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near Symonds Yat, England (United Kingdom)
This is an 11 mile circular forest walk around the Forest of Dean. It starts from the Forestry Commission’s Symonds Yat Rock Pay & Display Car Park and follows a yellow waymarked route, a challenging but rewarding walk.
The walk starts and finishes near the Symond’s Yat Rock viewpoint. Before starting the walk you may want to take a short detour over the bridge and chek out the stunning view from the top of the cliff looking down on the river and valley below.
Return back over the bridge and walk down the uneven steps down to the river, follow the sign post for the clearly marked Highmeadow Trail. On the way down take the path signposted to Symonds Yat East and Riverside. Continue past the hotel and walk along the riverside taking either the wide cycle path or the muddier footpath near the river’s edge - enjoy the peace and tranquility of this beautiful area.
Pass Bibbin Bridge, a suspension bridge over the river which was built by the Forest Commission. After about an hours walking, or about 3 miles, turn left and head up hill through Lady Park Wood. It’s a bit of haul up to the top, but just follow the fence on your left that protects parts of the forest.
At the next major junction make a sharp right turn onto a forest track and head towards Near Hearkening Rock. The view from the Rock is amazing and quite unexpected. Apparently it was used by gamekeepers as an observation point and listening post at night to catch poachers.
Follow the yellow waymarked signs under this massive exposed rock and then turn right and head down the slippery hillside path to rejoin the main forest track once more. Turn left here. After a short way, take the waymarked footpath off to the left, heading towards Staunton. You will pass an old well just before you reach the main road.
Cross the main road at Staunton and walk up the road where there is a stile taking you into Rodge Wood. Following a dry stone wall all the way to the Buckstone. The Buckstone is a local landmark. The Buckstone is reputed to be the largest piece of detached conglomerate or puddingstone rock in England and Wales and has been estimated to weigh maybe 14,000 tons.
After enjoying the view, take the left path and walk down the hill towards Staunton. Heading towards the church you will pass the Pound. The Pound was built to hold stray grazing animals. The Pound Keeper was responsible for them and extracting a fine for their release. There are several picnic benches around here and it’s a good place to rest and perhaps stop for lunch.
Turn right opposite the church and follow the Trail through Blake’s Wood. The waymarked trail will lead you to the main road. Cross over and and pick up the path on the other side. Keep to the waymarked paths in the direction of Christchurch and pass through the Forest of Dean cabins. Mind out for wild boar around here!
At Broom Hill simply follow the signs for the Christchurch to Symonds Yat walk and enjoy a couple of miles easy, gentle downhill walking back to the carpark.