Places & Spaces
Mordiford Gem Of A View by Mark Jickells
Elevate Amid the Wye
The Wye Valley Walk plays host to some inspiring features
you might miss as you crush the miles as some good friends put it. There are those however that like to slow down and step off trail and soak up what's there. If you're that type then this page might be right up your path. We include points of interest that are beyond the Wye Valley Walk elsewhere in the catchment. They're labeled W.C (Wye Catchment) whereas features on trail are labeled W.V.W (Wye Valley Walk)
Hendre Farmstead/Upper Wye
W.V.W. The Hendre is a beautiful snapshot into the Upper Wye Valley's past life. This old whitewashed cottage or farmstead on the Wye Valley Walk really speaks of an age where low tech prevailed and where the upper Wye stood almost unknown to the outside world. Definitely worth walking through and checking out briefly. For Location a few miles West of Llangurig click here.
Robert Gibbings Cottage/Upper Wye
W.C. Known for his classic book 'Coming Down the Wye,' which chronicles life in the Upper Wye Valley during the 1940's Robert Gibbings wrote the book in a small cottage beside Marsh's Pool. Tucked away in the back hills a few kilometers North East of Llangurig it makes for a pretty and peaceful walk and an emotive one if you are a fan of the book. For location click here.
W.C. The Bidno Valley is home to the Wye's Afon Bidno and the Southern edge of the Hafren Forest. It's a secluded valley West of Llangurig that's off the tourist trail. The feel is one of wildness and lumber when considering forest works. Worth a visit if into solitude. For location see link above or click here.
Image by John Lucas geograph.org.uk
Nant Y Dernol
W.V.W. What can we say about the Nant Y Dernol. It's a favorite spot that's on the Wye Valley Walk yet off the tourist trail. There is a magic here that speaks of something old. If not on the W.V.W You can do a loop walk from Llangurig (working on that), which takes in the valley and part of the W.V.W. As you come over the top from Blaen Y Cwm it's an impressive site, which you have to take in if it's not full of clag. Definitely a hidden gem of a section of about 8 miles. Click here for the mid way point.
Gilfach Nature Reserve & Valley
W.V.W. Definitely a gem in the Wye Valley on the Wye Valley Walk. Home to the Afon Marteg (see diary) and at the base of Gamallt Gilfach was saved from commercial purchase and is now a rich reserve in the Cambrian Mountains with over a quarter of Welsh Lichen present. There also are spawning Salmon, waterfalls, walks, wild flower meadows, a cathedral like valley and mixed woodland. It's a dream on a nice day. Click here for location or here for Radnorshire Wildlife page.
W.C. If in the Elan Valley visit the Dol y mynach the unfinished dam in the fantastic Claerwen Valley, which is home to the Claerwen a sub tributary of the Wye. Dolymynach means "monk's meadow", which may indicate a link to one of the Abbeys in the area. Whatever the history to the place it's a peaceful space that's home to a myriad of wild life and wild fowl. Some planning mistakes it appears work out for the best. For location click here.
Image by Phillip Halling geograph.org.uk
W.C. Nestled 10KM West from the Wye Valley is the village of Abbey Cwm Hir the "Abbey in the Long Valley," which is home to the ruins of an 11th C Cistercian Abbey the largest in Wales but was never completed. Llywelyn ap Gruffudd is said to be buried there amid what is a deeply wooded vale that sees the Clywedog Brook flow through it and then on into the Ithon that feeds the Wye. It's an incredibly beautiful wooded valley in the heart of Mid Wales worth exploring on foot or by car.
Image by Andrew Hill geograph.org.uk
W.C. The Abergwesyn Common is a huge wild area in the Cambrian mountains. It's home to the river Irfon a tributary of the Wye. It stretches for 12 miles between the Nant Irfon valley in the west and Llanwrthwl in the east. The area is peppered with archeological sites dating back thousands of years, including Bronze Age ritual sites and medieval villages that melt into the mountains. The Abergwesyn valley with the Wolfs Leap pools and or falls is worth, swimming whilst the valley makes for a great hike or drive through.
