Presiding over the quaint village of Symonds Yat, on the banks of the River Wye, Symonds Yat Rock is a dramatic limestone outcrop that rises some five hundred feet from the river. A former Iron Age hill fort, this ancient monument offers breathtaking views over the Herefordshire countryside and down to the wooded gorge far below.
Thanks to a Heritage Lottery Fund grant of almost £3 million, the viewpoint has been fitted with a fully accessible, all-ability trail to the top. Visitors should start their journey at the well-signposted disabled car park and follow the path that leads to a clearing with picnic tables, a snack shop and disabled toilets – from there a solid wooden footbridge starts the path up the hill. The total distance from the car park to the summit is around 550 yards. The inclines along the way are not too extreme, but if you’re using a manual wheelchair, assistance may be required in some places. At the viewpoint, low walls allow wheelchair users to enjoy the glorious views and the first-rate birdwatching possibilities – if you visit between April and August, look out for the pair of peregrine falcons that nest in the area.
When you’ve had your fill of the views – and if you’ve still got energy to spare – you could finish your day at the aMazing Hedge Puzzle, a few miles over the river in Symonds Yat West. This perfectly formed maze, one of the largest in the UK, is composed of six-foot-high, three-foot-wide hedges; it’s quite a challenge, but great fun and a big hit with kids. Note that you can only exit the maze by finding the centre or going backwards, so this is not something to undertake if you might need to exit quickly. The hard, wide paths are fine for wheelchairs, though the viewing platform in the middle can only be accessed via a metal staircase. Those on foot, however, will appreciate the well-deserved rest seats. The attraction has designated disabled parking and a RADAR key-accessible toilet.
Food & drink: The closest eating options to Symonds Yat Rock are in Symonds Yat East, a two-mile drive away. A good choice is The Saracens Head (01600 890435, www.saracensheadinn.co.uk), with outdoor seating overlooking the river, a ramped side entrance and a disabled toilet. Other options include a small log cabin café (outdoor seating only) and a picnic area. The aMazing Hedge Puzzle has its own tearoom, serving cakes, teas and light lunches; alternatively, enjoy a picnic in the lovely grounds.