Golden Valley Nature Reserve in Wick is a beautiful woodland walk with spectacular views. It’s one of those walks that you might not even know about unless someone told you.
The pinnacle of the walk is nothing short of spectacular, with stunning views of the quarry that has mostly been filled with water. The valley, once full of heavy industrial activity, is a relic of times past where ochre and iron were mined. Nowadays, the whole area has been turned into an 8.8-hectare area rich wildlife haven, with its mature woodland and natural green corridor.
To get to the Golden Valley Nature Reserve, permission has been given to park at the Wick & Abson Village Hall (look out for the signs). The main entrance of the walk is at the end of Golden Valley Road. There are a couple of trails to explore at Golden Valley Nature Reserve:
• The Red Ochre Trail (1.35 miles) is fully accessible to wheelchairs and easy to walk. Just off the path, deposits of glittering red ochre which still coat some of the derelict structures of the old ochre works glitter red in the sunlight (warning: it can stain clothes). After a little walk, you will come to the picturesque old weir and a small waterfall cascading down into a deep pool. A haven for wildlife, you might even spot some crayfish! In the summer, the water level can get very low, so it may be suitable for your pup to splash around. But in the cooler months, the stream can get very fast and deep (up to 10 foot), so please use caution and make sure your pup is under control and doesn’t go in the river. We were lucky enough to visit in summer where Bella and other dogs got a chance to splash in the water. Leaving the weir, continue on the Red Ochre Trail following the circular, marked route back to the bridge, passing the outdoor classroom on the way.
• The Raven’s Rock Trail is very steep and rocky (wear trainers or good shoes), but it has the rewarding views of the Wick Quarry and the Cotswold Hills. Simply follow the Red Ochre Trail, and when you reach the weir, walk up the steps to go on to The Raven’s Rock Trail. We would highly recommend dogs on a lead when climbing the steep Raven’s Rock Trail as there are sheer edges just off the path. When you’re sure your pup is safely on a lead, continue uphill, where you will see spectacular views of the quarry lake. You can follow this trail around to take you past Folly Arch and through fields before it starts to loop back around.
We only saw one bin at the start of the walk, so please take your rubbish or dog bags with you to keep the woodland enjoyable for everyone else. There was also a sign asking for dogs to be on a lead, but many dogs we saw that day were off lead.
There is also some private woodland here, so please look out for the signs.
‘The site has a long history of heavy industrial workings on the site. There was an iron-founding industry at Wick from the mid-eighteenth century based on the water power provided by the River Boyd. In 1761 it was reported that there was an iron works and paper mill within the valley. The 1882 Ordnance Survey map shows a rolling mill and dam across the river and soon after records show that the internationally renowned ochre processing works were in operation in 1895. The works remained on the site up until 1968 when it was closed down. Two years later the buildings were demolished and the site was cleared and left for nature to reclaim.’
As this is a community website, please keep your comments helpful and positive, thanks! 😊