Cwm Gwesyn Waterfalls
W.C. Sgwrd-y-ffrwd waterfall tucked away in Cwm Gwesyn is an impressive falls. Part of the Abergwesyn Common it cascades down from just below the summit of Drygarn Fawr one of the highest and most interesting historic points in the area (see Drygarn Fawr) then enters the Afon irfon before entering the Wye at Builth Wells. This is a remote spot, which will suit most trail heads out there. Also check out Cwm Coel Waterfall walk to the North in the Elan Valley. This is a water world!
Image by Jonathan Billinger geograph.org.uk
Bryn Titli Wind Farm
W.C. Not many know that the first wind farm in Wales was actually Bryn Titli in the upper Wye Valley erected in 1994. Travel out of Rhayader on the A470 to Llangurig and its above you on a plateau (see here for location). A remote space well out of view it's ideal for exploring on your own. It consists of 22 turbines with a capcity of 450KW - total 9,900 KW. They are 37 meters in diameter and have until 2027 to run. Nearby there are some great Cwms and valleys and a site of special scientific Interest.
Image by Colin Chambers geograph.org.uk
Gamallt View & Sit Spot
W.V.W. Racing along the A470 to Aberystwyth just beyond Rhayader you'll pass by Gilfach Nature Reserve on your right and a small layby to the left just beyond the old Marteg bridge. There's usually a tea van there but many do not think to stop and walk over the foot bridge just 10 minutes beyond the Wye and sit in awe at the Gamallt view. Gamallt rises 250 meters shear from the valley bottom. With Yr Wylon to the left and Cerrig Gwalch to the front and right also it's arena like. It's certainly a gem of a space that gives the Wye Valley Walk some perspective to.
W.V.W. The Old Swan on West St in Rhayader is often overlooked for the towns memorial clock tower that stands opposite. It's seems to be invisible amid the hustler and bustle of this Wye Valley mountain town said to be the capital of the outdoors in Wales. But notice the rad Chimney. This is the oldest building in Rhayader. In the 16th C it was an Inn. Since then it's been a hardware shop, saddlers, butcher's, and a Tourist Information Office. Today you can get some good food and a nice brew to go at the Old Swan Tea Rooms.
Image by Jaggery geograph.org.uk
Lost Arc Venue
W.V.W. The Lost Arc music venue could be overlooked if staying over. We came across it hiking whereupon we met Paul the restorer. With a mill on site in the 11th and 18th C it became a leather works where tanning used to take place also. Since then it's been a cinema, a shooting range, a private residence and a Mace supermarket. Today it's the Lost Arc music and arts venue that's going through extensive changes. Well worth attending. Further down river are the Rhayader falls, which the town takes its name after.
Image from off Lost Arc Facebook
Elan Confluence Sit Spot
W.V.W. South of Rhayader on the Wye Valley Walk on the confluence of the Elan there is a beautiful sit spot nestled beside the Wye and Elan at the base of Gwastedyn Hill 477 meters. A Wye tributary the Elan flows through the Elan dam system that was constructed in the 1890's. From here both river vales can be seen as well as Otter if you are fortunate enough like we were on the Wye Valley Walk. To your rear is a footbridge going over the Elan, which makes for a nice approach. Sit in splendor or swim as it makes for a cool scenic swimming pool also.
Carngafallt Nature Reserve
W.C. Walking up from the Elan on the Wye Valley Walk you pass an old cottage. A short distance further up West you enter Carngafallt Nature Reserve. An RSPB reserve hosts a plethora of Oaks and veteran trees that are cloaked in Lychens. With moorland on site it's a rich mix of habitat that sees Red Kite and a range of migrant birds like redstarts and whinchats visit. In late summer the riot of color compliments the abundant sounds and scenes. It's a great space. For details see link above.
Image by Trevor Littlewood geograph.org.uk
Llanwrthwl Standing Stone
W.V.W. Without doubt something you would miss if you were crushing miles. The unusual standing stone in the Llanwrthwl St Gwrthwl's Church yard is said to date to around 2-3000 BC making it late Bronze Age. There's nothing to substantiate it but the stone is apparently sacrificial making it somewhat of a bloody relic. Besides the standing stone the church has a font inside with 4 faces. It's dated to at least 12th century, maybe much earlier. It's worth taking a look especially the odd standing stone in the yard, which is food for thought.
Penbont House Cosmic Cwtsh
W.C. We've put Penbont House in as the home of stargazing in the Elan Valley. The whole area though is a dark sky reserve, which means there is little light pollution wherever you are in the Cambrian Mountains so ideal for strgazing. The Cosmic Cwtsh is a hidden gem of an event where you can get together with experts in the field and like thinking people. Penbont House was formerly a farm house and is a hotel and bunkhouse. It's a Great base for exploring, not just the skies, but the mountains to.
