Hampshire Hikes & Historical Sites
Bring intriguing coastal trails and history alive in South Hampshire.
Walk Wales' Gower Peninsula with arguably some of Britain's best coastal scenery from a base at Oxwich on Gower's southern coast. Followed by perhaps the most unspoilt river valley in Britain, the Wye flows through breathtaking scenery rich in both Welsh and English history.
What does this mean?
Tour codes: 79710
Full day walks with moderate amounts of ascent and descent.
The paths are mostly good, but there may be some steep and rough ground.
Walks will last up to 6 hours and could involve as much as 750m of ascent and descent. Some walks will be less demanding.
Our holiday begins in Oxwich Bay, Gower for the first four nights of this combined holiday. Jutting out from the South Wales coast the Gower Peninsula is a microcosm of the best that Wales has to offer. Your walks will take you to beautiful beaches, past cliffs where sea birds nest, to ancient castles and even more ancient burial sites.
Gower was Britain’s first designated Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty and has some of Britain’s best coastal scenery. Spectacular beaches and coastal walks, golden sand, geological outcrops, sandy shores, caves and gulleys, wildlife habitats, Norman castles and ancient churches, pretty villages and much more. For such a small area there is an amazing amount to be enjoyed.
You are based at a stone’s throw from the shore of Oxwich Bay on Gower’s southern coast, a lovely sandy beach, ideal for a paddle or swim. The ruined fortified manor house of Oxwich Castle sits on the headland above the bay. Your walks will cover the best of the peninsula and explore sections of the Gower Coastal Path. The crescent shaped Rhossili Beach at the western end of the peninsula is as fine as any in the country. Our walking offers sweeping views from the high land behind the beach to Pembroke.
If you require, transport is offered to the second centre in Coleford for the final six nights to enjoy our Walking the Wye Valley holiday. Perhaps the most unspoilt river valley in Britain, the Wye flows though breathtaking scenery rich in both Welsh and English history. From the source of northern Wales down to the Bristol Channel, the river passes many evocative and famous sites – Symonds Yat, Kilvert country, Tintern Abbey – and conjures up vivid memories of the 19th century Wye-tourers in search of the ‘picturesque’.
The area enjoys a relatively mild climate and its vineyards continue the tradition of producing wines probably started by the Romans. Over 800 years ago an abbey was built at Tintern and its ruins still stand tall. Further downstream lies the historic border town of Chepstow with its early Norman, stone built castle.
We’ll follow sections of the Wye Valley Walk, the Offa’s Dyke Path and surrounding trails meandering along the hillsides high above the majestic River Wye often emerging at superb viewing points such as Symonds Yat Rock and the Eagle’s Nest. We can take in the area’s rich history and discover the myths and legends of these borderlands.
Click the button below for a detailed Holiday Information Sheet containing all the particulars about this trip.
NOTE: Itineraries and Holiday Information Sheets can vary by a specific date chosen
Itinerary & Travel
Whilst every effort will be made to adhere to the outlined itinerary and advertised programme, local conditions can change due to weather or other unforeseen circumstances. This may mean that routes and timings need to be amended or the order of days may change, sometimes at short notice.
Due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, we may unfortunately need to withdraw a tour that is currently confirmed to operate and we therefore reserve the right to cancel your booking. We would always do our utmost to give you plenty of notice should we have to do this. Selected elements of this tour, including local attractions and restaurants, may change at late notice. Please ensure you have valid insurance cover before you travel.
Independent travel to the Oxwich Bay Hotel at Oxwich Bay on the Gower Peninsula. Depending on your room allocation, your room will be available between 2pm and 4pm. If you arrive and your room is not ready you may drop your bags off at reception and make yourself comfortable in the hotel lounge. Meet your tour leader at approximately 6.30pm in the hotel for a briefing before dinner.
We start today’s walk from the hotel, climbing through woodland to emerge opposite Oxwich Castle. We follow an old drover’s road and an inland series of lanes and paths to the charming coastal town of Port Eynon. After lunch and a visit to the ruins of the ancient salt works, we will return east along the undulating coastal path with views of Port Eynon Bay and Oxwich Bay. The walk finishes with a series of steps up the massive cliffs of Oxwich bay and then descends gently through woodland to our hotel.
A coach takes us further to the west to start a descending walk through a limestone valley to the cliff path. We head out towards the viewpoint above Worm’s Head, a sinuous promontory regularly cut off by the tides. Turning to the North we visit Rhossili village and climb the Downs to appreciate the spectacular views of Rhossili Beach. A ridge walk is followed by a descent along the far end of the beach to the island called Burry Holms with its church remains. The walk continues inland to the village of Llangennith with an interesting church and a welcoming pub. Transport will take us back to our hotel.
