VISIT | Enchanted by the Romantic Poets Wye Valley | Gloucestershire | Monmouthshire | Herefordshire
No Shortage of Inspiration Around Here
The roots of modern tourism lie in this magical Wye Valley
Find your inner Romantic here for whom could not be inspired by what is visible here
The wandering Wye, the inclines, the views - join the fan club here!
"...this special place - hillsides of loveliness, a river of magic..."
The Wye Valley is one of those unique parts of the world. It is impossible to replicate it in another part of the world because it takes those magical qualities that only the River Wye in all of its breath-taking meander, the sharpening tree-laden valley sides from both England and Wales and the atmosphere which is a touch slow, a touch timeless, a touch wild. So, whether its autumn and the leaves are burning fire, or spring as the wildlife wakes up in increments from its winter nap – the Wye Valley is a celebration of all that is good with the world.
It is nothing new of course. There are others who have chosen words more carefully and with art. William Wordsworth scribed his words from riverside and atop the valley such as his ‘Lines composed a few miles above Tintern Abbey’ where he spoke of the feelings that this place evoked in his soul, about his relationships – what it reminded him of passion and care, of the passing of time in landscape and in love.
In 1770 someone first took himself down the River Wye on a kind of tour. His name was Gilpin. And that man and that event, as well as all the other things written, read or directed led to the birth of modern tourism. Ross-on-Wye – the place of the birth of modern tourism.
This year 2020 commemorates the fact that it is 250 years since that event. And the area is celebrating with due pomp and ceremony. Reminding all who will see or listen that the Wye Valley remains in constant delight. But here’s the thing, most people need no reminding…
Every year, hundreds of people travel down this remarkable River Wye in canoes, kayaks, in paddle boats and rowing boats; inspired by those very views that Gilpin first wrote about, full of the romanticism and nature, views and delights.
And Gilpin, of course, was not the only one who came. The Romantic Poets followed in Gilpin’s footsteps…
Wordsworth. Coleridge. These were the fashionable ones. Inspired by landscape. And its links with emotion.
But it wasn’t just poets here, the painters came to be enthralled by the light, by the colours. Turner was here, capturing the mythology, the intrigue of the landscape. He loved the castles, the architecture but set within it, the mystique, the mythos. But who could not love the places along the Wye? The cutaway, hidden spots. The stopping points along the river. Their names which speak of people, of life, of decisions.
Wintour’s Leap. Eagle’s Nest. Devil’s Pulpit. The Kymin. The Rock. And then of course. Tintern. Goodrich Castle. Chepstow Castle.
Gilpin advocated the river trip but the poets, the painters, the writers liked as many of us do to venture forth on foot. The Offa’s Dyke Path or the Wye Valley Walk these days, or the meanders up or down the valley side. Find yourself near the falls at Cleddon or the uplands of Redbrook or St Briavels with views of Bigsweir Bridge or the town of Monmouth which beckons you further. The inspiring vistas continue.
These days the stunning views are framed in camera phones and drone shots rather than on canvas. Composed and enhanced with filters, ironic adaptations to nature’s perfection. Described in reduced characters and emojis than stylised adjective and noun.
But the Wye Valley remains, a timeless property, caught by the free spirits of our world, caught by those who see what they want to see in this landscape. Whether it be romance, freedom, art or pleasure.
One thing can be agreed. That this place – the Wye Valley – speaks of emotion. That if you allow the environment to seep into your soul, that it can change your soul. That it can change your emotions. Happy. Grieving. Angry. Bitter. In love. You don’t have to write a poem. Or compose a song. Draw a sketch or paint a watercolour. To show the impact that the Wye has on you. Sometimes it is just a breath, a smile or a kiss. Just because.
Show a little love for the Wye Valley. You’ll be joining a community of millions.
Directions and Map |
Find the Wye Valley allow the River Wye from Chepstow up to Monmouth across to Ross-on-Wye on the edge of the Forest of Dean, on up to Hereford and beyond