Image by Alun Hughes. Facebook
Cors Y Llyn Nr Builth Wells
W.C. Cors Y Llyn North of the market town of Builth Wells in the Wye Valley is a wild flower meadow and a mire habitat that's made up of a quagmire of peat-forming plants beside the Wye. As a remnant of the last ice age it's a gem of a space that's home to more than 100 flowering species. If you're in a wheelchair you can follow the grassy meadow and get onto the boardwalk, which will allow you to penetrate the bogland that's home to many amphibians.
Image by Phillip Halling geograph.org
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W.C The Thomas Museum Shop in Penybont is the most unusual shop/store you'll come across in the Wye catchment. Situated right on the river Ithon a major left bank tributary of the Wye it's deeply routed in the history and culture of Radnorshire. The store stocks authentic goods from the period between 1805 and 1958, the years when the Thomas Shop flourished. It truly is a time capsule that will fascinate you as a hiker or your family if on a day out. To the rear is a cafe area where you can sit beside the river and enjoy views of Llandegly Rocks. For more details go to the Thomas Shop. Or click video right.
Aberedw Rocks & Cave
W.C. Aberedw Rocks almost mid way along the Wye rises 200 meters above the Wye South East of Builth Wells. A series of rocky outcrops made up of sandstones and siltstones laid down during the Silurian Period the rocks have a remote undiscovered air about them. With Llandeilo hill forming a large plateau to its East there are miles of tracks to walk with views overlooking the Black Mountains to the East and central Brecon Beacons to the South. Down below is a magnificent view of the Wye with Llewelyns Cave tucked away into the rock. Great vibe around here. For video clip click here.
Llanstephan Bridge & Salmon Leap
W.V.W. With the Black Mountains just peering through Llanstephan Bridge has one of the most alluring views in the whole of the mid to Upper Wye Valley. Built by David Powell and Co in 1922 (see old photo) it spans 81 meters across this beautiful stretch of the Wye and is the only wooden decked suspension bridge open to traffic across the river Wye. Similar to the old Elan Bridge, which was built by the same people it's a great walk across and presumably drive. Nearby is another gem where, in season you can observe Salmon leaping over the Llangoed rapids (see Chapel Catch). Everything here is worth your time.
Fynnon Gynydd Well
W.C. We had to get this well in not far from the Wye Valley 3 KM North from Glasbury in the hamlet of Ffynnon Gynydd. It's the most interesting well house with a plentiful supply of water coming from a field not far away. You can imagine how it was collecting water - there was a fifferent appreciation for it back then. If you like you can sit inside it and if hiking through replenish easily. The memorial stone to Walter Fenwick De Winton son of Sir Francis is a bit colonial but that was the era. For a memorial well it's worth a visit. Nearby also are the Begwns.
Image by: Humphrey Bolton geograph.org.uk
W.C. The Brechfa Pools are in a really peaceful spot one that offers incredible views of the Central Brecon Beacons to. It's so easily missed because it's off the main drag. However, the plateau type feel and its isolated position not far from the Wye enables you to enjoy the views and this Site of Special Scientific interest and all its rare freshwater species without to much bother. It's situated a few miles West of Bronllys off the A470. Walking further West to Mynydd fforest is recommended.
W.C. Crickadarn is beside the Wye Valley about six miles south of Builth Wells off the A479. It was the film location for the cult movie An American Werewolf In London. If you're a fan of the slaughtered lamb scene (You made me miss) it's worth a visit. The film features a statue of the ‘Angel of Death,' which was a prop everything else was and is real. It's not far from the Wye Valley Walk and Erwood as well as Talgarth with good walks in the area. For a video on film location click here.
Glasbury Scout Hut
W.V.W. It's an odd choice in the world of touring or hiking about but we're geeks for the outdoors so we included the oldest Scout Hut in Wales at Glasbury. Lord Baden Powell opened it in the early 1920's and it still serves the local scout group today. If you're on the Wye Valley Walk or in the general area peer in it's a real time warp. Think 'Dead Poets Society,' and you get the drift. It's situated right next to the bridge over the Wye at Glasbury.
