Friday saw me with a modicum of time to go out and about. However, being on a 2-10pm shift doesn’t give too many options for a long walk. In the end I settled for a quick bimble along the Wye Valley, which just happens to be on the way to work. I opted for a short walk alongside the River Wye on the old tracks of the Wye Valley Railway, courtesy of Dr Beeching. The railway line used to run from Chepstow up to Monmouth via Tintern and wind its way along the glorious Wye Valley. The trackbeds are mostly still there although only one railway bridge actually remains. I parked the car at Redbrook, which is a lovely little village but the kind of place that if you blink you will miss.
I made my way across the river via a footbridge that has been abbutted to the old railway bridge straddling the Wye. On the far bank (the Welsh side), there is a wonderful old pub called the Boat. Its very much a spit and sawdust kind of place but sells a great range of real ales and from here you can watch the Wye wind its way down to Chepstow and the sea.
If you are lucky, you can also sometime see the Salmon swimming and very occasionally jumping in the Wye. Today, the river was swollen and fast having had a large volume of water dumped via rain further upstream. The Wye actually originates in North Wales on the flanks of Plynlimon.
From here, I followed the old railway track along the banks of the River Wye down towards Bigsweir Bridge where the remains of a Toll-house can still be seen. Across the bridge, and up into the woods on the slight hilly rise from beside the river, I walked abreast Offa’s Dyke. It was extremely peaceful and quiet as I made my way over tangled tree roots and through leaf litter. Eventually I dropped down from the Dyke, out of the woods and down back towards Redbrook again and the car.
Its not a huge walk being around 7 miles but it gave me a chance to walk for 2 or 3 hours before going into work. Its a favourite little walk of mine as it has so much to offer: a river, woods, a bit of history and of course a very decent pint at the end of it. I have in the past spent many a pleasant afternoon sat in a snug in the The Boat reading or watching the River Wye speed by.
It is an extremely nice spot to sit and think……