles, 25 mins)
www.way2goadventures.co.uk Various starting points arranged.
www.riverwyecanoehire.com Ross-on-Wye Sports Centre. HR9 5JA. (15 miles, 25 mins)
www.thecanoehire.co.uk Symonds Yat West, HR9 6 BJ. (17 miles, 30 mins)
www.canoethewye.co.uk Paddocks Hotel, Symonds Yat West, HR9 6BL. (17miles, 32 mins)
MONNOW EVENTS Little Corras, Kentchurch, HR2 0DA. (3 miles, 10 mins) 01981 240800. Various activities such as Zorbing, Quads, 4×4, Go Karts, Clay Pigeon Shooting, Paintball, Children’s Parties. Minimum numbers required for certain activities.
SUMMIT MOUNTAINEERING The Views, Ashes Lane, Symonds Yat West, HR9 6BW. (17 miles, 32 mins) Instruction in Walking, Scrambling and Climbing in the Brecon Beacons and the Wye Valley. Courses of 1-5 days.
www.summitmountaineering.com 07896 974557.
CRAGFIT Unit 3 Rassau Industrial Estate, Near Ebbw Vale, NP23 5SD (24 miles, 41 mins) Indoor bouldering (rock climbing without ropes, usually at low levels and with crash mats) £7.50 adult, £6.50 child. Tuition available. www.cragfit.co.uk 01495 305343.
GO APE! FOREST OF DEAN Mallards Pike Lake, Park End, Lydney, GL15 4HD. (A48 to Blakeney and then follow signs to Go Ape! Tree-top adventure and Forest Segways. Book online: www.goape.co.uk
FOREST OF DEAN ADVENTURE: Adventure Ropes (£20 pp) and Archery Bracelands Drive, Christchurch, nr Coleford, GL16 7NN. (19 miles, 40 mins) One hour sessions.
Climbing Tower and Archery – Beechenhurst, Speech House Road, Coleford, GL16 7EG (20 miles, 50 mins) 40 ft purpose built climbing tower. No min or max age. Open to October – 12.30 weekends, bank holidays and school holidays. Call 01594 821003 to book. www.forestofdeanadventure.co.uk
CLEARWELL CAVES Nr Coleford, Forest of Dean, GL16 8JR (20 miles, 40 mins) 1½ miles south of Coleford. Open until 2nd Nov 10am-5pm and then again 28 Nov – 24 Dec for Christmas Fantasy. Atmospheric natural caves mined for iron minerals. Gift shop and cafe. Adults £7.00. children £5.00 www.clearwellcaves.com 01594 832535.
PERRYGROVE RAILWAY Perrygrove Road, Coleford, GL16 8QB (20 miles, 40 mins). ½ mile south of Coleford. ¾ mile track through farmland and woods. Ride the steam train as many times as you like. Also Treehouses, Treasure Hunt and Indoor Village. Open every weekend throughout the year and daily in local school holidays. Adult £7.00, Child £5.65. www.perrygrove.co.uk 01594 834991.
PUZZLE WOOD Perrygrove Road, Coleford, GL16 8QB (20miles, 40 mins) Puzzlewood is a popular TV and film location (eg Dr Who, Merlin, Atlantis) where you can wander along a mile of meandering pathways through the gulleys and twisted roots of the yew trees. Check website to see if closed for filming. Adults £6.50, Children £5.50. Cafe. www.puzzlewood.net
WYE VALLEY BUTTERFLY ZOO Symonds Yat West nr Ross-on-Wye, HR9 6DA (16 miles, 25mins). Also on the same site aMazing Hedge Puzzle, Miniature Golf and Warfare Lazer Ops. Complicated pricing system – check website:
CANTREF South of Brecon, LD3 8LR (32miles, 50 mins). Adventure park mostly for younger children, tractor rides, agility trail, play areas, sledge ride, indoor adventure, pig racing, paddle boats, water wars, swamp ride, live shows and on-site horse riding centre. Open 10.30am – 5.00pm, weekends only in winter months. Adults £6.50, Children £6.50, includes everything except pony rides and excavator. www.cantref.com 01874 665223.
Golden Valley Llamas, Old King Street Farm, Ewyas Harold, HR2 0HB. (4 miles, 10 mins). 01981 240208. On a half day llama trek you will learn about llamas, help call in, halter, groom and walk your llama through the village and up onto Ewyas Harold Common. £45 adults, £30 children. www.oldkingstreetfarm.co.uk
MEET WELSH ALPACAS
Amazing Alpacas, Little Goytre Cottage, Earlswood, near Usk, NP16 6AT. (33 miles, 45 mins) Visit the farm and even consider keeping alpacas yourself! To make a booking ring 01291 650655. www.amazingalpacas.co.uk
The Goat Company, Darren Farm, Llanveynoe, near Longtown, HR2 0NG (16 miles, 30mins – the last section is up in the Black Mountains along a single track road with fantastic views. You may only see the goats in the fields but they do look really lovely! You then have the chance to buy mohair socks, scarves, throws etc. Ring beforehand 01873 860240 www.thegoatcompany.co.uk
TAURUS CRAFTS, The Old Park, Lydney, nr Chepstow, GL15 6BU (26 miles, 50 mins) Artisan businesses, workshops, various exhibitions and events, cafe. Good reviews on Trip Advisor. www.tauruscrafts.co.uk 01594 844841.
THE DEAN HERITAGE CENTRE, Camp Mill, Soudley, GL14 2UB (28 miles, 50 mins) With five acres to explore, the centre has galleries, a reconstructed forester’s cottage, Victorian school room, animals, adventure playground, cafe etc. Open daily 10am-5pm summer and 10am – 4pm winter. From £7.20 adults and £5.40 children. www.deanheritagecentre.com 01594 822170.
