Ross-on-Wheels

PUBLISHED: 15:03 14 December 2009 | UPDATED: 09:13 09 October 2012

Buggy route sign

Buggy route sign

Sam Phillips of Ross Ramblers leads a buggy trip around the town.

Sam Phillips of Ross Ramblers leads a buggy trip around the town.


Start / Parking: The Bandstand, Wye Street, Ross-on-Wye.


Grid Ref: SO 596240.


Park in the road at the starting point


Maps: OS map; Explorer 189


Length: Approx four miles


Grade: Easy/moderate


Stiles: None


Refreshments: Cafs in Ross. Two pubs very close to the start


Toilets: In Wye Street near the start. (Disabled toilet needs a radar key).


In the Red Meadow car park, near Ross Town Swimming Pool at the Ryefield Centre




This walk is different from the normal country walk. In 2004 the Ross Group of the Ramblers, in association with the Ryefield Centre Leisure Link Club, devised a route around and through Ross that would be accessible to those using electrically powered shopping scooters and wheelchairs.



By ensuring the route did not have deep kerbs or steps it could be negotiated by users of children's buggies too, hence the name, The Ross Buggy Route.



At the time of writing the route is still not complete as a couple of dropped kerbs and a ramp have still to be installed. However, by making a couple of small detours, the route can be completed.



The Ross Group of the Ramblers would like to acknowledge to considerable help provided by Herefordshire Council Rights of Way Department in developing the route and the Highways department for, literally, smoothing the route.



The Wye Valley AONB has recently become involved and we thank it for providing the ramp near Ashfield Park School.



The route



1. Start on the asphalt path that leads to the river, on the opposite side of Wye Street from the Bandstand. Head towards the river and at the T-junction of paths, turn right. Follow this path alongside the river, past the Hope and Anchor Inn. The Hope and Anchor was a start point for the members of the gentry who undertook the Grand Tour when they set out to travel down the Wye. Outside the pub there is a set of steps. Alongside them is the new ramp that was installed as part of the Buggy Route, to provide access along the full length of the riverside to wheelchair-bound people.


After negotiating the ramp you are now on the Ropewalk, so called because its length was that of a standard length of rope and ropes were made here. In addition boats were built and wicker baskets made from the willow that grew in the withy beds, now no longer here.



2. Stop to admire the sculpture Swans in Flight by Walenty Pytel. This is one of three sculptures erected in 1997 as part of a scheme to brighten up the town. The path swings right and joins a road outside the entrance to Ross Rowing Club.



3. The club is the oldest sports club in Ross, being founded in 1870. It is enjoying a period of considerable success, especially with the Youth Squad. The huge amount of time and effort is paying off and crews regularly bring home trophies from all over the country. Turn right onto the road and head off the Ropewalk, travelling alongside the Rudhall Brook. The road meets a town street, Trenchard Street. Cross over and bear slightly to the left, crossing the brook as you do so. Go through a gate between the brook and a mural on the corrugated iron fence.



4. The mural, depicting wildlife in the area, was painted in 2009 and certainly brightens up an otherwise drab scene. Turn right to cross a bridge over the brook. Pass alongside Ross swimming Pool. Beside the Pool is a tall 'totem pole' sculpture, also showing local wildlife. It was erected in 2008 and carved in-situ. Near the front of the swimming pool is the memorial to the playwright, Dennis Potter



5. Although not a native of Ross, he was born in the Forest of Dean, he lived much of his life in Ross. The memorial, made of hand-made bricks, was designed by students of The John Kyrle High School, in Ross and shows representations of scenes from many of his plays. Don't forget to go round the back.


Walk away from the swimming pool, passing the public toilets on your left, and leave the car park through the gateway. You are now on Brookend Street. Cross the street and go left for about 50 yards. Turn right into a narrow alleyway. Continue up the alleyway to join another street. This is Millpond Street. Cross over and turn left and follow the pavement round into a large entrance road that services a tyre and exhaust company and Morrisons supermarket. Pass the tyre company on your left and continue along a footpath alongside the brook. This path goes behind the supermarket and emerges alongside the front of Morrisons. After crossing another small bridge over the brook, turn right and the go straight over the road and turn left.


Stop at the entrance to Smallbrook Gardens, to see a memorial on your right.



6. This is a reduced size version of the original monument that once stood where the roundabout outside the supermarket is positioned. It is in memory of James Richard Wallace Hall. He was responsible for bringing the railway to Ross in 1855, only for Dr Beeching to close it in 1964.


