Exploring the wilder side of Wye Valley

As an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, Wye Valley is on many people’s travel hit lists, and for good reason. As well as being a spectacular place to explore on foot, by bike, or via canoe or kayak, it’s a haven for wildlife.

Exploring the wilder side of Wye Valley is a must for all visitors, and it all starts right here at The Hope and Anchor as Bristol-based travel blogger Heather Cowper of Heather on her Travels fame explains:

“My trip down the Wye Valley started at the pretty town of Ross on Wye, known as the Gateway to the Wye, where 18th-century travellers on the Wye Tour would have boarded their boats in front of the Hope and Anchor inn. Many of the buildings in this Herefordshire market town date back to the 17th and 18th century and you could easily while away an hour or two here no before following the River Wye southwards.”

From Ross-on-Wye, there’s plenty more to explore, with the area’s magnificent selection of wildlife particularly renowned. Let us talk you through the wildlife you can expect to see on your trip through the beautiful Wye Valley.

From deer to dolphins – yes, really!

Wye Valley is home to an impressive array of wildlife, the most widespread of which is the area’s population of deer.

You’ll find three species of deer in the valley – the large and historic fallow deer, the native roe deer, and the lesser-known muntjac deer. There is also a small number of red deer that call the edge of the Wye Valley their home but it’s very rare to spot these elusive creatures.

To spot any of these super-shy deer species, head away from the hustle and bustle, and into the depths of the forest at dusk.

There are yet more rare wildlife finds in Wye Valley. Large maritime mammals like dolphins, harbour porpoises and seals have all been spotted at some point or another in the rivers of Wye Valley, particularly close to the Severn Estuary.

Home to the best river-based wildlife

Wye Valley is home to many river-based mammals and birds. Otters, minks and water voles all populate the rivers here.

The area even has a small population of two beavers, which is quite the achievement considering the species has been extinct in Britain for some 500 years. The pair of Wye Valley beavers is settling in well after recently being reintroduced to the area by the Forestry Commission.

Whilst the area’s beavers are incredibly difficult to spot, Wye Valley’s abundance of river birds are a more common sight. Kingfishers, dippers, mute swans, geese, grey herons, cormorants and goosanders can all be seen in larger numbers.

From March to October, you’ll also get to see sand martins, who reside in the area before making their way to Africa for the winter.

Top wildlife moments to enjoy in Wye Valley

There are so many wildlife events to enjoy throughout the year in Wye Valley. The elver run in April is particularly impressive and follows the mass migration of young elver eels as they travel upriver from the sea.

During June and July, the river comes alive in the most spectacular way. You’ll see the river flower as water crowfoot carpets its surface. Early summer sees the return of the Atlantic Salmon as they leap their way to the high reaches of the Wye to spawn. Kingfishers are also seen in large numbers during the summer months.

If you’re lucky, you may also get to see nesting peregrine falcons hunt and raise their young from April to August at nearby Yat Rock. Trust us – it truly is a sight to see!

Take a walk, cycle or canoe on the wild side by booking your stay in Ross-on-Wye today.

If you have any questions, please don't hesitate to call us via the contact details below:

The Hope & Anchor Team

T: 01989477025
E: info@thehopeandanchor.co.uk