The River Wye was recently voted the public’s favourite river in Wales and England. It was described by voters as “magical and timeless”, “a haven for wildlife” and a place “to get lost and slow down”. The award has been organised by the ‘Our Rivers Campaign’ to celebrate the nations' rivers and highlight threats to wildlife.
The River Wye is 156 miles (251 km) long and the 5th longest river in the UK. The source is at Plynlimon in the Cambrian Mountains, Mid Wales and it flows through many attractive towns and villages in Mid Wales and the Wye Valley, an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty.
Here’s a sample 3-day itinerary taking in towns and villages along or near the River Wye.
Start your tour in Rhayader, the oldest town in Mid Wales which lies beside the River Wye. Learn about the history of the town by walking the town trail from Smithfield Market - downloadable map.
The walk takes about an hour at a leisurely pace, allowing time to stop and look.
Welsh Royal Crystal is Wales’ only commercial maker of hand-made Welsh Crystal. Centuries of handcrafting skills are used in the glass making workshops and all crystal pieces are individually blown and hand cut. Visitors can see the craftsmen at work, can purchase products in the shop and enjoy a cup of tea in the café. Note that glass blowing demonstrations are only available on certain days.
You’ll find Gigrin Farm, the Red Kite Feeding Station in Rhayader. The beautiful Red Kite is one of the UK’s most splendid bird of prey. Visitors can enjoy interactive displays, unique footage of birds of prey and a two-mile nature trail. Wild Red Kites are fed here every day – 2pm in the winter and 3pm in the Summer and the farm opens at 1pm daily.
Approx. distance: 12 miles / 19.3 kms
Approx. driving time: 20 mins
Overnight Suggestion: Llandrindod Wells
Travel south to the market town of Builth Wells and home to the annual agricultural Royal Welsh Show. Take a stroll around the town. It has a good selection of unique shops providing an original shopping experience.
Your next stop is Hay-on-Wye, the town which is famous for its books. There are millions of them and they’re everywhere. The castle, the cinema, the fire station and alleyways are all book shops. It also hosts the annual Hay Festival of Literature & the Arts in May/June which has placed the town well and truly on the world literary map.
Approx. distance: 30 miles / 48 kms
Approx. driving time: 45 mins
Overnight Suggestion: Hay-on-wye
Start your day in the market town of Monmouth, the birthplace of Henry V. It is an elegant town and has retained many of its fine old Georgian buildings. Its striking trademark is the unique 13th century stone-gated bridge. Spend time discovering the history of the town by visiting its castle and the Nelson Museum or simply relax browsing the wide selection of shops.
Alternatively, if you’re feeling active then why not canoe along the River Wye. Monmouth Canoe & Activity Centre offer half day Canadian Canoeing & Kayaking options.
Continue to Tintern and its 12th century Abbey. It’s one of the most serene and faithfully preserved ruin in Britain and was the source of inspiration for the artist Turner and poet Wordsworth.
Take a tour of Parva Farm Vineyard, a privately owned and run vineyard producing award-winning wines and meads. It’s open from 11:00-5:30pm daily except Wednesdays. Try their range of Welsh wine and take a taste of Wales home with you. The farm shop sells wine, mead, Welsh cheese, preserves and much more.
Approx. distance: 45 miles / 72.4 kms
Approx. driving time: 1 hr 25 mins
Fishing in Wales
Wye Valley Walk