On the first May Bank Holiday of 2013, a lively group took a walk organised by the Wye Valley Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty organisation. There were two surprises: (1) although it was a Bank Holiday weekend, the weather was glorious, and (2) even after a dismal winter and spring, the bluebells were out in full glory. The Wye Valley walk is long and varied, and the group walked the Piercefield Estate section near Chepstow. The estate was imaginatively landscaped in the 18th century by local grandee Valentine Morris. The Morris family accumulated great wealth from plantations in the Caribbean. Valentine Morris hired esteemed architect Sir John Soane – famous for his work on the Bank of England – to design the family home by the River Wye. The skeleton of the manor house still exists today. The house was surrounded by woods and gardens — landscaped with fanciful follies, including grottos, artificial caves, statues, and sheltered viewpoints. River Wye tours were very popular in the 18th century, and travellers would come to view the estate and walk the grounds. It is still possible to enjoy this same walk, even though a large section of the estate is now occupied by Chepstow Race Course!