The Modern Antiquarian. Stone Circles, Ancient Sites, Neolithic Monuments, Ancient Monuments, Prehistoric Sites, Megalithic MysteriesThe Modern Antiquarian

Symonds Yat



A summer's day revisit (11 June 2021). Fancying a trip to the Wye Valley and realising it's been a decade since my previous visit, this seemed like a good place to combine with a couple of quiet hills on the border between Herefordshire and Gloucestershire.

The bus drops me at Goodrich, and a steep climb takes me up Coppet Hill from where I can survey most of western Herefordshire, across to the Black Moutains in the west and even as far north as Titterstone Clee in Shropshire. Everything is beautifully green and lush. A superb start to the day.

From here I can also see The Queen Stone, which I've never visited but which I really should. The excellent aerial view unfortunately also reveals that the farmer is busily spraying the crop in the stone's field today, which puts paid to that idea. Instead, after a pleasant wander along the ridge to take in the excellent views, I drop down to the valley and cross the river over Huntsham Bridge (not a very nice road for pedestrians).

A footpath runs southeast along the banks of the beautiful Wye, through lush grasses, to the bottom of Huntsham Hill. From the riverside there's a fine view up to the sheer cliffs of the hillfort and Yat Rock. The towering location of the fort is very imposing, clearly no-one would be attempting any kind of attack from the river.

Leaving the river bank through a short stretch of chest-high nettles (shorts seemed like such a good idea earlier), I climb up through Elliot's Woods to the top of the hill, before heading to Yat Rock for the stupendously picturesque view of the Wye and back towards Coppet Hill.

A quick cup of tea at the cafe, and it's into the trees for a revisit to the fort. The last time I came was September, it was really quite overgrown but just starting to die back. Unsurprisingly, June is just as bad in this height of the growing season. The western ends of the ramparts are a choked tangle of briars, hazel and nettles. Luckily, the tall tree cover is thicker to the east, so the shin and ankle shredding undergrowth is less deep and difficult to get through.

I'd forgotten just how impressive the inner banks and ditches are, the earthwork standing well over my head from the ditch. A winter or spring visit would almost certainly be better to reveal more, but it's very pleasant here in the trees and no-one else seems inclined to leave the paths and roads.

After exploring as much as the vegetation allows, I head off along quiet footpaths, to catch a bus from English Bicknor. It's been a lovely revisit to this scenic part of the Wye Valley, and definitely worth approaching the fort from below to truly appreciate its daunting location.
thesweetcheat Posted by thesweetcheat
6th March 2022ce
Edited 8th May 2022ce

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