In July 2009 Ross became the 30th town to gain Walkers are Welcome accreditation. In celebration of this the organizing committee arranged a Walking Festival
which took place over the weekend of 3rd and 4th October 2009 and was deemed to be a resounding success with 88 walkers booking places on the 15 walks.
This was the first Walking Festival and it was opened on Saturday 3rd October by a short ceremony at Ross Market Place. The crowd that gathered to watch was made up of the walkers, scheme sponsors, local people and visitors who happened to be passing. The ceremony was opened by Sam Phillips (Steering Group Chairman) and this was a celebration that marked the achievement of accreditation.
Councillor John Edwards accompanied by Mrs Sue Edwards, the Mayor and Mayoress of Ross, declared the festival open. John Edwards said that he and Ross Town Council were delighted to support the Walkers are Welcome initiative. He wished it well for this first festival and for future events and he said that the Walkers are Welcome was a good model to encourage all organisations and individuals in the town to work together which was reflected in the recently formed Association of Ross Traders.
The speeches concluded with the walkers gathered behind the Mayor at the top of the Market Hall steps where he cut a ribbon, which was held by Heather Webster and Sally Northcott from the Steering Group Committee. The walkers then descended down the steps to go off to the walks.
The programme of walks were designed for all abilities with difficulties from flat and riverside to ones that scaled Garway Hill, Howle Hill, Coppett Hill, Chase and Penyard Hills. In all there were 15 walks in total varying in length from 3 to 10 miles some of which were themed such as loooking at the local woodlands, ponds and streams.
Ross has had a long association with walks such as John Kyrle's Walk that dates back to the 1700's; many of these walks are as equally popular today.
John Kyrle's Walk
Distance: 1.5 miles
John Kyrle's Walk
From the Market Place, take the second left turn off the High Street and enter the Churchyard via the steps. Follow the path passing the Prospect through the kissing gates and past Church Farm. At the junction with Red Hill Road (a track by this time) turn right then left to walk along the top of the cliffs. Continue straight on and the path goes up and down sets of steps to pass several old trackways. Eventually the cliffs end and then it is a choice to return to
Ross by the river bank back via Wilton or take the path past Lower Cleeve or Cubberly and return by Hom Green road (both of which are equally as attractive).
The river bank is a well defined path with good views of the River Wye and surrounding countryside.
The Hom Green road is equally as interesting as it has a number of different styles of architecture due to the original ribbon development down the sides of the road.
The walk is now marked using markers as seen here.
The first part of the route indicated is popularly supposed to be John Kyrle's favourite walk and alongside which he planted many trees. The walk has had a
number of postcards made about it showing some of the points of interest; these date from the early 1900's and a couple are shown below:
Signs for the John Kyrle Walk (Click for a larger image)
The Lovers Seat, John Kyrles Walk, Ross (circa 1918) [Publisher: W.H.S. & S. LDN] (Click for a larger image)
Rock Steps, John Kyrles Walk, Ross [Publisher: Harvey Barton & Son Ltd. Bristol] (Click for a larger image)
Below are the Rock Steps (now replaced by concrete) and a possible site of the Lovers Seat in 2010.
Possible site of Lovers Seat (Click for a larger image)
The Rock Steps in 2010 (Click for a larger image)
During a walk along the route on the 14th March 2010, these were some amazing views that I photographed whilst looking back over towards Ross.
The sky and St. Marys (Click for a larger image)
The sky over Roman Way (Click for a larger image)
The sky, Chase Hill and Tudorville (Click for a larger image)
The clouds in late afternoon (Click for a larger image)
The sky, Ross and the field (Click for a larger image)
The River Wye seen from the John Kyrle Walk
(Click for a larger image)
Looking towards the River Wye from the John Kyrle Walk (Click for a larger image)