UK Mountains Walking, Mountaineering and Equipment Reviews
Monmouth to Micheldean: 17 miles
Wysis Way

Leaving Monmouth, the sun was shining and it looked to be a glorious day. It's a bit of a shock to the system with the first 30 minutes or so being uphill, and quite steeply in places, but arriving at the Kymin made it all worthwhile with an excellent view of the bridge from where I started and over Monmouth Town.

Up until now I'd been following the Offas Dyke path but we parted company, never to meet again.

Wysis Way Signpost

My path took me into the Forest of Dean, something that was making me slightly apprehensive as tracks and trails change over time and given that the book was written 25 years ago and revised 10 years ago, I was pretty sure there would be a lot of changes that would make navigation difficult.

I need not have worried, there were plenty of signposts to ensure that the Wysis Way walker would not go astray.

Soon enough I came to the Suck Stone which was nothing like I imagined, but it signalled departing from the main path and heading up. I'd already noticed quite a bit more climbing than I'd expected. Up a steep climb and past the Hearkening Rocks the track flattened out and the path worked its way through the forest to eventually pop out near the Rock Inn, just above Symonds Yat. Sadly, for me, there were a bunch of youngsters doing some TA or Cadets type training and on the same paths. I decided it was time for a break to give them time to get clear. Unfortunately they had other ideas and even after giving them a 15 minute head start, I soon caught them! Luckily they had stopped so I pressed on to give myself a gap.

Suck Stone

A mile or so of open countryside bought me back into the woods where I caught another group, larger and noisier than the first, now would be a good time for lunch!

After lunch I moved on and into Sallow Vallets and then to the Old Speculation which marked the end of the first section in the book. 10 miles done, 7 to go.

Wysis Way

The path from here was straightforward and presented no issues, although as I passed the old coal tip, the guide mentioned crossing a stile to leave the path, but the stile has long since disappeared, but the path remains and is fairly obvious, but I did do a quick Google Maps check to be on the safe side.

Down past the old mine Managers house it was easy walking to Drybrook Station, or rather the site of it. Here the Wysis Way and the Gloucestershire Way meet and travel together for a couple of miles before parting, but this time, they join again for the ascent of May Hill, which, for me, will be tomorrow.

I vaguely recalled walking along the trail but as it turned left and uphill, my memory failed me and I could not recall walking that section, although when I reached the Northern United Colliery my memories flooded back!

Just past there I met two walkers coming in the opposite direction. They were walking the 'Mineral Loop' and completely lost. I helped them best I could - basically they had to follow the Wysis Way right back to Drybrook Station to get back on their way.

May Hill

Nailbridge came and went and the walk to Plump Hill uneventful. At this point, the Way departs from the forest and heads down into Mitcheldean. A mile or so of tarmac road is walked before the Way breaks off into a field and is pretty much a straight line to the Farmers Boy Inn and the end of my day. Between those two points however, were the worst stiles I have ever known! Less agile people would really struggle to cross them.

The pub came into view and I was soon checked into my room. I showered, dressed and went into the bar for drinks and food. They do an excellent pie and chips with mushy peas which I devoured, then felt very fat! There was a band playing which was okay, but they were far too loud for their sound system so it was badly distorted. The rest of the evening was admin, coffee and an early night.

Hotel: The Farmers Boy. Excellent pub with great accommodation at the rear. My room was a twin room with en-suite. Not huge but plenty big enough for me. The pub was friendly and the food awesome. I had a pie with chips and mushy peas and whilst it wasn't cheap (£18), it was probably about par. Breakfast was included. I had a mini Full English as I wasn't too hungry but felt I should eat something as I had a long walk ahead of me.

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