The Golden Valley
The Golden Valley, the valley of the River Dore, is an area of outstanding landscape significance which is recognised as such both nationally and internationally.
The Dore River is a bit of a misnomer, it’s not really a river - more a stream. The Dore is about 20 miles long, 10 feet wide and of a depth of no more than 4 feet in normal conditions. It rises as a spring on Merbach Hill, just north of Dorstone, joining the River Monnow on the other side of Ewyas Harold.
The Golden Valley is also of considerable literary interest featuring, amongst other works, in the diaries of Francis Kilvert, and the novels of CS Lewis. It is no surprise that this area has become renowned for its beauty and attracts thousands of visitors each year, national and international, who in turn support the local economy.
The Neolithic burial chamber known as ‘Arthur’s Stone’ was located at its unrivalled position some five thousand years ago because of it spectacular and commanding location - it is interesting to note, that both the Neolithic peoples and we today appreciate the same things. On the opposite ridge to Arthur’s Stone across the valley atop Snodhill is perched Snodhill Castle, a recently preserved Norman Castle built around 1070s that some believe sits on the site of an older Iron Age hillfort.
The views over the valley from the Merbach are surely amongst the beautiful but sensitive in all the United Kingdom – sensitive because its beauty could so easily be destroyed by wrongful development.
It cannot be emphasised too strongly how commercial and industrial development in the form of intensive livestock, overuse of harmful chemicals, excessive transport, and poor quality construction will spoil, and more likely sabotage, this wonderful landscape for our and future generations.