Castles and Cairns. This walk crosses the peninsula from north to south and visits two castles, an ancient burial chamber and the Gower Ridgeway. From the Ridgeway, which is like the spine of Gower, we will be able to see where we have already walked on Rhossili Downs and views of south Wales and as far as the Brecons. On a clear day the whole of Gower will be visible to us. We descend to our hotel through the grounds of Penrice Castle. We then descend 180 meters to the hotel.
A Hidden Valley and the Southern Coast. This walk is a bit longer than the others and explores the southeast of Gower. Transport will take us to the northern end of the Bishopston Valley, with its fascinating limestone geology, swallow holes and the sudden appearance of a tiny stream. We follow this stream as it develops into a broad flowing river down to the coast. Here we join the coastal path and head west towards Three Cliffs Bay with its famous rock formations. A side trip is possible to Pennard Castle. We then head back along the coastal path via the Oxwich Bay nature reserve. Some walking is on the impressive coastal sand dunes and the loose sand can be quite tiring, but the experience is worth it! A shorter version, not visiting Pennard castle will cut out a 2 mile stretch, and walkers can choose their preferred option on the day.
After breakfast and check out of the Oxwich Bay Hotel you can either make your way independently to the Speech House Hotel in Coleford or you can take our complimentary transfer. You then have some free time before your evening meal in the hotel restaurant.
*If arriving by public transport you may like to benefit from the complimentary transfer from Oxwich to Coleford. If you decide to drive, you will be required to drive to the second centre as your vehicle cannot be left at the Oxwich Bay Hotel for the duration of this holiday*
A coach takes us to the village of Goodrich and we take a walk along Coppett Hill and then beside the Wye looking up to the craggy heights of Coldwell Rocks; a nesting place for Peregrines in the spring and summer months. We return via the meadows of Welsh Bicknor over Coppett Hill to meet our coach at Goodrich Castle. Probably there will be time for refreshments in the castle tea rooms and an optional visit to the impressive ruins. (English Heritage charges apply)
We walk the uplands above to the Wye and bordering the Forest of to visit Newland church, the “Cathedral of the Forest”. We drop down to walk alongside a petrifying stream and finish the day at the charming village of St. Briavels. There will be time to look at the church, another castle and have a refreshment stop at a tea room.
We take a short coach ride to St Briavels, our finishing point on Day 3, and set off through farmland and forest above the Wye, visiting some of the best-preserved parts of Offa’s Dyke. We reach the Devil’s Pulpit rock with views of Tintern Abbey far below. We return via a long-forgotten railway line to Tintern where a visit to the abbey ruins (and another tea room) is a possibility.
Today we walk from the hotel mainly in deciduous woodlands, past Cannop Ponds, occasionally catching a glimpse of the industrial past hidden in the forest. There are leafy quarries, old mine workings, tramways, tunnels, old railways, and even the remains an experimental iron works complex. We return on a circular route to the hotel.
Private transport takes us to the village of English Bicknor where we will walk to Symonds Yat Rock. Below we can see the path on the opposite bank of the Wye we took on a previous day. We descend to the river and walk along peaceful sections before ascending to the Kymin viewpoint. From here we descend again until we reach the historic town of Monmouth.
Depart the Speech House Hotel after breakfast. Check out is by 10.30am. We hope you have enjoyed your holiday and look forward to welcoming you on another soon.
Departure dates for your selected tour
21st Jun 2021 - 1st Jul 2021 (10 Nights)
9th Aug 2021 - 19th Aug 2021 (10 Nights)
27th Sep 2021 - 7th Oct 2021 (10 Nights)
Private coach transport to and from the trailheads, if necessary, is included.
Nearest railway station: Llanelli (18 miles)
Nearest bus stops: Oxwich
Taxis are available between Llanelli and Oxwich.
If arriving by public transport you may like to benefit from the complimentary transfer from Oxwich to Coleford. If you decide to drive, you will be required to drive to the second centre as your vehicle cannot be left at the Oxwich Bay Hotel for the duration of this holiday.
Below is the accommodation featured on this holiday across all departure dates. Please refer to the Itinerary for more detail about each night's accommodation for each departure date.
We stay at the welcoming three-star Oxwich Bay Hotel beautifully situated above the bay and just a stone’s throw from the beach. It has recently been extensively updated and upgraded.
Dinner is taken at the restaurant, which has views over the sea, from an excellent three course set menu. Such is the reputation of the restaurant; residents of Swansea often make the trip to dine here. Full English and Welsh breakfasts are served every day.
The hotel rooms are either in the main building or converted workers cottages a short walk away. All guest rooms are en-suite, with tea and coffee-making facilities, TVs, telephones and radios.