W.C. The Gospel Pass is the highest road pass in Wales on the boarder with Wales and Herefordshire. Cutting through the mighty Hay Bluff and Twmpa at 549 meters in the Black Mountains it enters the Vale of Ewyas to a spectacular view. Down below is the river Honddu that feeds the Wye via the Monnow, the quaint Capel Y Ffin chapel, monastery and Llanthony Priory. Home to traditional hill farms this slow paced valley accessed by way of the pass was the intro scene to the antiques roadshow to. The Wye catchment is a real surprise when you start to dig deeper into it. For location click here.
Wonky Cwmyoy Church
W.C. Pictures of the odd looking Cwmyoy church can be seen in blogs, websites and social media yet it still seems to retain some sense of privacy. Established in the 12th C it began to lean as a result of a landslide. The style of the church is Gothic with a Chancel, nave, south porch, and western tower. The north window dates to the 12th century while the nave roof has been dated to the late 13th or early 14th century. This quirky place is well worth exploring beside the river Honddu in the Black Mountains. Also check out the 16th C Ty-Hwnt-y-Bwlch Farmhouse up the same track - it's awesome. Click for Cwmyoy location.
The Olchon Valley & Dark Skies
W.C. Many people know of the Vale of Ewyas where Llanthony Priory is and a handful know of the Dark Sky reserve there but few consider the Olchon Valley on the other side of the Hatterall Ridge where the Offa's Dyke and Black Mountain plays host to walkers from all over the world. Nestled between the ridge, the Black Mountain and the Black Hill further East is the Olchon Valley a majestic space in the county of Herefordshire that awaits discovery. Home to the Olchon Brook it flows into the river Monnow then the Wye at Monmouth. As A Wye Valley it's well worth exploring as is the area further downstream.
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W.C Llywelyn's cave is situated at the base of Aberedw Rocks in the Wye Valley just South of Builth Wells and north of Erwood. It's said to be the hiding place from the English in 1282 of the last native Prince of Wales Llywelyn ap Gruffydd. The story goes that he turned to the people of Builth at the castle but was turned away upon which he turned to a local blacksmith to have the shoes of his horse turned backwards, so as to fool the following English troops. His escape took him to behind Aberedw village and castle where he his in the cave. Later he headed back for Builth and was arrested and killed. For video see right.
Llandegley Rocks by Paul Jickells
Discovery Is Nourishing
Four Standing Stones
W.C. The Walton Basin West of Kington Herefordshire is a real gem of a space historically. Home to the Radnor Forest one of the largest watersheds in the Wye system it's also home to the 4 standing stones. With no relation to an ancient burial chamber the four stones are of a 'poster' type configuration. Although common in prehistoric Scotland the setting of these ancient stones is odd this far south. If in the area we like to sit here. With the forest and the big mid wales hills not far away it's very peaceful. Of course the area is a stone seekers heaven.
W.C. Besides ancient standing stones there are fascinating eco systems in the Radnor Forest area and on the Herefordshire border to. Stanner Rocks West of Kington in Herefordshire is a fine example. This national reserve in the Arrow catchment area is a paradise for people interested in rare British plants that are associated with the Mediterranean. If you want to see the Radnor Lily Public access is from an entrance leading into the former quarry. Views of Hergest Ridge and Hanter Hill from the ledge above are fantastic.
Pwll Y Wrach Twin Waterfalls
W.C. The twin falls at Pwll Y Wrach nature reserve (Car Park) are a splendid sight amid the hard rock ledge the water tumbles over. Fed by the river Ennig a Wye tributary that starts in the Cwm Y Nant in the Black Mountains the pool is made possible by way of softer mudstone. The name means Witches Pool and it is located in a woodland valley that's of special scientific Interest. From the car park descend into the woodlad gorge and follow the mountain stream (Ennig) to the falls.
Gilwern Brook Gorge
W.C. Close to the source of the River Arrow the Gilwern Brook that feeds the Arrow (see diary) then ultimately the Wye via the Lugg is home to a steep sided valley and or gorge that is truly impressive for what you would consider standard hills in Mid Wales on the border with Herefordshire. It's enough to observe it from the North looking South but you could if you put your off piste head on scramble up it. For sure a great adventure would await. It's situated 11 KM West of Kington off the A44.
