So … out of sequence, our (Alec and me) great walk starts here, in Chepstow. A train ride and then a gentle walk through the town (stopping only to get some pork pies and water from Tesco) and we start the Wales Coastal Path – having done two stretches of it a couple of weeks before – here and here. The walk starts on the old bridge, originally the lowest crossing across the Wye and a fitting place to start any long-distance walk near to where the Offas Dyke Path joins the Severn River.
The Google Map shows the 11.6 miles we walked today, a varied walk with loads of interest and great vistas of the Severn Crossings.
The bridge is decorated with colourful flower boxes, the castle dominates the landscape and we arrive just after a high perigean spring tide, allowing the Wye to look its best!
Enough of geography and oceanography though. We walked up the hill and through one of the town wall gates and from there through housing developments until the path emerged into woodland and eventually open countryside – allowing us to see the river and the estuary in the distance. The two bridges were to dominate our walk today.
Before you pass under the magnificent Second Severn Crossing road bridge you walk through the Black Rock nature reserve. Definitely a place to re-visit as was Sudbrook, just a little further on, where the village grew up around its massive pumping station – built to keep the Severn Railway Tunnel free from flooding. The village has its own little museum which I must re-visit – possibly on a Friday (but the reason for that must wait for another day).
A last look at the bridge before we head inland towards Caldicot. The Caldicot and Wentloog Levels, sometimes called the Gwent or Monmouthshire Levels have both a historic and environmental significance and it was good over two walks to get to know them better.
The stretch from the bridge to Severn Tunnel Junction is generally lacking in variety. The wetlands provide interest for their birdlife, butterflies were everywhere, but the scenery is big and unchanging. None more so than the long trek up the road from the footbridge where we crossed the M4 to the station.
If you have the time, you can see these images, and a few more, on Google+ Photos (Picasaweb).
Here’s the Google Map of the walk …