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The River Wye


River Wye Survey - part 2

Saturday 7th October, 2006 - Hoarwithy to Wilton

The second leg of the project's survey of the River Wye. One of the canoes at Fawley.

There is some evidence and tradition that there was a crossing below Caradoc in Sellack to Pennoxstone in Kings Caple, but the main crossing between these two parishes was at Sellack Boat, where the ferry and ford were replaced by Sellack Bridge in 1895. At the Goose Neck bend of the river is the Broken Bank a wharf of 1745 on the Sellack side. It is possible that there was a crossing between Baysham and Poulstone as indicated by roads and tracks before reaching the Strangford Railway Bridge in use between 1855 to 1964. At the sharp bend was Stranguard Ford of 1763 and a bank suggesting a wharf below Strangford Farm.

Red Rail Ford. A ford here is recorded in 1652. It is certainly older.



The ford at Sellack Boat



Sellack Bridge



Broken Bank



Strangford ford



possible old wharf at Strangford



Strangford railway bridge



At Fawley Chapel a hollow-way leads to a ford crossing, which is traditionally believed to date from ancient times with a wharf adjoining. Part of an island was examined at How Caple near a mill site marked by Taylor in 1754, and just upstream the route of the towing  path crossed over to Underhill as shown in 1779 and 1808. It was later discovered that, below Lyndor Wood, a field at How Caple known as Lords Meadow in 1763 was  used as a wharf in 1791. 

Fawley, in Brockhampton parish



the site of Fawley ford



Island at How Caple



Lyndor Wood on the boundary of How Caple and Foy parishes

A great loop of the Wye winds around Foy to  Hole-in-the-Wall where the Gatehouse dating from 1799  was established as an alehouse ‘The Boatman’s Rest’ for the bargees and for those crossing to Ingestone. Barge horses crossed over from Ingestone to be stabled at Foy East, which was probably at the Gatehouse with its range of buildings and wharf site. The Upper Islands at Foy provided too fast a pace to investigate, but together with the Lower Islands were probably associated with the two mills, fishery and weir of 1369. Foy Bridge of 1876 was washed away by floods and replaced in 1921 providing a  dry link between East and West Foy. 

The Gatehouse, Hole-in-the-Wall, Foy



Upper Islands, Foy



Foy Bridge



Lower Islands Foy



Foy Church

From the lower Islands opposite Foy church the Wye sweeps alongside Brampton Abbotts to an ‘S’ bend where the Withy Bed of 1829 was once used for basket making. Beyond is Wilford, a crossing probably used by the Welsh when they raided Brampton Abbotts in the 12th century. Backney Common with its gravel beach lies on the right bank, and further islands have to be negotiated before Backney Railway Bridge of 1855 to 1964. No evidence between Backney Islands and the Rocks suggested a site of the medieval mill at Brampton Abbotts, but on the Bridstow side the Old Quarries were very visible.

Wilford, Brampton Abbotts



Backney Common



One of the canoes beaches at Backney



....and the party has a break


Backney Railway Bridge



Backney Islands



Passing the quarry at Bridstow


Wharf at Ashe, Bridstow

A substantial wharf was sighted below The Ashe before gliding under Bridstow Bridge of 1960 to the horseshoe bend around Ross, where the left bank including the wharf and Dock of 1839 were then in Bridstow parish. In the 1920s a ‘private ferry with punt’ was available at the foot of Wye Street.

Bridstow Bridge



Ross Dock



Wilton Castle



Wilton Bridge

The remains of  18th century wharfs, quayside and tow path are recognisable at Wilton above and below the bridge on the right bank. Wilton Bridge (built after the 1597 Act), replaced the former ford and ferry crossing marked by the shaft of a cross.

The remains of the ferry cross at Wilton.

In 1644 Colonel Edward Massey, the Parliamentarian governor of Gloucester, occupied Ross. He found the crossing of the Wye at Wilton bridge guarded by 30 musketeers from Goodrich Castle. The arch of Wilton bridge nearest the Hereford bank had been demolished and replaced by a drawbridge. Massey's cavalry, however, forded the river below the bridge and outflanked the guards, before overpowering them and driving them to Wilton Castle which they then entered. Many Royalists were killed their captain, Cassie, was wounded and taken prisoner with thirty-one of his men.

Wilton upper wharf



Wilton lower wharf



Wilton wharf and warehouse

Between Wilton and Weirend the overgrown banks of the Wye conceal  any evidence of the two Wilton water mills and Fulling Mill of 1324 or the ‘Old Ware’ of 1763 at Weirend.

Weir End


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This project was part-financed by the European Union (EAGGF) and DEFRA through the Herefordshire Rivers LEADER+ Programme.