Monday 3 March 2014

Offa's Dyke Path - Day 12: Monmouth to Chepstow

Sunday 26th January 2014 

My last full day of walking along the Offa's Dyke Path, from Monmouth down the Wye Valley to Chepstow 

Distance: 28.5km; Ascent: 1120m; Heavy rain followed by sunshine and blustery showers; Solo

I woke early this morning to check the updated weather forecast: the heavy rain was now forecast to end around lunchtime, so therefore I didn't hurry to set off as there was a chance I might get some dry weather walking done in the afternoon!  The boiler appeared to have been fixed overnight so I was actually able to have a shower before having breakfast and setting off walking in full waterproofs at around 9:30am.  The first ascent of the day brought me to the deserted grounds of The Kymin, from where there were reasonable views back down to Monmouth.

Looking W from The Kymin
The Kymin Roundhouse
After a short break in the rain on one of the handily located benches overlooking Monmouth, I followed the Offa's Dyke Path south to a good track, which gave quick walking down to Redbrook.  After a section of road walking through the village, I began to ascend again - this time on a very wet path with views back to the old railway bridge at Lower Redbrook.

A wet morning near Lower Redbrook
Soon I met up with the Offa's Dyke again, for the first time since Kington, and I followed it southwards through fields and woodland, some of it owned by the Woodland Trust.  By the time I reached the southern end of the woods it had finally stopped raining!  So I decided to stop for lunch at a usefully located picnic table by the deserted car park.

Bigsweir Bridge
From here I had a choice of routes as the map shows two alternatives for the Offa's Dyke Path.  Given the time I decided to take the riverside option, which is apparently the easier option.  I followed the pleasant riverside path, which was muddy in places, downstream next to the muddy waters of the River Wye.  About half-way between Bigsweir and Brockweir the path had been eroded by the river, which according to the Gloucestershire Council sign happened last May.  However by following the instructions on the sign I was able to negotiate a route around this bank slip and continue my progress downstream.

River Wye between Bigsweir and Brockweir
At Brockweir I stopped for a quick break on a handy bench overlooking Brockweir Quay, which was apparently the last tidal quay for boats travelling up the River Wye.

Brockweir Quay and Bridge
An ascent of almost 200m from Brockweir brought me back to the Offa's Dyke itself in Caswell Wood.  Continuing on through the woods, I came to a footpath sign that indicated that it was only another 6.5 miles to Sedbury Cliffs, where I would be finishing the Offa's Dyke Path tomorrow morning.

Back on the Offa's Dyke itself
Only 6.5 miles to go!
For much of this section, the views down into the Wye Valley were severely restricted by the woodland.  However at the Devil's Pulpit and Plumweir Cliff there were gaps in the trees, which afforded excellent views across the the valley to the remains of Tintern Abbey.

Tintern Abbey from the Devil's Pulpit
Tintern Abbey from Plumweir Cliff
After a bit more woodland walking I reached the busy B4228 road, which I followed for a few hundred metres before picking up a footpath again.  By now it was getting late and the light was beginning to fade, so when I next reached the B4228 road I decided to follow it instead.  There was a fine view into the valley from the top of Wintour's Leap - however I didn't linger long here as a hail storm had just arrived!  I continued along the B4228 to the northern edge of Tutshill, where I followed a combination of minor roads and paths down to the river at Chepstow's old bridge.  My accommodation for the evening lay a short walk away, opposite the castle, and I enjoyed a roast dinner that evening after my longest day's walking in several months.

See also my Social Hiking live map from the walk.


  1. Nice one Alistair, that's a good walk. We go to the Wye Valley next weekend - hopefully it has dried out a bit since you were there...

    1. Thanks Martin :-) It was a good day, even if it was very wet! Hopefully the weather will be more Spring-like for you next weekend.

  2. informative & helpful Alistair! this is a classic walk along the border of south east wales & west of England - going along offa's ancient border path & taking in the scenic valley splendour of the wye ... a Welsh walking delight!