We will probably all remember April 2018 as cold, wet and just generally miserable!
It was on just such a day that we took out a group of bloggers who were staying at Hidden Valley Yurts, a glamping site at Llanishen, near Chepstow. They were staying in the yurts for four days and taking part in a number of outdoor activities in the area including, gorge scrambling and canoeing and, as it turned out a very soggy walk.
Having met in Tintern we walked along the Welsh banks of the River Wye through The Old Station Tintern to the riverside village of Brockweir where we crossed the river into England and the Forest of Dean.
At The Old Station, on the Wye Valley Railway, we heard about the Circle of Legends, six wooden sculptures, each featuring a historical or mythological Welsh Character.
The River Wye at Brockweir is still tidal and the village was the furthest point upstream that sailing boats from Bristol could reach. North from here everything moved by man-hauled flat bottomed trows. Today Brockweir is a sleepy village but then it was a thriving port, and some say, a place of drunkenness, vice and violence. In the 1830’s it had seven pubs but no church when the historic Moravian Chapel was built to “save their souls”.
From Brockweir we followed a historic route on the English side of the river back to Tintern with its Cistercian abbey. Normally in late April there are bluebells in the woods around here but this year the wild garlic, normally abundant in March, had not even come into flower.
It was an enjoyable, but wet walk and was rounded off by a visit to The Anchor, a riverside pub in Tintern for tea and (very big) cakes and in the case of the guide, a well-earned beer!
Eight walkers and three dogs discovered two Forest of Dean rocks on the weekly walk from Whitemead, Parkend. Each rock has a Facebook page to document it’s travels. These had found their way to New Fancy viewpoint. However, the finders were visitors to the area so where on earth will the rocks turn up next?
It was pleasing to see that the Forest has dried a little since the recent rains and warmed a little following the departure of the “Beast from the East”.
Forestry plantations are usually planted with trees aligned in rows, This is not always obvious from the Forest tracks. Sometimes when looked at from the correct angle, light can be seen at the end of the rows as in the photo above.
Sometimes walkers encounter the unexpected in the woods.
Guests of the Tudor Farmhouse at Clearwell took a Boxing Day walk around the village. The forecast rain failed to materialise so the walkers enjoyed sunshine for most of the walk. They were shown some of the interesting structures that were built or improved by Caroline Dowager Countess of Dunraven such as the former Vicarage (above) They later saw the hand pump that supplied the vicarage with water.