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Clock Tower, Whitchurch
St Swithin's, Ganarew

Whitchurch & Ganarew Group Parish: Footpaths, Bridleways and Byways

Whitchurch and Ganarew Parish is blessed with the largest number and greatest length of footpaths of any parish in the whole of the United Kingdom.  We have 104 officially recognised public rights of way, with a total length of over 40 kilometres (that’s 25 miles in English money).

In years gone by there were many more than this, but some were abandoned years ago, and others were buried beneath the A40. To put this in some sort of context, Goodrich parish has 37 footpaths, Llangarron has 29, Welsh Bicknor has 8 and St Weonard’s parish has just 5 footpaths.

The good news is that the vast majority of our footpaths are in a very good condition and clearly being used by walkers and cyclists.

We have some splendid paths within the parish, the best known of which is the Wye Valley Way, which runs from the source of the River Wye right down to it’s confluence with the River Severn.  Other paths make up the network of highways that were essential when the entire population worked on the land, as foresters, farmer labourers, quarrymen or miners.  These paths were essential routes for getting to work, going to school, going to church and getting to the pubs.

One route which I would recommend to anyone with an interest in the history and natural beauty of the area is footpath WC9, still known to some as White Rocks Lane.  It runs from the Forestry Commission car park above King Arthur’s cave eastwards towards Symonds Yat.  It’s a wide path and well surfaced in most places.  It was obviously a very important route between the Doward and the river and built for taking a horse and cart.  It zigzags down towards the river then turns north at Symonds Yat, running along the side of a cliff before joining up with Wye View Lane (aptly named, because the views are spectacular).  Wye View Lane takes you back up onto the top of the Doward or you could take one of the paths which branch off it which lead down to the river and the pubs.

I hope to add an interactive map here as soon as Google lets me. In the meantime I recommend using the very good online public rights of way map provided by Herefordshire County Council which you can find here.

If you come across any blocked or partially obstructed footpaths within the parish please do not hesitate to contact the Footpaths Officer either by phone 01600 890737, or by email.

You can find the most recent footpaths reports below:

Symond's Yat and the River Wye. The Birthplace of Tourism

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