Wye Valley Woodlands
Rolling hills and wooded slopes of the Wye Valley, somewhat softer than Cumbria.
Even the weather was kinder. For the first time this year I didn’t have to carry waterproofs.
No rain battering my face and gloves left in my backpack.
May be the south has something going for it.
Based with friends near Chepstow, Harry Potter country, my legs were unravelled from the 4 hour drive with an evening stroll along the Wye Gorge and back via Wintour’s Leap.
Evening sun dipped in to the still river washing the banks with sepia at the end of the day.
Turning back from the river bend, the cliff towers above where ‘Wintour’ was supposed to have leapt down to escape Cromwell’s troops.
Scree, Wye style
The rain of this winter has taken its toll on the river and gorge and I was surprised to find myself scrambling over boulders akin to the Wasdale Screes. Part of the riverside path was totally washed away and the higher path was reached by pulling ourselves up by saplings through undergrowth. This was about as strenuous as the weekend got.
Another two walks; along, down, through and over the Wye Valley. The only up hill being up from the river each day. Once up the 365 steps put in by the Duke of Beaufort to give easy access to a purported view across the valley from ‘The Eagle’s Nest’.
Unfortunately the morning mist somewhat dimmed the vista.
The valley and sides are criss-crossed with ancient paths and tracks. Short ones, to access the brewery for the monks from Tintern Abbey.
Longer National trails appear to congregate here too.
Offa’s Dyke, almost at the end of its’ journey down from North Wales, The Gloucestershire Way begins, or ends, in Chepstow and the Wye Valley has its own long distance path.
The Devils Pulpit – looking over Tintern
Which ever path taken, none are strenuous in the lower Wye.
Miles disappear quickly over undulating trails through wooded valleys and rolling hills with conveniently placed villages for lunch time refreshment.
But things come to an end and I was soon leaving the blue skies and balmy sunshine and by the time I crossed the Cumbrian boundary in mist and rain wondering about those reasons to go north.