We ran this walk on the blog previously, but think it’s particularly good at this time of the year with the spectacular sight of the leaves turning for autumn.
Length of route:
10 miles (approx 5 miles for shorter version)
- OS Explorer Map (1:25 000) – OL14
The Wye Valley is a beautiful part of Great Britain and this walk gives you some spectacular views as you head from Bigsweir Bridge, down the valley to the historic town of Chepstow. Having completed this walk as a teenager, fundraising for the school you’ll pass towards the end of the route, I can warn that it does get muddy and slippery at certain times of the year.
You’ll be following the Offa’s Dyke path down to Brockweir, before crossing the bridge and joining the Wye Valley Walk to head into Chepstow. If you’d like a slighter shorter version of the walk, you can always start at Tintern Abbey and join the Wye Valley Walk there. OS Explorer Map OL14 will be a valuable addition to your walking pack.
At Bigsweir Bridge you want to start from the east bank of the River Wye, walking down the valley with the river to your right. You’ll be following the Offa’s Dyke path down to Brockweir, which is sign-posted and marked on the OS Explorer Map, and the route closely follows the banks of the river as it winds down to Brockweir. At Brockweir you need to turn right to cross over the bridge that will see you leaving behind the Forest of Dean and stepping into Monmouthshire, Wales.
Once you’ve crossed the bridge you will need to head down some steps that are just before the bridge and continue straight ahead. You’re now following the Wye Valley Walk which is signposted and marked on the OS Explorer Map. En route you’ll pass a rustic sculpture before reaching Tintern Old Station (where you might want to pop in for a cup of tea). If not, your route runs along the line of a miniature railway, past a small group of sculptures and on towards the river. Turn right down some steps and head through the gates to join the riverside path.
Next, you’ll cross over two footbridges, through a gate, and across a churchyard. Go past a hotel and walk along a walled lane to the A466 road and turn left to walk into Tintern. After passing the Abbey Tea Rooms and the Royal George Hotel and before the turning to Tintern Abbey (it is worth a detour to check out the Abbey if you have a chance), the Wye Valley Walk turns right up a small road, away from the A466. The small road gradually narrows and becomes a track which you should follow into Limekiln Wood.
The track heads uphill, running alongside a stream and you will eventually turn left over a footbridge. Go up the steps, walking across to some more steps and then a short walk to a stile. At this point you need to walk diagonally across a field, aiming for a corner of the woods. Cross a stile and turn right. You’ll start to climb here and will arrive to the top of Blackcliff Wood, where you turn left and walk along the ridge. The footpath twists and turns for a mile or so before a right and left turn. Then you’ll pass a fence at the corner of a field and continue through the woods.
There are a couple of viewpoints in this area which are worth a short detour. If you decide to visit the Eagles Nest Viewpoint, you’ll see clear across the Wye and Severn Valleys, including the Severn Bridge and newer Severn Crossing. To stay on the Wye Valley Walk, go straight on, passing a path that leads down to another, lower viewpoint, wind downhill and turn left just before a car park. Follow the main path down and turn left onto a track leading down to the A466 road. Do take care to cross the road carefully as cars can whiz along here; then head for the roadside viewpoint before turning right to pick up the path at the far end of the car park.
As you take the path downhill, you’ll descend several flights of steps. After this you’ll cross a stream and then need to take care over the rocks as they can get slippy before continuing round on the path, echoing the bend in the river.
The path then passes through a tunnel cut into the rock. As you pass through Piercefield Wood, you’ll be skirting around Piercefield Park and the Chepstow Racecourse. The path gradually descends here and you’ll be in woodland. Trees permitting, you’ll get to see across the Chepstow Castle – confirming you are nearing the end of your walk.
After the viewpoint, go up some steps and turn left through a gateway. You’ll now walk on a path between two fences (and past the school I mentioned at the start). Cross through the leisure centre car park and turn left onto a road, heading downhill. You’ll pass another school on your left and, opposite St Kingsmark Avenue, turn left onto a footpath that leads you down through The Dell and past Chepstow Castle to the end of your walk. The castle is well worth a visit, boasting the oldest castle doors in Europe, as is Chepstow Museum, just across the car park from the castle.