Howitzer Twyn Y Garth
W.V.W. The German Howitzer on top of Twyn Y Garth faces South towards the Central Brecon Beacons and was purchased after the first world war by Nessa Williams-Vaughan daughter of Mr and Mrs Vaughan of Llandeilo Graban. Her brother died in the great war during 1916 and she wanted to honor his life and other locals by placing it on the hill. Access can be gained from Erwood Craft Centre - the views of the Black Mountains and Wye valley are epic.
Water Breaks Its Neck
W.C. Water Breaks Its Neck is situated in Warren Wood in the Radnor Forest in what was a hunting ground for Norman Kings. In the midst of towering beeches, oaks and conifers planted in the 1800s for Victorian scenic beauty the water tumbles in high spate from 40 feet above into a cavern like space that's dripping wet and magically green. With great walks Location this place is a dream. Above at source we've seen Short Eared Owl - Keep an eye out to for Red Kite.
W.C. Situated on the edge of the Radnor Forest Llandegley Rocks is internationally known for its fossils and trilobites. Once part of an ancient volcanic complex the story this sprawling mass of hills tells is fascinating. If coming in by bus access is via Llandegley village. The summit is 436 meters high and affords the walker views across to the Radnor Forest and into the Cambrian Mountains. It is the source of the River Edw a left bank tributary of the Wye, which enters the Wye at Aberedw. Well worth a day out. Nearby is the Alpine Bridge.
Ice Age Pools
W.C. Few people know that in the county of Herefordshire and often within the Wye catchment there are numerous ponds that date back thousands of year to the last ice age. Called 'Ice Age Ponds,' Their value in terms of ecology is priceless, which is why Herefordshire Nature Trust is protecting the ponds considered to be unique in the world. They're also devising walks and trails around them so that we can enjoy the spaces and be informed. For immediate access see Titley Pool, which is in the Arrow catchment.
W.V.W. On the Wye valley Walk in Herefordshire the Monnington Mile is an impressive linear walk. Built as a celebration in the 17th Century it's a beguiling tree lined avenue of fir trees that visitors to Monnington House and locals alike enjoy in all seasons. Nature abounds everywhere and we have even seen grass snakes soaking up the sun. With the Wye and orchards not far away there are a series of walks to immerse yourself in. It's a formal space in the heart of the Wye Valley but far out.
Gem Of A Gorge
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W.C The river Ithon is one of the longest tributaries of the Wye. Starting just outside of Dolfor South of Newton it's mid point flows passed the Radnor Forest, Llandegely Rocks and on through to Llandrindod Wells. But before it reaches the mid Wales town it flows through a spectacular hidden gorge that the Victorians coveted as they took the waters in the area. It was revered so much so that they created a scenic walk and built a bridge known as the Alpine bridge because the gorge was a reminder of alpine regions on the European continent. It is beautiful and worth a walk. For a video passing through see right.
White Castle by Paul Jickells
Far Out - Digging This Place
Moccas Chapel & Park
W.C. Moccas is named after the Welsh "mochyn" (moor) and "rhos" Moc Rhos meaning swine pig. The Chapel at Moccas dates back to the 11th C. The Chapel or church is an original Norman 3-celled apsidal church, which hasn't changed in nearly 1000 years. It sits on the Moccas estate, which is part of the greater Moccas Park that's home to the greatest collection of ancient Oak in the UK. It truly is a spectacular area amid the Wye - well worth a visit. The park isn't accessible and is run and managed by Natural England but you can view it from outside in awe. For location click here.
Image by greatenglishchurches
W.C. Situated on the banks of the Wye West of Hereford Weir Gardens was established in the 1920s by Roger Parr and his gardener. It covers 10 acres of sloping land along the River Wye. There are some unusual features amid the varied planting such as a rustic hut, designed by Roger Parr as a sheltered spot to watch the river during bad weather. The floor of the hut is made of white quartz, smooth river stones, and horse's teeth. The Weir is also where a massive Sturgeon fish was caught, which is now in the Hereford Museum. There are also Roman remains. It's a real gem of a place.
Image by Chris Allen geograph.org.uk
Waterworks Museum Hereford
W.V.W. Positioned beside the Wye on the outskirts of the city of Hereford the Waterworks Museum is known by many locals but not so much visitors. As far as the historical supply of water to the city is concerned it's a real gem of Victorian engineering. Visitors can see the UK’s widest range of working pumps and engines from across the West. As you learn about the history of the Broomy Hill Pumping Station you can also enjoy a picnic or ride a train with the kids if you have kids. It's an extraordinary place right beside the Wye where walks can be accessed to.
