Total tour distance: 175 miles
Daily tour distance: 35 miles
Difficulty: 40 / 100
A full week in the The Lower Wye Valley, on the southern Welsh Borders - a fascinating landscape peppered with black & white cottages, ivy-clad castles, and of course apple orchards for the famous Herefordshire cider. Nestling between the Cotswolds to the east and the Black Mountains to the west, it is a half-forgotten gem.
Meandering country lanes lead us to Kilpeck Church with its saucy pagan carvings; Skenfrith, Grosmont and Goodrich castles; the strangely-deserted Dore Abbey; the dramatic Symonds Yat gorge and the Forest of Dean.
We stay at Poulstone Court, a fine Victorian country house set in lush meadows by the River Wye, close to Ross-on-Wye. The house, now used as a comfortable residential course centre, is a splendid place to relax and unwind, with its large sunny lounge and sweeping views across the fields to the river.
Accommodation is in twin rooms and comfortably spacious 3 to 4-person bedrooms. Poulstone Court may not have ensuite bathrooms, but its gentle ambience and airy elegance more than makes up for it. Breakfast and dinner are provided, all vegetarian.
There is also limited camping space on the lawn - contact us for details.
On the optional cycle-free day you can either go for a short walk along the river valley, do a long ride to May Hill and the Chartists' village at Snigs End, or go canoeing at Symonds Yat.
The rides are mainly on quiet country lanes, with a few short offroad sections and, on the Forest of Dean ride, a longer gravelled cycle trail (which can be avoided if you wish). There are hills to climb, but they're always worth it!
[Photo credits: Dawn over the river Wye courtesy of Mark Gallagher; Crossing the bridge courtesy of Zoe Weston.]