We all have some places that are our 'somewhere', well this is one of mine, actually it is one of ours. It is a place that we come to as a family and it settles us, it reminds us of just how lucky we are to live in this stunning area of outstanding natural beauty. The walks up here are extensive and well worth it....
A short walk down from the car park on the Doward, next to the campsite, you come to the viewpoint. Here you look upstream towards The Blblins and Symonds Yat and downstream towards Monmouth. It is a mesmerising spot and every time we come the view never fails us.
From here we walked along and then down the gully past acres of bluebells and wild garlic down to the River Wye, Here we walked along and in to the estate of Wyastone Leys. The original house, The Leys, was built in 1795 by S. O. Attley and was purchased around 1820 by Richard Blakemore who used to take his guests on carraige rides through the spectacular estate taking in the cliffs, woodland and riverside aspects.
In the woodland of Little Doward Hill above the house, the Forestry Commission planted, in 1953, a pattern of trees with contrasting foliage in the shape of the letters ER, to mark the Coronation of Queen Elizabeth II. You can still see this when you drive up the A40 from Monmouth.
The biological interest of the site is a legacy to the continuity of both tree cover and grazing through time, particularly on the south facing limestone slopes, rocks and cliffs. Over time the site has been developed as a Deer Park and you are very likely to see them roaming the woodlands. You are also likely to see the beautiful, and friendly, Welsh White who have been introduced to graze and maintain a mosaic of open woodland and grassland habitats.
The success of this is evident as there are numerous species which are getting a stronghold again in this site such as the Orchid Meadow which I come to visit every year!
If you get the chance, go and walk the woodlands here, especially at this time of year for the carpets of bluebells, wild garlic, the Orchid Meadow, primroses and much more. This is a truly special place.