Image by Jaggery geograph.org.uk
Breinton Springs Hereford
W.V.W. There are many locals in Hereford not aware this spring is here placing it firmly in the gem category. We've been getting our water from this enchanting spring for many years and have always come away lifted. It's situated right beside the Wye beneath Lower Breinton church West of Hereford. With a sloping path down to the meadows it's easy to access. It's said by a dowser the water has a life force of 36. We imagine this means the water is amazing and yes it is. No doubt those who once lived in the medieval village and moated camp there thought so to. It's a scheduled ancient monument well worth communing with. For video click here.
Ross On Wye Walk
W.C. Everyone speaks of Ross on Wye, its tourism heritage and other things besides so we thought we'd include a 5.6 walk in the list that will take you out of town towards Backney Common and back again. The real gem in the walk is, not only the Wye, but the views back towards Ross on Wye that truly earns its reputation as a picturesque town in the UK. Your start point is the river side bandstand below the Devonian sandstone cliff. Upon your return you'll pass by the old course of the Wye, which is food for thought considering the time we're speaking of.
Image by: Ian Hughes geograph.org.uk
Shadowlands Movie Location
W.V.W. Anthony Hopkins is famous for his acting roles in which he plays emotive characters none more so than C. S. Lewis in the 1993 Movie Shadowlands. In it he plays Lewis who strikes up a relationship with Jewish American poet Joy Davidman. In the movie there's a scene prior to her death where they break from lifes strain and shelter from the rain in a barn where they speak of their love and their future. The barn (now a holiday cottage) is in the Valley below Coldwell Rocks (Location) and makes for a fantastic walk amid the woods and its cliffs. For video click here.
Seven Sisters View Spot
W.C./W.V.W. Yat Rock and or King Arthurs Cave are gems of the Wye Valley but we'd like to highlight the Limestone bluffs or spires not far from the aforementioned and just beyond the Biblins camp site near Symonds Yat simply because it's a great walk (or W.V.W detour) and view not known to everyone. Back in the Carboniferous period some 350 million years ago these bluffs (video) were part of a warm shallow sea. The sea retreated and the Wye found its way here carving out the gorge we see today. For location click here. For more interesting information go here or here for the Doward nearby - all gems.
Pinnacle Climbing Symonds Yat
W.C./W.V.W People come from all over to climb in the Wye Valley near Symonds Yat from amateurs to professionals such as Brummie Stokes and Bronco Lane formerly of the SAS who once trained here for their 1976 Everest Expedition. The Pinnacle (location) is one of the most notable places to climb. It's described as a characterful and adventurous crag by UK Climbing. If not climbing it makes for an entertaining spectacle (Youtube video) as people pick their way up the shear limestone tower. There are also decent trails in the area, the Rock Cafe selling refreshments and incredible views of the Wye down below.
W.C./W.V.W. Suck Stone? What a name. Situated not far from Symonds Yat and Lady Park Wood a site of special scientific Interest the Suck Stone is said to be the largest detached rock in the British isles weighing in at around 2,500 tons. That's some claim considering some of the rocks out there. Many have spent a long time trying to locate it in the High Meadows so do your prep for the woods are large and the stone is small. A weird twist for sure it being so big. If you'd like to have a brew beside the Suck Stone or simply photograph or be in its presence click here for location.
Image by Derek Harper geograph.org.uk
Dixton Church & Britain's Tsunami
W.C/W.V.W. Dixtons Church is an interesting church beside the Wye. Built in the 11th Century there is evidence of an earlier 7th C place of worship. What we find interesting are the flood records, which can be found on a wall inside. You might say it's hydrology study. One such flood, which dates back to the 16th C was particularly deadly and is referred to as Britain's Tsunami. If hiking by pay it a visit. Be advised the Wye Valley Walk doesn't currently pass here due to a landslide and has been redirected alongside the Peregrine Path another gem in the area.
