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.
The view from Symonds Yat rock (Click for a larger image)
The Wye from Symonds Yat (Click for a larger image)
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.
The Rock B&B
Near Symonds Yat Rock
The Rock Inn in the late 1920s [Photo: Christopher Lathan] (Click for a larger image)
The Rock Bed and Breakfast was originally an inn and in 1748 it was known as The Cock. In the mid 19th century it was renamed to the Rock Inn.
The History of English Bicknor notes that northwest of Short Standing at Hillersland, on the road from Coleford to Goodrich (Herefs.), several
cottages were recorded from 1565 on a green and among these was the Inn.
By 1891 the property was listed as a licensed Alehouse and was owned by Garton & Co., Bristol (it had a rateable value in 1891: £12.0s.0d).
By 1903 it had passed into the hands of the Anglo-Bavarian Brewery, Shepton Mallet, Somerset with a rateable value in 1903: £12.0s.0d and had a closing time of 10pm.
The Landlords are recorded as:
1876,1885,1891 James Gwilliam (also listed as a grocer in 1876)
1902,1903,1906 Levi Harris
1919,1927 Arthur Cooper
1939 Charles James
The Rock Inn closed as a pub around 2004 and became a B&B and tea room and it passed into the hands of Mr. & Mrs. Lathan at around the start of 2008. When the property was purchased a stone, which was apparently above the old fire place, was included and showed 1611 which was reputed to be the date of the original Inn.
The property is still run as a B&B but the tea room is now only opened to pre booked parties such as walking groups or clubs.
The Rock B&B [Photo: Christopher Lathan] (Click for a larger image)
The Anglo-Bavarian Brewery
As a side note the Anglo-Bavarian Brewery was established in 1864 and was called the Shepton Mallet Pale Ale Brewery. It was the first
company to develop pale ale. After being sold in 1871, to Hill, Garton and Company of Southampton, the Pale Ale Brewery was renamed the
Anglo-Bavarian Brewery in 1872. The change in name was a reference to the employment of some brewers from Bavaria in order to produce a German-style
beer and it appears that what is now called lager was brewed from that year and was the as the first lager brewery in the United Kingdom.
In 1890 it was reported that the beer brewed at the Anglo-Bavarian was sold throughout England and the Channel Islands by 250 agents although its main sales were export.
During the first world war they dropped the Bavarian bit from their title to become the Anglo Brewery because of anti-German feelings but this did not help and the brewery was sold up in 1921 but was later resurrected as Anglo-Bavarian Brewery company producing beer and cider.