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Ross-on-Wye for Visitors
By Sally Roberts

Introducing Ross-on-Wye

At the beginning of the nineteenth century, like many other towns, Ross was little more than a large village. In 1821 its population was put at 2,957, housed in 585 dwellings. The true wealth of Ross came from the land. Each Thursday people from the surrounding villages and farms paid their weekly visit to Ross, where livestock and produce were sold in the streets and at the Market place, which is generally accepted as being the heart of the town.

Today the Market House still remains the focal point of the town where twice weekly markets are held. The upper floor of the Market House now houses the Heritage Centre where regular exhibitions are held.

Tourism is one of the towns major industries, this is reflected by the range of accommodation that is available within the town. Visitors to the area receive a genuine, warm welcome all year round. Ross-on-Wye has a good range of shops from the small craft workshops to some of the larger High Street chains. With its excellent road network and M50 link Ross is an ideal base for touring the county of Herefordshire, Forest of Dean and Wales.

Dominating any view of Ross-on-Wye is the steep spire of St. Marys Church which reflects elegantly in the waters of the Wye and is especially attractive at night when illuminated against the dark sky. Built of red sandstone in the 13th century, St. Marys has some interesting features and is well worth a visit. Beside the church are the Prospect Gardens from which there is a stunning view point looking down on the horseshoe bend of River Wye curving beneath the town. The gardens were laid by The Man of Ross locally know as John Kyrle, a generous benefactor of the town of Ross, who lived between 1637 and 1725.

The River Wye

The river Wye flows 251km from its source in mid-Wales to Chepstow where it meets the River Seven. Throughout its length it changes from a rocky upland stream to a wide meandering river. Along its length it provides opportunities for a wide range of sporting and recreational activities. The stretch of river flowing through Ross-on-Wye attracts many canoeists, rafters, and rowers. Less strenuous pursuits include fishing or strolling along the river bank simply enjoying the peace and tranquillity of the river. Some of the major annual events that take place on the River include the 100-mile Raft Race, Ross Regatta to name but two. A full list of the events happening on the river can be obtained from the Tourist Information Centre. The Hedgehog

Over 1.500 years ago the Celts invaded the area around Ross. They set up the ancient kingdom of Ergyng meaning Land of the Hedgehog. The Saxons changed the name to Arkenfeld, which later became Archenfield. The hedgehog has been used locally over the years in number of ways, War memorials in the Church and Market House; the Kyrle family crest, Sports Clubs have it on their badges, as does the local John Kyrle High School, in the form of the Ross Coat of Arms.
Sally Roberts

Sally Roberts is the Visitor Promotions Officer for Herefordshire Council


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