Symonds Yat West is on the Herefordshire side of the river and Symonds Yat East is on the Gloucestershire side. The only connection between the two banks is by two ancient hand ("pull") cable ferries by which for a small fee the ferryman pulls people across the river using an overhead rope. The only connection by road is upstream over Huntsham bridge; this is a five mile trip.
Symonds Yat Rock is a scenic viewpoint towering 120 metres (394 feet) above the river on the Gloucestershire side. From this viewpoint it is possible, between April and August, to witness peregrine falcons nesting on the cliff side. Volunteers from the RSPB help visitors to use telescopes provided in a joint project with Forest Enterprise, owners of the site. Yat Rock is a popular location for climbers. Some of the climbs are dangerous and have cost lives so climbs need to be planned carefully. In general there are much better and safer climbs in other areas of the forest. However, the 'improvements and safety walls' have without doubt spoiled the effect and the wildness of the site.
The river at Symonds Yat has cut a deep gorge in the Carboniferous Limestone exposing many impressive cliff faces. At nearby 'King Arthur's cave' on the Great Doward, there have been many important archaeological discoveries including the remains of a hyena family and Sabre-toothed Tiger bones. However, the cave has been so badly examined that the whole of the main gallery at the entrance has been removed leaving just a few small tunnels.
Popular tourist activities in the area include canoeing and kayaking down the rapids, boat trips, a maze, an oriental garden and many country pubs. The Old Court Hotel in Symonds Yat West was the ancestral home of the Gwillim family and was home to John Graves Simcoe, who was governor and one of the founding fathers of Upper Canada.
Symonds Yat was featured on the 2005 TV programme Seven Natural Wonders as one of the wonders of the West Country.
The name is said to come from Robert Symonds, a 17-th century sheriff of Herefordshire, plus "yat" as an old word for a gate or pass.
Country & Farming: Forestry Commission Giving Pounds 10,000 to Support Scheme to Improve the Ecology of the River Wye; ENVIRONMENT: Money Will Be Spent on Improving the Banks of Salmon River
Jun 04, 2002; Byline: CARL YAPP A RESTORATION scheme on the River Wye is to receive pounds 10,000 from the Forestry Commission which will be...