Please note that picnic lunches are not included on this holiday.
Free internet is available.
Built in 1676 as a hunting lodge for King Charles II, the three star Speech House Hotel has been refurbished to offer modern facilities and comfortable rooms while retaining its period features.
The Speech House is located 5 miles from the Wye Valley in the heart of the Forest of Dean. Rooms are set in the main house or in the courtyard, with many offering forest views. All rooms are decorated in a traditional style and have TVs with Freeview and tea and coffee-making facilities. Wi-Fi is available in the public areas of the hotel.
This is a Grade 5 moderate holiday which includes full day walks with moderate amounts of ascent and descent. The paths are mostly good, but there may be some steep and rough ground. Walks will last up to 6 hours and could involve as much as 750m of ascent and descent. Some walks will be less demanding but equally rewarding. See the 'Proposed Itinerary' for more information.
Local Transport Costs
All local transport costs in conjunction with the advertised activity programme are included in the holiday cost. There may be occasions where additional visits or excursions are added to enrich your experience, these will be paid for locally by you if you choose to participate. Local transport can be a mix of private hire coaches, taxis, local buses and ferries depending on the itinerary.
A range of local excursions and activities may be available to book at your destination through a local operator. We have no involvement in such activities or excursions which are not run, supervised or controlled in any way by us. Your contract will be with the local activity supplier and we accept no responsibility for their actions or omissions.
When budgeting for your holiday, you will need to consider drinks, any meals not included in the holiday price, non-included entrance fees, optional excursions you may choose to participate in locally and any souvenirs or additional services such as laundry. A general guideline for lunches and drinks is £10-£20 per person per day.
Although entirely at your own discretion, tipping is an important aspect of tourism and hospitality life and expectations are fairly high. In order to simplify tipping, we strongly recommend that you allow your leader to take care of making sure tips are given to hotel and restaurant staff and to local guides and drivers. This will be done using some funds provided by us together with, if you wish, a contribution from you, which he/she will collect during the holiday.
Your tour leader makes the world of difference to your holiday and ours are as passionate about discovering the world on foot as you are. They're resourceful, organised and widely travelled. They will handle all the local administration and other needs that might arise to ensure that you don't have to worry about planning your days and you can enjoy your holiday. Although leading group holidays, they won't forget that every group is made up of individuals. Each tour leader has their own individual style, talents and professional backgrounds and all are trained, qualified, experienced and dedicated to making your holiday as enjoyable, interesting and inspiring as possible.
Leader's Evening Briefing
Each evening, your tour leader will discuss with you the programme for the following day. This will be your opportunity to discuss the details and ensure the planned activities suit your walking ability. If you have concerns on clothing or equipment, this can be discussed then also. If you do not wish to join the organised group programme, please let the leader know.
To reach the hotel:
by car: Leave the M4 at Junction 42, which will take you into Swansea. Follow the signs for the Gower and then South Gower. You will see Swansea Bay to the left of you, head towards Mumbles but keep following the signs for Gower. Take a right turning at the traffic lights for Singleton Hospital. Take a right at the next mini roundabout, straight through the next set of traffic lights and left at the 'T' Junction onto the South Gower Road. Follow this road through Killay, past Swansea Airport, until you see a sign for Oxwich on your left. Take a left at Oxwich Village cross roads. The hotel is by the beach at the end of the road. There is car parking at the hotel.
by rail / coach: The nearest railway station and coach station is Swansea. There are direct trains from London Paddington station and Cardiff Central amongst other places. A taxi from Swansea station to the hotel will take about 20 minutes and will cost around £35 each way. You may wish to phone Oyster Cabs (01792 367777) for a quote.
You may also wish to look at the following website for advice on the best way to travel to the hotel: www.rome2rio.com
Meeting your tour leader and fellow walkers: Please check the time of dinner (approximately 7pm) on arrival at the hotel, and aim to be in the lounge bar half an hour before dinner for an introduction to your leader, an outline of the planned programme for your holiday and the chance to meet your walking companions.
Personal Details Check
To ensure that we can accurately administer your holiday arrangements, please confirm that the personal details we hold for you are up to date and that you have provided the information we need to secure your holiday travel and accommodation arrangements. Please check your passport details, date of birth and any other important details necessary for us to properly manage your holiday booking. You can view and update information already provided, and add details not yet asked for, by using the Manage My Booking facility on our website www.ramblersholidays.co.uk, or by calling our Sales and Reservations team on +44 (0)1707 331133. When you receive your booking confirmation please check the details as soon as possible.
Passport Information for United Kingdom
Any non UK or EU citizens may be subject to passport, identity card or visa requirements to enter the United Kingdom.
Half board en suite accommodation. Breakfasts and dinners are taken in the main hotel building. Please note that picnic lunches are not included on this holiday.
