Ross-On-Wye - Gateway to the Wye Valley
Just below Ross-on-Wye, Wilton Bridge was a major, ancient crossing point over the river Wye into South Wales from London and all points East (along the A40) and the Midlands. The main roads converged in the centre of Ross at the Market House. When the Severn Bridge was opened in 1966 there was finally a second more direct route into South Wales from London but traffic from the north still passes close by. The town is now bypassed and this newer road provides a spectacular view of Ross, with St Mary's parish church standing proud on the top of the escarpment.
Ross-on-Wye is the birthplace of the British tourist industry. In 1745, the rector, Dr John Egerton, started taking friends on boat trips down the Wye Valley from his rectory at Ross-on-Wye. The valley's beautiful scenery is still as awe inspiring today. Dotted down the valley you can see castles, churches and abbeys, mile upon mile of wooded hillside and fertile farm land. In 1782, William Gilpin's book "Observations of the River Wye" was published. This was the first illustrated tour guide to be published in Britain which helped establish Ross-on-Wye as a tourist destination.
You can still enjoy the river by hiring a canoe from one of the local companies. The area is known for a wide selection of top class, award winning restaurants and there is also a good selection of hotels and guest houses offering a variety of accommodation. Ross-on-Wye boasts a healthy business community with a range of companies offering support and many broad services.
Today, the town is know for its numerous independent shops, picturesque streets and market square with its impressive sandstone Market House. Regular Thursday and Saturday markets are held in the town centre, which attract visitors and locals to the town.
Behind the church you can find The Prospect, a recently restored public garden, offering a view of the famous horseshoe bend in the River Wye as well as pleasant views as far as the Black Mountains. Ross-on-Wye is a wonderful place to shop, relax and enjoy a quieter pace of life.