Beside the River Severn

So … out of sequence, our (Alec and me) great walk starts here, in Chepstow. A train ride and then a gentle walk through the town (stopping only to get some pork pies and water from Tesco) and we start the Wales Coastal Path – having done two stretches of it a couple of weeks before – here and here. The walk starts on the old bridge, originally the lowest crossing across the Wye and a fitting place to start any long-distance walk near to where the Offas Dyke Path joins the Severn River.
Severnside (1 of 16)

The Google Map shows the 11.6 miles we walked today, a varied walk with loads of interest and great vistas of the Severn Crossings.

The bridge is decorated with colourful flower boxes, the castle dominates the landscape and we arrive just after a high perigean spring tide, allowing the Wye to look its best!
Severnside (4 of 16)

Enough of geography and oceanography though. We walked up the hill and through one of the town wall gates and from there through housing developments until the path emerged into woodland and eventually open countryside – allowing us to see the river and the estuary in the distance. The two bridges were to dominate our walk today.
Severnside (6 of 16)

Approaching Black Rock – the Second Severn Crossing.
Severnside (8 of 16)

Before you pass under the magnificent Second Severn Crossing road bridge you walk through the Black Rock nature reserve. Definitely a place to re-visit as was Sudbrook, just a little further on, where the village grew up around its massive pumping station – built to keep the Severn Railway Tunnel free from flooding. The village has its own little museum which I must re-visit – possibly on a Friday (but the reason for that must wait for another day).
Severnside (10 of 16)

So once through Sudbrook you truly feel that you have started your walk along the Severn. The size of the new bridge is just staggering as you approach it and then walk underneath it.
Severnside (11 of 16)

One of the many thistles we’ve seen on our walks this summer.
Severnside (12 of 16)

A last look at the bridge before we head inland towards Caldicot. The Caldicot and Wentloog Levels, sometimes called the Gwent or Monmouthshire Levels have both a historic and environmental significance and it was good over two walks to get to know them better.
Severnside (13 of 16)

The stretch from the bridge to Severn Tunnel Junction is generally lacking in variety. The wetlands provide interest for their birdlife, butterflies were everywhere, but the scenery is big and unchanging. None more so than the long trek up the road from the footbridge where we crossed the M4 to the station.
Severnside (16 of 16)

If you have the time, you can see these images, and a few more, on Google+ Photos (Picasaweb).

Here’s the Google Map of the walk …

A fast walk in the woods

Chris Brydone on a flying visit to us suggested a walk; I offered him four possibilities – this is the one he chose; not that I’m into blame you understand, just that I knew how it was going to end up knowing that Chris needed to be in Bristol by 16:30 the same day!

So … I give you “Wye Valley Yomp” …

Wye Valley Yomp at EveryTrail

The real challenge with this walk is the amount of time you spend in the forest. The morning is OK, you’ve got Offa’s Dyke to look out for, some impressive real estate, quarries and possibly some bird and animal life. We had the challenge of finding the right path off The Offa’s Dyke Trail to get down to Tintern – we failed and found ourselves on a very overgrown trail; machetes would have been useful – but it’s a good walk.

No the problem is the afternoon, a really long path leading up towards the ridge out of Tintern should be a warning; it’s not the climbing that’s the problem – it’s the unrelenting woodland. Only when you get to Eagle’s Nest, and again at The Alcove do you see the River Wye and these views are splendid. It’s just that they’re both accessible from the Tintern – Chepstow Road and you don’t need to walk through miles of woodland to get to them! The 365 Steps are a challenge too. I’ve only gone down them towards the end of this walk so far, when I’m getting tired – they’re challenging and slippery in places too. I’m guessing that they’re easier to go up than come down.

In between the morning and afternoon was a lunch break at Tintern and here we can give a thumbs up to The Rose and Crown – a good pint of Hancocks HB and a nice plate of ham sandwiches and steak and kidney pie set us up well.