Chepstow Castle and Offa’s Dyke, 5th May

Lead: Graham:

Having had our activities curtailed by months of atrocious weather it was not surprising that spirits were high as eight of us prepared to set off from Chepstow Castle car park for our day’s walk.  Under blue skies and in warm sunshine we crossed the grade 1 listed nineteenth century bridge to begin the steep climb up Tutshill and join the Offa’s Dyke Path.  Although taken steadily, the exertion and the heat of the day emphasised the wisdom of dressing lightly and some indeed rolled up their trouser legs to gain the advantages of wearing shorts.  The route continued over open ground and narrow tracks, zigzagging past grand houses and gardens and on one stretch took us along the edge of vertiginous cliffs plunging down to the River Wye below.  A number of climbers were here preparing for a day clinging to the rock face.  Tree lined sections of the trail provided welcome shade and a convenient bus shelter allowed us to stop for refreshments away from the glare of the sun.

Pressing on we eventually turned east, away from Offa’s Dyke Path to gain the Gloucester Way and head back towards Chepstow.  The nature of the walk now changed, following an almost direct line over farmland before descending a shallow valley filled with the pungent aroma of wild garlic to emerge onto a narrow country road.  From a nearby bridge we were able to peer directly into the southern portal of the tunnel which would have taken trains on the Chepstow to Monmouth railway line to the bank of the Wye and Tintern. Long abandoned but with rails still in place we followed the edge of the cutting to reach another country lane.  After a brief road walk it was again into fields and a stop for lunch perched on some large boulders with, unfortunately, an uninspiring view of recent earth-moving work.  A little further on we turned away and rejoined Offa’s Path where there were more photogenic opportunities for the group picture.  Back down to the carpark we arrived with just time enough out of our four hour parking permit for a thoroughly deserved ice-cream.

5 may

The distance was a little over six miles and all along the spring flora and magnificent trees impressed as did the panoramic views over the Wye and Severn rivers.

Glorious weather throughout the day made it a walk to remember as did the entertaining company and friendly banter. Many thanks to all who participated.