Symonds Yat, Forest of Dean
Cold and unexpectedly sunny
The awesome Ziggi
We couldn’t believe our luck when we saw how gorgeous the weather was this day. When you holiday in England in February, you expect rain at the very least – but no, we opened our curtains to glorious sunshine. There was only one thing to do, make some sandwiches and head out quickly before it changed its mind.
My mum had recommended we visit Symonds Yat when I mentioned Zigs and I would be staying in the Forest of Dean and she was absolutely right to, it’s stunning up there. As usual, my photographs do not do it justice. Although this walk takes you in the opposite direction to the main view point, make sure you detour up there before setting off (or after you get back, your call).
When you arrive at Symonds Yat, you will find that there is ample parking (£3 for the day at the time of writing), toilets, information boards with walks of various lengths, and (if you go in season) a visitor centre and cafe. We took a quick snap shot of the information board so we had a record of our route (top tip there, hikers!) and set off. There are walks of various different lengths starting from Symonds Yat, we decided to do the Red Walk which took a couple of hours.
The walk was clearly marked with red arrows which made for a nice, untaxing ramble through the pine trees. It had been raining pretty consistently in the weeks leading up to our holiday so there were sections that were pretty muddy, but nothing a sturdy pair of hiking boots couldn’t handle.
This walk is a nice mixture of wide paths and narrow tracks through the trees, uphill treks and downhill tumbles, with plenty of points at which you can stop and admire your surroundings – often with a well placed bench. There were a couple of points we had to stop and consult our info board photo due to us joining the walk a little way in and going the wrong way round. It doesn’t overly matter as most of the markers have been placed to be used from either direction, but there were a couple of points where this wasn’t the case. Should you be doing this walk, start at the beginning and go anti-clockwise if you want to avoid this!
The bonus to doing the walk backwards (clockwise) was that we got to finish the walk at the viewpoint. This is slightly lower than the main vantage point we visited before setting off and, as such, is a lot quieter but the view is still stunning. Even if you aren’t doing this walk, it’s worth pottering down to as it’s a lovely, peaceful spot; it’s within the woodland, so less exposed than the view from the rock. I had such a nice time on this walk, really must go and do it again sometime – anybody want to come with…?