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A Cosy Weekend In the Wye Valley

3rd November 2023


By Shelley | The Serene Soul Society

English Cottage in Autumn, tintern, orange leaves

The last weekend of October was spent in the Wye Valley with my husband celebrating our anniversary.


We picked this beautiful part of the country as I imagined it to be a thing of beauty in it's autumn coat and I wasn't wrong (we have visited previously but in summertime).


A cosy weekend in nature, surrounded by autumn colours, falling leaves and the sight of chimney smoke was calling to me and that's exactly what was delivered.


To give you a bit of an introduction, the Wye Valley threads the border between England and Wales and spreads through 3 different counties: Herefordshire, Gloucestershire and Monmouthshire, with the River Wye running through the heart of it.


In 1971 it was designated an area of outstanding natural beauty (AONB), and it's definitely not hard to see why.


We spent 2 nights here and can certainly recommend it as a weekend worthy destination, where you can immerse yourself in stunning nature walks, quaint market towns and cosy pubs.


I'm writing this blog post as more of a journal style instead of overwhelming you with 101 things to do in the Wye Valley. Of course I'll be sharing with you our personal itinerary, with a breakdown of the places we visited, where we stayed and links for you to access further information, but this is a softer approach to maybe your typical travel blog post.


Although I like to do my research, make plans, book things in advance and explore new places, I'm also mindful of using this time to slow down, take in new sights & connect to my senses, drinking in the things around me whilst creating new memories.


So if you are all about slow living or are looking to incorporate a more mindful approach to your lifestyle, then this is for you.


Where We Stayed


This was definitely a highlight of the trip and whilst doing my research of where to stay, I fell in love with this place instantly.


We stayed in a cosy Air BnB called 'The Halt' in the village of Lydbrook which had a shop, pub (The Colliers Inn) and a fish and chip shop (The Wye Fry).


As I'm a huge lover of Autumn, I wanted to stay somewhere that felt like I could bring the outside in so I couldn't have been happier when I found this little gem.


'The Halt' was the perfect place to unwind and get cosy during this season.


Although this was more of a studio style having the bedroom, living space and kitchenette in one room, it worked perfectly for us.


One of my favourite things was waking up and seeing the autumn colours dancing outside the window as soon as I opened my eyes.


Of course I had to have my morning coffee on the decking whilst watching the leaves fall, listening to birdsong and the tree's gentle sways.


cosy air bnb, white linen, wooden interior
Bedroom/Living Space in 'The Halt' Air Bnb Lydbrook

cosy dining room, sauna room
Separate Dining Space


Tree house in Autumn, Lydbrook, Wye Valley
'The Halt' Air Bnb

Friday Afternoon Itinerary


Our first stop was the enchanting Puzzlewood, just outside of Coleford.


We didn't book tickets ahead due to their website being down, but buying tickets upon entry was not a problem and it costs £9.50 per adult.


It's not a huge place which worked well for us as we got there around 2:45pm (we drove down straight from the office) and ended up spending around an hour having a leisurely explore. As a side note, you could spend longer here and there is a café if you wanted to make more of an afternoon of it.


Once we were past the ticket office, we were firstly greeted by chickens, donkeys, rabbits and goats which of course I got really excited about!


As we entered the forest I was delighted to see it dressed up for Halloween weekend, with little ghosts and pumpkins making an appearance around each corner, which I felt only added to the charm.


There was something so magical about Puzzlewood. The the moss, the fungi, the sound of the trees in the late October winds and the sight of falling foliage which I can only describe as snowing leaves.


Fungi and Moss in Forest, Puzzlewood


Ghost and pumpkins in Forest Puzzlewood

Enchanting Forest, Moss, Stairs, Twigs
Puzzlewood

After our little explore of Puzzlewood, we headed to our Air BnB to get checked in which was only a 10 minute drive away.


Later on in the evening we went out for a meal at a lovely country pub only a 10 minute drive away called The Mill Race.


It had one of the best front doors I've seen and we felt like we were being transported back in time.


The pub was really cosy, with fairy lights draped down the walls, the log burner crackling away and very friendly staff who greeted us and showed us to our table.


We both ordered the Ribeye steak and were really impressed! If you're a steak lover you'll know how hit and miss ordering a steak can be and I hadn't actually read any reviews (which is something I normally do), so we were pleasantly surprised.



Old English Door, Cosy Pub
The Charming Pub Door at The Mill Race

Ribeye steak, chips, onion rings, red wine, english pub
Ribeye Steak at The Mill Race

Saturday Itinerary


I opened my eyes on Saturday morning and was greeted by the yellow and golds of the trees outside.


Once I was showered and dressed I enjoyed a moment to myself on the decking with my first morning coffee whilst Mark was getting ready. Savouring every sip, listening to the birds and feeling gratitude in my heart. These small moments bring me immense joy. Slowing down to savour the small yet simple pleasures.