Monnow Peninsula Sit Spot
W.V.W. When in town most people gravitate towards the old Monmouth Gate Bridge to sit beside the river Monnow. It's a great spot with the only fortified bridge of its kind in Britain in view but a short walk down river you get another fine sit spot at the confluence with the Monnow and the Wye. After flowing for almost 45 miles the Monnow enters the Wye at Monmouth just beyond some allotments. It's as if you're on a remote sandy peninsular and in fact you are. It's a super pleasant sit spot with the Ross/Monmouth Railway Steel girder bridge just beyond.
Penallt Church & Bench Life
W.C. Penallt Church is a real gem of a place. Built in the 13th C it has like a Tudor barrel-shaped ceiling. Down below is the most incredible wooden chest probably dating back to the same period or even earlier. Outside amid the grave stones is a welcome bench where you can take in a bit of bench life as well as the great views of the valley and hills surrounding Monmouth. Across the way is the Kymin another grand spot to visit in the valley. In front is the Offa's Dyke on top of thickly wooded Lords Grove making the whole scene totally ambrosial. Map.
Cleddon Falls & Bog
W.V.W. Cleddon Falls (map) is situated at the top of the thickly wooded East facing slopes of Celddon Shoots in the Wye Valley, which has a mix of Sessil Oaks, Beech, Ash and Alder trees. The mature appearance of the trees adds to the Mesmerizing nature of the stream that drops into an abyss and which flows in from the nature rich Cleddon Bogs further up stream. There are good walks in the area where you can park the car and walk in. The Whitestone Walk being one. Cleddon itself has a small parking area. You can get to the falls by using the 69 or the 65 buses.
W.C/W.V.W. It's said the Wye Valley was at the start of the industrial revolution in the UK. Since the 1600's the Angidy Valley, an off shoot of the Wye, had been producing wire for markets in Bristol and elsewhere. There bird cages, knitting needles, fishing hooks, and buckles were made but it was Tintern and the Angidy that supplied the raw material. Today the furnaces and pools that made all this possible are no longer although the upper pool is used now for fishing. It's a great valley to walk and explore. Car parking is near Tintern. You can get to the valley by using the 69 bus.
St Mary's Church Tintern
W.V.W. Above Tintern Abbey is St Mary's Church a much younger religious ruin than Tintern. Erected in 1866 a fire destroyed it in 1977. After decades left alone nature took hold and what we have now is a crumbly church consumed by it. As you stroll around the evocative site you'll notice roots penetrating the floor uncompromisingly whilst the stone walls are invaded by a green mass of foliage. The graveyard tombs appear otherworldly in their abandoned state of being adding an extra dimension to the scene. Map. For bus see No 69.
Image by: Alby Geograph.org.uk
W.C. We have a thing for wells and springs because water is put simply the one thing we can't do without and if presented in an enchanting way what better? The Virtuous Well (Map) just outside if Trellech is certainly enchanting especially when charms and offerings have gathered on the tree nearby. It's said by ancients that water is a gateway into other higher worlds so it's easy to see why water would be venerated in this way. The course of the well is thought to run beneath the 3 Trellech Harold Stones making for a somewhat sacred mix. It's certainly a mice spot that'll have you wondering.
Image by: Roy Parkhouse Geograph.org.uk
Tudor Docks & Abbey Mill
W.V.W. The history of the Tudor docks (Map) probably spans as far back as the 15 th C when the Angidy Iron works started. The docks were operated by a lock system allowing the river flat bottomed boats (trows) in and out without being affected by the difference in the tidal range. They were loaded with all the products manufactured in the valley. Today the docks are a pond filled with trout but you can still get a sense of how it once was especially with the old Mill on site, which forms a center piece in the Abbey Mill retail complex, which is worth checking out. For public transport see the 69 Bus.
Image by: Roy Parkhouse Geograph.org.uk
Wye Valley Greenway
W.C./Offa's Dyke. It's good that we make use of our industrial heritage by offering a route into the Wye Valley. The Wye Valley Greenway is a gem of a path open to cyclists and walkers. 3 KM in from Chepstow and we have the Tidenham Tunnel, which was the longest on the Chepstow to Monmouth Railway at (1,188 yards). It plays host to bats and their conservation and is only open during the day in season. There are some great projects on the path such as the 'floral mile,' which aims to showcase British Wild Flowers on route. With ancine woodland along the way it's makes for a great wall or cycle.
Image by: Roy Parkhouse Geograph.org.uk
Wyese To Explore
Look out for the map coming soon covering so much more that hasn't been included.