DEAN FOREST RAILWAY, Norchard, Lydney, GL15 4ET (25 miles, 50 mins) 4½ mile line. Steam, diesel, days out with Thomas etc. www.dfr.co.uk 01594 845840.
SYMONDS YAT EAST Follow brown signs from the A40 between Monmouth and Ross-on-Wye. HR9 6JL (18 miles, 35 mins). A riverside hamlet on the east bank of the River Wye, with a dramatic backdrop of a steep sided wooded gorge and limestone cliffs. Spectacular scenery and fantastic view from Symonds Yat Rock where you might spot Peregrine Falcons, go on a river cruise or the ancient hand ferry, walk through the forest or along the river, hire a canoe or kayak, try the Saracens Head Inn or one of the other pubs or cafes. Read more.
CIDER AND PERRY
Raglan Cider Mill, Tynewydd Farm, Llanarth, NP15 2LU (10miles, 22mins) Open throughout the year but best to call in advance. www.raglancidermill.com 01600 780258.
Ty Gwyn Cider, Pen y Lan Farm, Pontrilas, HR2 0DL (3.6 miles, 10 mins) 07976 277268. Open from 10–6 on Wednesday to Saturday and from 11–5 on Sunday and Bank Holidays. www.tygwyncider.co.uk
Apple County Cider Company, Whitehouse Farm, Newcastle, NP25 5NS (5.2 miles, 10 mins) Check opening times on website. www.applecountycider.co.uk 01600 750835
Ancre Hill Vineyard, Rockfield Road, Monmouth, NP25 5HS (10 miles, 25mins) Closed during the winter. Vineyard tours and tasting (charge). Wine for sale by the bottle or by the case. www.ancrehillestates.co.uk
Parva Farm Vineyard next to Wye Valley Hotel car park, Tintern, NP16 6SQ. (20miles, 40mins) Open Nov-Mar: 11.30am-4pm, Apr-Oct: 1pm-5.30pm every day except Wednesdays. Guided tour £9 (2½ hrs) or self-guided £1:50. Just turn up for either. www.parvafarm.com
White Castle Vineyard, Llanvetherine, NP7 8RA. (6 miles, 15mins). Cellar Door open Friday, Saturday, Sunday and Bank Holidays, 10am-5pm. Guided tours at 3pm on these days (or Mon-Thurs, by prior arrangement) – £12 including tastings, booking advisable 01873 821443. http://www.whitecastlevineyard.com
The Sugarloaf Vineyards, Dummar Farm, 1 mile from Abergavenny on the A40, Brecon Road, NP7 7LA. (13.5 miles, 30mins). Open March 11th – October 31st: Closed Mondays except for bank holidays, Tuesday – Friday 11.00am-5pm, Saturday 11.00am- 6.00pm and Sunday 12-5pm. Self-guided tours no need to book. Coffee shop.
Abbey Dore Court Gardens, HR2 0AD. (5½ miles, 12 mins) Open 23 March – September: Thursday, Friday, Saturday, Sunday and bank holidays; 11am – 5pm. Admission £5.00. Six acres with formal, wild and river areas. Herbaceous plants for sale. Stables Tea-room. 01981 240419 www.abbeydorecourt.co.uk
Penpergwm Lodge Gardens, Abergavenny, NP7 9AS. (16 miles, 22 mins) Open to visiting groups only by prior appointment. Catriona Boyle has developed the garden over the last 30 years, based on the structure created when the house was built in Edwardian times. 01873 840208. www.penplants.com
Hampton Court Castle and Gardens, Hope-Under-Dinmore, north of Hereford, HR6 0PN. (23.6 miles, 45 mins) Gardens are open 8th April – 31st October daily from 10.30am – 5pm. Adults £ 8.50, Children £4.75. (Combined with a tour of the castle: Adults £13.00, Children £7.25. Tours at 11.30, 12.30, 2pm and 3pm on most days). Original Victorian garden walls enclose flower gardens divided by canals and island pavilions. The kitchen garden is an ornamental garden of fruit and vegetables. It is managed organically, supplying produce to the Orangery Cafe for its seasonal menu. Visit the Garden Bothy Shop for plants and gifts. 01568 797777. www.hamptoncourt.org.uk
Dyffryn Gardens, St Nicholas, Vale of Glamorgan, CF5 6SU. (61 miles, 1hr 15 mins) Good example of Edwardian garden design, covering more than 55 acres. Open daily. Adult from £8.60, child £4.30. Tea-room and gift shop. 02920 593328
The Weir Gardens, Swainshill, Hereford, HR4 7QF. (18½ miles, 28 mins) Bordered by the River Wye. Circular walk on website. Walled garden. Plant Sales. Cafe. Adult from £6.43, child from £3.15. 01981 590509.
Kentchurch Court and Gardens, Kentchurch, HR2 0DB. (1.8 miles, 7 mins) Deer park, walled and vegetable garden, plants for sale. House tours by appointment only. Gardens open Good Friday until 30th September, 11am – 5pm, closed Mondays, £5. 01981 240228. www.kentchurchcourt.co.uk
Literary. May/June. www.hayfestival.com
Monmouth Food Festival
Biannual. Caldicot Castle. May/June and October.
Abergavenny Food Festival
Three Choirs Festival
Hereford/Gloucester/Worcester. July. www.3choirs.org
Ledbury Poetry Festival
Music over about nine days. July/August. www.monmouthfestival.co.uk
Castell Roc Festival
Chepstow. Music. August/September. www.castellroc.co.uk
Please check websites for up-to-date information.