Symonds Yat is a village in the Forest of Dean and a popular tourist destination, straddling The River Wye and the borders of the English counties of Herefordshire and Gloucestershire, it is within a few miles of Monmouthshire and the Welsh border. The name is said to come from Robert Symonds, a 17th-century sheriff of Herefordshire and "yat" as an old word for a gate or pass.
Symonds Yat East:
Symonds Yat East is on the Gloucestershire side of the river, it has three hotels, WyeDean Canoe & Activity Centre and the Saracens Head Inn (with Accommodation) A steep footpath leads from The Village up to Symonds Yat Rock. Another footpath and a cycleway, constructed on a former railway line, runs on the eastern bank to Monmouth.
Symonds Yat West:
Symonds Yat West is on the Herefordshire side. It has a large caravan and camping site (Sterretts Caravan Site), and a small amusement park owned by Kimberly Danter (Daughter of Henry Danter and family member of the famous UK showmen the Danter Family). Symonds Yat West amusement park used to have a small fun fair which was removed in 2010 due to lack of service. It used to contain outdoor dodgems, twister, casino royale miami, flying jets, octopus, bouncy castles, ski jump, etc. Most rides were moved up to Stourport on Severn theme park also owned by Henry Danter. You can find some of the old rides now at Murco's Petrol Station (High Noon Services) on the approach to Symonds Yat coming from Monmouth (S Wales). Symonds Yat West also has visitor attractions including a maze (The Amazing Hedge Puzzle) built in 1977 to commemorate the Silver Jubilee of Queen Elizabeth II, and the Wye Valley Butterfly Zoo.
Two hand ("pull") cable ferries enable foot passengers to cross the river, powered by ferrymen who pull the ferry across the river using an overhead cable. The only connection by road is upstream over Huntsham bridge; this is a five mile trip. One ferry is operated by the Saracens Head Inn and the other is operated by the Ye Old Ferrie Inn.
A suspension bridge was built over the river by the Forestry Commission using local oak timbers in 1957. Linking Symonds Yat East to the Biblins camp site, the bridge was fully refurbished in 1997 and rotten timbers and the two support towers were replaced. Although it is designed to take up to 30 people, it has a badly weathered sign requesting that no more than 6 cross at a time.
Symonds Yat Rock:
Symonds Yat Rock overlooks a spectacular gorge through which the River Wye snakes. This rock is the perfect viewpoint from which to watch raptors. A pair of Peregrine Falcons that nest annually within sight of the rock can be watched through telescopes set up by the RSPB. Buzzards, goshawks and hobbies are also regularly seen and it is sometimes possible to see migrant raptors such as ospreys and European Honey Buzzards.
Seven Sisters Rocks:
Seven Sisters Rocks are seven limestone pillars on the Herefordshire side of the River Wye.
The River Wye at Symonds Yat has cut a deep gorge in the Carboniferous Limestone exposing numerous impressive cliff faces. There is extensive and popular rock climbing in this area with long single pitches at all grades.
At nearby 'King Arthur's cave' on the Great Doward, there have been important archaeological discoveries including the remains of a hyena family and Sabre-toothed cat bones.
Tourist activities include canoeing and kayaking down the rapids, boat trips, a maze, an oriental garden, and a number of country pubs and guest houses, including the Old Court, The Saracens Head Inn, Ye Old Ferrie Inn and the Wyenot.