From Fownhope the route is a mixture of woodland and farmland, passing through Lea and Pagets Wood SSSI, which has some of the finest broadleaved woodlands in the Wye Valley AONB. The walk then crosses farmland to join the Wye at How Caple. A 3km section of narrow tarmac lane is followed to the delightfully named 'Hole in the Wall', continuing on past Foy suspension bridge (which provides easy access to pretty St Mary's Church).
Soon after the bridge join a mostly level footpath which leads all the way to Ross, following a short section of old railway track further along. In summer look out for sand martins nesting on the opposite bank at Backney Common. The path continues past Ross Rowing Club to reach the Hope & Anchor pub. Note, the farmland between How Caple and Ross-on-Wye can be very muddy in wet weather.
In Fownhope on the morning of Oak Apple Day (May 29th) an oak bough is cut and decorated with red, white and blue ribbons and villagers decorate sticks with flowers. It’s a traditional art that has been passed down through the generations in preparation for the Heart of Oak Society's procession through the village accompanied by brass band and villagers. The Society was a type of Friendly Society in the early 1800s, providing a form of insurance for members when they fell on hard times.
Limestone grasslands have declined drastically due to intensive farming but this reserve lies on the north slope of a limestone ridge where thin, free draining and nutrient-poor soil produces a spectacular grassland including cowslips and marjoram. Some of these plants will only grow on land which has never been ploughed or improved with fertilisers and herbicides. Nearby Lea and Pagets Wood SSSI has fine broadleaved woodlands, carpeted with bluebells and wood anemones in spring.
This Iron Age Hill Fort dominates the surrounding countryside with expansive views South and West. It is oval in shape and has a double set of defensive ramparts on its southern side, but only a single rampart on its steeper northern side. The camp was occupied from around 500 BC until sometime in the mid to late 2nd or 3rd century AD.
It’s a fantastic achievement to walk all 136 miles. Mark the miles by keeping a record of your journey, collecting (digital) passport stamps along the route…MAKE A PASSPORT