Lady drinking coffee under autumn tree
Enjoying my coffee in the autumnal morning sun


Then we were off, headed to Tintern Abbey across the border and into Wales, which was 30 minutes away in the car.


As we drove through Tintern towards the car park, I looked out to the river and the row of houses with wood smoke puffing out of the chimneys (something that always makes my soul smile).


Tintern captivated me straight away with it's olde worlde charm, the River Wye running alongside it, the row of cottages, a handful of pubs, cosy little cafe's and shops (which we had a little nose around and I bought a scarf).


We parked on a Wireworks car park down Forge road which was free (always a bonus!)


It was a beautiful crisp and sunny autumnal morning as we strolled down past The Filling Station Café towards Tintern Abbey.


It looked beautiful in it's roofless splendour on the banks of the River with the golden trees basking in the sunlight behind it.



cottages, river wye, tintern, woodsmoke
Houses In Tintern & The River Wye

Tintern Abbey, Ruins, Things to do in Wales
Tintern Abbey

Cafe in Tintern, Coffee, English Cafe, Red Umberella
The Filling Station Cafe in Tintern


For a bit of background information, Tintern Abbey was founded in 1131 by Cistercian monks and first started out as timber buildings. It wasn't until 1269 that it was transformed into a gothic masterpiece.


In 1536 due to King Henry VIII's English Reformation and the dissolution of the monasteries, the abbey began to slowly turn into a majestic ruin.


You can pay to walk around the ruins at £8.60 per adult. We skipped this as we had a hike planned to Devil's pulpit and the abbey can easily be admired without paying the fee.


Using my All Trails app, we began to make our way to the start of the walk, crossing over the bridge and into the forest.


It felt so good to be out in the AM, wandering the Welsh forest, breathing in the autumn air and being amongst nature.


The trail we followed is called 'Tintern Abbey and Devils Pulpit Circular' and is 8.2km (5.095 miles). I would 100% recommend as although the ascent is pretty tough at first, it's well worth the view when you reach Devil's pulpit and is a beautiful trail coming back down.



Autumn Scenes in the Wye Valley, Devils Pulpit, Tintern Abbey
Devil's Pulpit - View to Tintern Abbey and The River Wye

A couple of hours later we were back at the car swapping our muddy boots for cleaner shoes, and ready to fill our bellies with some lunch at The Anchor Inn which concluded our trip to Tintern.


A cosy night in was definitely calling to us as the aches started to kick in from our hike.


As we left the pub to head back to the car, it started raining. Knowing this would only add to the atmosphere back at our air bnb we were delighted (who doesn't love the sound of rain whilst you're curled up it the warmth).


Sunday Itinerary


I woke up around 7:30am on the Sunday, grateful for the extra hours sleep I gained thanks to the clocks going back.


Of course, some quiet time to myself on the decking with my morning coffee was calling to me. A way to savour the last moments before the time came to check out.


Although our Sunday trip to Croome National Trust is not part of the Wye Valley, I wanted to give it a mention as the grounds really were lovely to take a Sunday stroll around.


Croome was on our way back and around 50 minutes from Lydbrook in the county of Worcestershire.


Once home of the Earls of Coventry and the centrepiece of Croome's 'Capability' Brown designed parkland, it was the perfect way to round up our little trip away. Being amongst nature and drinking in the autumnal palette.


After a couple of hours of exploring we made our way to The Jockey Inn (only a 10 minute drive) for a delicious Sunday roast and a cheeky glass of wine, the final stop of our trip away.



Autumn Leaves, autumn aesthetic, english countryside
Croome National Trust Grounds

A Millenial taking a selfie in the autumnal forest

A glass of white wine, anniversary note, english pub
The Jockey Inn

As we headed home my heart felt full - a special weekend to remember, truly embracing Autumn, the slower moments it brings and the perfect way to spend the last weekend of October.


Until next time,


Shelley x


"October, here's to you. Here's to the heady aroma of the frost-kissed apples, the wild-as-the-wind smell of hickory nuts, and the nostalgic whiff of that first wood smoke" - Ken Weber



Happy couple in Autumn
Me & The Hubby In Our Autumnal Element

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Rated 5 out of 5 stars.

Lovely read, thanks for taking me along as a reader! Love the Wye Valley aswell!

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sadiejanepriest
sadiejanepriest
Nov 12, 2023
Rated 5 out of 5 stars.

Sounds like the most perfect autumnal weekend angel, definitely popped it on our list of places to visit x

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Rated 5 out of 5 stars.

Such a beautiful read. I felt so relaxed and like I was taken away on the trip with you! Xxx

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Ahh thank you so much, I'm so glad you felt the cosy energy behind this xx

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