Continue until you reach Grammar School Close. Turn right, passing the entrance to The Larruperz Centre, then turn left. Head towards a brick building and turn right into its car park. This is the Ryefield Centre for people with learning disabilities. There are toilets inside that may be used. The Ryefield Centre used to be Ross Grammar School. The school opened in 1912 and merged with Overross School in 1979 to become the John Kyrle High School.


Leave the car park and turn right onto Ryefield Road, continue to the junction with Gloucester Road. Turn left and go slightly downhill, crossing to the other side at a convenient point. After about 150 yards cross a road that comes in from your right (Alton Road). Follow the path that passes in front of the Wolf Business Park until you reach the entrance to The Town and Country Trail.



8. Turn onto the trail and follow it for about 1.25 miles. The Trail follows the route of a section of the old Ross to Monmouth railway line. It is a delightful path that offers pleasant views up to Chase Hill, on the left. The wildlife seems particularly tame and birds do not fly off in alarm. You will emerge into a small car park after ascending a short, twisting climb. Go straight across the car park, cross over a road and continue on the track, past the playground on your right. On reaching the main road, cross it using the pedestrian controlled traffic lights. Go straight onto another track with a small stone marker on the left.



9. This marks the Betzdorf Walk. It, too, is part of the old railway line and this section has been designated The Betzdorf Walk in honour of Ross' German twin town, Betzdorf. Betzdorf is about 50 miles east and south of Cologne and families have been visiting one another for 30 years.


At a cross-road of paths turn right. Cross a suburban street and continue straight ahead between houses. Cross another street (Roman Way) and continue straight ahead along a footpath to the junction with Archenfield Road, opposite Cleeve Lane.


Turn right along Archenfield Road. Just past The Shrubbery, cross over and continue to the junction with Middleton Avenue. Turn left, into Middleton Avenue, and continue to the junction with Redhill Road, opposite Ashfield Park School. Go ahead, to the right of the school and to the right of a set of steps, and continue along Ashfield Park Avenue. This is a private road and poorly surfaced, but is passable. At the tee junction at the end of the road, turn right and continue to the next tee junction, opposite The Prince of Wales Inn. Turn left along the path that rises slightly, onto an area of Ross known as The Crossfields. This area has the Ross Tennis Centre, the putting green and Ross Bowling Club. It also has the Ross weather observatory.



10. This was built in 1859 and daily readings have been made here ever since. It is part of the Meteorology Office's chain of observatories round the country and is the reason that Ross is mentioned, occasionally, on the national forecast.


After passing the Bowling Club, turn left into Ross Parish Church churchyard. The Parish Church of St Mary the Virgin is 13th century and well worth a visit.



11. Go into the Prospect, on your left. The Prospect Gardens were laid out by John Kyrle in 1696 as a space for the people of the town to enjoy. Beneath the gardens is a large reservoir, the size of a large ballroom. When originally laid out there was also a fountain that many people would like to see replaced. These are just two of the many legacies that John Kyrle, known as The Man of Ross left. The Prospect is also the location of the town's War Memorial. It was moved in 2008 when, after the collapse of part of the retaining wall, preparations for rebuilding found remains of a Roman watch tower.


Retrace to the churchyard and turn left. In the lower right hand corner of the churchyard is the Plague Cross.



12. It looks like a preaching cross but actually commemorates 315 people who, in 1637, died of the plague 20 years before the Great Plague in London. Retrace through the churchyard and go through the gates you entered by. Turn left down Church Street. On you right are the lovely old Rudhall Almshouses. They were originally a 14th century hospital and were renovated by William Rudhall in 1575. They are now administered by The Churches Charitable Trust.


At the bottom of Church Street, turn left onto High Street. Just before reaching the junction at the top of the street, stop and look at the houses to the right of Ross Old Books. Note the blocked up doorways high in the walls. These were, originally at street level. However, when the new road, replacing Wye Street as the main route into Ross, was built in 1824 by Thomas Telford, the level of High Street was lowered to its present position.


At the end of High Street cross over to the front of The Man of Ross Inn. The pub has a nice comment on John Kyrle and another of Wylenty Patel's sculptures, this time of leaping salmon.


Pass down the steep slope of Wye Street, noting the house high on your left.



15. This has been modernised into a family house with decking and new windows. But notice the archway up the steps from street level. This building was the Ross Ice House where ice from the river would be taken in winter for use in the warmer months.


You have now completed the whole of the Ross Buggy Route and learned a very small amount of the history of Ross on the way.

Most Read

Latest from the Herefordshire Life