My partner and I came across Whitney-on-Wye Toll Bridge as it was an ending point for a canoe trip from further down the Wye. It was such a lovely place that we decided to spend the following day there. This no doubt sounds a bizarre concept.. a day at a toll bridge, however, the new owners (Jan 2012) have made it their mission to develop the bridge into an attraction, thus preserving and promoting the heritage of the site. As it stands at present, the bridge boasts probably the tiniest shop and bar in the world.. chilled drinks including soft drinks, beer and even bottles of prosecco are available, with lashings of ice on demand. There are also snacks, delicious ice cream (try the honeycomb!) and an event shelter outside on the grassed area where you can order food - not your standard burgers I hasten to add.. I went for a mushroom and halloumi burger with salad and was offered a variety of relishes, of which I plumped for beetroot and horseradish :) Which brings me on to the service and hospitailty. It was a beautiful but very hot day and whilst I sat drinking tea, reading magazines and eating my lunch, I was plied with iced water no less that three times, without having asked. Both the owners were pleasant and welcoming but inobtrusively so.. my partner and I independently found out the history of the bridge and the best fishing spots! Which brings me on to the situation.. The River Wye slowly approaches the bridge (we were there at a time of low water, visitors will have to judge the river for themselves at their time of visit) and isn't plagued by the usual river traffic (apart from numerous canoes and kayaks) and is therefore great for swimming - I swam happily whilst my partner fished, marvelling at the shoals of minnows attempting to give me a fish pedicure whilst I recovered sitting at the edge.
There are toilets - very basic and not at all luxurious.. but that kind of thing doesn't bother me..it also has an old cold water shower outside the toilets if you should want to cool down or rinse off after swimming.
We will be returning, both as a couple and with the children. I hesitate to share this place as it feels like a special find and I naturally and selfishly want to keep it to ourselves and not find it inundated and changed the next time we visit.. but I think it so special that I think it worthy of promotion and support so that it isn't lost. Definitely an atttraction for those who enjoy natural beauty, don't need to be spoonfed entertainment and enjoy something unique with historic interest. And GREAT burgers :) At present not a wet weather activity for any long period of tiume as there is little in the way of shelter, but I understand this is in the pipeline.
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