Lightweight waterproof walking boots with a good moulded sole (such as Vibram or similar) and a deep tread and which provide ankle support are strongly recommended and may be essential for some walks.
General Kit List
Outdoor activities are always safer and more enjoyable if you are prepared.
If you have not travelled with us before the following list might be of use:
This list is not exhaustive and every walker is different and may have their own preference.
Travel Documents Checklist
Documents and Information to take with you:
Water To Go
An alternative to bottled water from single-use sealed water bottles is filtered water from a refillable bottle containing its own water filter such as a Water-to-go bottle available from www.watertogo.eu. Just fill up from any water source and save the environment from disposable plastic bottles.
We have negotiated an exclusive 15% discount with our partners Water-to-Go for you as a thank you for helping the environment. Please go to their website at www.watertogo.eu and enter the code RWH17 when ordering. In addition, Water-to-Go will match the discount with a donation to our charity, Heart & Sole, which will allow us to continue to make a difference in the countries you visit on our holidays.
Maps, Guidebooks & More
Our intended route is covered by the following maps:
Ordnance Survey Outdoor Leisure series (1:25,000):
OL14 Wye Valley & The Forest of Dean
Ordnance Survey Explorer 1:25,000 Series 164 Gower / Gwyr
The Map Shop
If you cannot find the maps or books locally we recommend:
The Map Shop
5 High Street
Upton upon Severn, Worcs
If you key many of the local places mentioned in this holiday fact sheet into YouTube, you will find a vast array of spectacular footage of the area.
Health requirements can change at any time. It is your own responsibility to ensure that you inform yourself from a professionally qualified source on, and comply with, such requirements at least 6 to 8 weeks before departure. Advice on vaccinations is available from your GP.
Health Advice for United Kingdom
No compulsory immunisations are required for holidays in the UK although you should be up to date with the usual immunisations recommended for life in Britain. Tetanus immunisation is recommended.
Further Travel Advice
For further advice please visit:
You might wish to take a small bottle of antibacterial hand gel with you for times when you're unable to wash your hands.
Although not compulsory for British and EU citizens resident in the UK, we strongly recommend that you take out travel insurance to cover you in the event of eventualities such as unexpected cancellation, accident or illness before your holiday or the loss of personal possessions.
Visitors who are not British Citizens (or who are not EU citizens resident in the UK), must be adequately insured to join our holidays and will be unable to participate in our local walking and other activity programmes without being able to demonstrate that you have valid travel insurance.
The UK Foreign & Commonwealth Office provides up to date information on security and local laws for travellers, together with current passport and visa information, at www.gov.uk/travelaware. Please take a few minutes to look at the current advice on your planned destination.
Please be aware of what's going on around you, take sensible precautions with your credit cards and passport and avoid displays of wealth such as wearing expensive jewellery or watches. Do not carry more cash on you than you will need for each day, and we recommend that a money belt is used.
We're committed to ethical tourism in all our destinations. Our holidays are designed for you to discover the essence of the country you are visiting. Travelling in small groups not only gives you an up close and personal experience of your destination, but minimises your impact on the immediate environment. We feel that the most important starting point to protect the environment is to be out in it. For more details visit our website.
The Ramblers Holidays Charitable Trust
Unlike many tour operators we have our own trust through which RWH Travel’s profits are channelled back into a variety of outdoor, walking-related or environmental conservation projects in the UK. The focus of the Trust’s financial support is Britain’s leading walking charity, The Ramblers, and their role in promoting the benefits and importance of walking to the British public. In addition the Trust welcomes applications for small grants from local organisations in the UK who need support for walking-orientated activities. This includes the establishment of footpaths and bridleways, funding for rebuilding bridges and renovating huts, as well as bursary funding for the Duke of Edinburgh’s Award for children who could not otherwise afford to do it. Please visit the ‘About Us’ section of our website and click on the Charitable Trust link for more details.
Heart and Sole
We appreciate that we are in a fortunate position to be able to use our profits to help make a difference to people's lives. Heart & Sole is a venture managed by our office staff, whose aim is to reach the heart of the communities in the countries we visit. Through Heart & Sole, we hope to make more of a long term, direct impact to these communities, particularly in less developed countries where even a small amount goes a long way. See our website for more information and details of some of the projects we support.
Please do provide us with a mobile phone contact number. We will only use this to contact you with important information relating to your holiday arrangements.
Do keep your mobile phones switched on and readily available when travelling to the airport or if delayed in transit so that we can contact you with any last minute information relating to your travel arrangements.
As a matter of courtesy, please switch off your mobile phone during walks, or endeavour to minimise its use. Please also try to minimise the use of mobile devices during group meals.
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