Symonds Yat is a beautiful wooded valley overlooking the River Wye as it meanders from Ross-on-Wye to Monmouth. The River Wye has, over the millennia, cut an unusually deep gorge through the limestone cliffs creating 120 metres high cliffs. The villages of Symonds Yat East, which is in Gloucestershire, and Symonds West, which is in Herefordshire, are situated down the slopes of the gorge beside the river and the two are linked by a hand-pulled ferry.
Yat Rock is one of the most well known view points in the Wye Valley and Forest of Dean and it is located only six miles south-south-west of Ross-on-Wye town centre. Yat Rock affords views over Symonds Yat East and West with views of Goodrich in the distance and Ross-on-Wye in the far distance. As well as affording spectacular views of the meandering River Wye a major proportion of a loop in the river can be seen.
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Mans presence can be detected in the area going back 20,000 years and at King Arthur's cave, which is on the Great Doward, bones of cave Bear, Lion and Mammoth have been found. These were left by prehistoric hunting parties who lived or sheltered in the caves. In the iron age tribal disputes resulted in war and so defensive hill forts were created with huge earth ramparts and ditches around Symonds Yat.
The area was inhabited by the Romans and the remains of a Roman Villa, known as Huntsham Court, were unearthed during the 1960s.
The name Symonds Yat is reputedly derived from a combination of a 17th century sheriff of Herefordshire called Robert Symonds and a yat which is the local name for a gate or pass.
[Page updated: Feb 15 2011 13:31:59]