LOCATION: Ross-on-Wye to Symonds Yat (West)
DISTANCE: 14.5 Miles
PADDLING TIME: 4 Hours 15 Minutes
START: Ross-on-Wye Rowing Club
FINISH: River Wye Camping
STRAVA ROUTE: https://www.strava.com/activities/3808090568
Ross was bathed in glorious blue skies and bright sunshine as we slipped away from the rowing dock on to a once again empty river. Following the main A road for the first few miles our paths soon diverged as the river headed first towards the ruins of Goodrich Castle before entering the Wye Valley Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty. Slowly the surroundings change from flat fields with far off hills to near vertical bare rock faces and steep sided forest covered hills. From this point down to the days finish point were undoubtedly the most visually spectacular of the journey.
Upon turning the corner towards Symonds Yat you quickly realise this is the tourist epicentre for the river. Having had the river all but to ourselves for 4 days, we were presented with around 50 Canadian Canoes full of families that had been rented for a few hours of fun. Steering seemed a mystery to many whilst I'd estimate at least 6 couples were going through some form of mental breakdown (or breakup) as they tried to work as a team to move forward instead of in circles.
Having safely dodged them all we arrived at River Wye Camping on the right hand bank just after the Church and Symonds Yat Canoe hire. Sadly this was to be our worst campsite of the trip and not the enjoyable final evening on the river we had hoped for. The landing is not owned by the Campsite and is closed from the afternoon through to 9am (for no apparent reason.) Reception was a 5 minute walk from the river and the camping area another couple of minutes past that with no option to leave boards or boats closer to the water. The camping area itself is really just a partially fenced off area of a grass carpark and any facilities are back at reception. The Ye Old Ferrie Inn on the West bank was closed for refurbishment, the quaint hand ferry across to the Saracens Head was broken and the foot bridge further down stream was closed due to flood damage.
With so many outdoor activities on offer in and around Symonds Yat if anyone would like to open a river accessible, adventurer friendly site in close vicinity (and preferably on the East bank) then there is definitely a gap in the market.. (maybe take a look at Byecross for some tips on how a camp site should be run...)