Symonds Yat, split into west and east by the mighty River Wye, is an area of outstanding natural beauty located close to the ancient Forest of Dean in Herefordshire. History says that the name comes from Robert Symonds, a 17th century sheriff of Herefordshire. The word Yat means literally a gate or pass.
The Yat Gorge was mined for iron ore and the remains of a smelting works are located down stream of Symonds Yat Rapids. A hand cable ferry, operating in good weather only, allows foot passengers to cross the river by the Saracens Head. It is powered by ferrymen who pull the ferry across the river using an overhead cable.
Well known for its natural river and stunning hillside scenery and large wooded areas, Symonds Yat Rock is a limestone outcrop that rises majestically 500 feet from the banks of the River Wye below. It is an area of outstanding natural beauty that draws visitors in thier hunderds and thousands. Symonds Yat Rock itself overlooks a spectacular gorge through which the River Wye winds its way. This rock is the perfect place to survey the incredible view and amazing scenery. But it is also possible to see raptors from the rock. A pair of Peregrine Falcons that nest annually within sight of the rock can be seen and buzzards and goshawks are often observed.
The River Wye offers the opportunity to enjoy many different watersports. It is possible to hire canoes at Symonds Yat. There are numerous other recreational activities too, including stunning riverside walks, rock climbing and so on.