12th - 14th January 2018, Wye Valley Youth Hostel, Welsh Bicknor, Herefordshire
Friday The day had finally arrived for our anticipated walking weekend at the exclusively hired Wye Valley Youth Hostel. The weather forecast was good (for January) and we had 18 members set for a great waking weekend. We arrived throughout late afternoon and early evening, threading our way down the long, steep and narrow hostel driveway, sometimes in the dark.
We had arranged for hostel staff to provide our meals therefore our communal first dinner, was at 7.30pm. The rest of the evening was spent with all of us snuggly installed into one of the spacious hostel lounges. A happy and relaxed atmosphere existed between us all until we turned in by midnight to our rooms.
Saturday Up and ready after a cooked breakfast, we assembled outside the building at the agreed walk start time. It was good to see non-resident members of the group also joining us for the days walk.
Today’s moderate walk took us around the river bank, outside of the hostel and up onto Coppet Hill where we had great views down the Wye Valley; at one point we encountered deer running through the woods just a few metres ahead of us. After descending we crossed over Huntsham bridge and made our way down to Symonds Yatt Rock. Here we had our lunch break and superb views were to be had all around from the tourist viewing point. From the view point we descended and took the manually powered cable ferry across the river to Symonds Yatt West. This was a fun and a novel experience for all of us who had not used it before.
Another 90 mins of pleasant walking saw us arriving at the Hostelrie at Goodrich; liquid refreshments of varying types were had at this walker friendly pub. After a while we were getting too settled in this comfortable place; so much that we had to tear ourselves away for the last one and a half miles to the hostel. Torches were required but minimal traffic was encountered on the lane back.
Another cosy night was had in the dining room lounge. We had a good time including some parlour games and lively chat. I must thank those members who remembered it was my birthday and gave me cards and also to the very nice birthday cake which was enjoyed by all. The usual rounds of after diner drinks occured before we all turned in before midnight.
It appeared one of our taller members moved his mattress out of his dorm and into the lounge area during the night. This was due to him being too long for the bunk frame; he found it too uncomfortable to remain there. After receiving our cooked breakfasts and saying goodbyes to the hostel staff we assembled at Goodrich Caste car park for our second walk.
It was good to welcome other members of the group again who joined us for the walk. This 8.5mile walk followed a circular route including a section of the Wye Valley Way. It was a shorter walk today due to car park opening/closing times at Goodrich castle. Good weather and fine views were had during this varied Wye valley walk about.
We returned to the café in time for our final communal cup of tea and cake before setting off home.