The Trail Description
(Updated 25th November 2009)
From the bus stops in the station follow the pavement to the main road. Turn right and continue to pass Handyman House Homecare. Just past the Gatehouse public house cross the road to the pavement on the other side. Turn right and go up through the arch of Monnow Bridge; a 13th Century gated bridge, unique in Britain for its design and condition. Below is the River Monnow, with its rapids to your left. The source of the river is at the Black Mountains near Hay Bluff 40 miles away. Here at Monmouth it enters the River Wye.
Go down the other side.
Don’t miss the mosaics on a circular base on your left, which show you lots of interesting things about the history of the town.
Carry on to the roundabout. In the fence line on the edge of the pavement near to where you are standing is an old drinking font commemorating the Diamond Jubilee of Queen Victoria.
Carry on around to reach the entrance to St Thomas’s Church, dedicated to Thomas a Beckett, a red stone church originally built in about 1180 and distinguished by the remains of its Norman chancel arch.
Continue on along the pavement to reach a set of traffic lights. Turn left and go over the new bridge over the River Monnow. Continue down the other side to reach a roundabout.
Keep following the pavement to reach a zebra crossing. Go over, turn right and follow the path until it ends. Cross to the other side and turn left. Follow it to reach the 2nd path in the fence on your right and follow this path through the avenue of lime trees. Go up over the flood bank at the far end. Carry on to follow a wall on your left. Continue to where the road turns to the left. Carry straight on across the road to reach a pavement. Turn left and follow it to where it turns to the right.
Carry on around the corner and follow the pavement to the entrance of Monmouth School was originally built in 1615 and paid for by William Jones. Jones, who was born near by in Newland Gloucestershire, made his fortune as a haberdasher in London. On his death he bequeathed money to be spent on building a school for all the boys of the town.
Cross the entrance and continue along the pavement to where it turns to your right at a road junction. Go around the corner and then cross to the Queen’s Head. Continue around to the front door of the pub.
Cross to the pavement on the other side of the road. Turn right and continue to reach the entrance to the Methodist Chapel built in 1837. Between 1777 and 1786, John Wesley, the famous Methodist preacher visited the town on numerous occasions.
Continue to the road junction at the roundabout at St. James’s Square with its war memorial and Indian Bean Tree and carry on around the corner. Look out for the Library on the opposite side of the road. It is situated in the old Roll’s Hall, given to the town by Lord Llangattock in 1887.
Continue to the next road junction and carry on around to the no entry sign. Cross to the opposite side of the road, turn left and follow the wall and fence of the churchyard on your right. Where the wall and fence end carry on past a gateway and go up the ramp into the churchyard. Continue on to reach the second and main entrance to the St Mary’s Church, originally the Priory Church consecrated in around 1101, the present church was built in 1882. If you have time and the church is open why not go inside?
For the main route carry straight on to reach a “T” junction in the tarmac path. Turn right, passing the old priory building and follow the path until you leave the churchyard at the other end. At this point on the opposite side of the road is the Baptist Chapel built in 1906 and to its right is the old Workings Men’s Institute built in 1868.
Turn left and follow the pavement to the traffic lights. Continue around the corner to reach a pelican crossing.
If you want to visit the Museum cross over at the traffic lights and turn left. Follow the pavement for 100 metres to reach the entrance to the Museum on your right. Return back to the traffic lights afterwards.
For the main route don’t cross at the traffic lights, instead continue along pavement. Go over the entrance to Royal Mail Delivery Office and continue for a short distance to reach the Old Priory on your left. Within the building is “Geoffrey’s window” named after Geoffrey of Monmouth but built in the 15th Century, 300 years after his death. This ornate window is surmounted by battlements and flanked by gargoyles. Beneath it are three carved heads representing a knight, an angel and a miller. See blue plaque on the building for more information.
Carry on passing another entrance to the churchyard to reach the entrance to White Swan Shopping Court (the Museum is on the opposite side of the street.)
Go through White Swan Court into a pedestrianised street (Church Street). Turn right and follow the street to its end. Carry straight on along a pavement to reach a statue of the man holding an old aeroplane. This is Charles Rolls, the co-founder of Rolls-Royce Ltd who lived near Monmouth. Behind him is the Shire Hall, built in 1724 with the Statue of Henry V, who may have been born in the castle and is most famous for his victory at Agincourt in 1415.
(Inside the Shire Hall is the Tourist Information Centre).
Continue along the pavement towards the top end of the main shopping street. At the road junction, carry on around the corner and cross to the entrance to the King’s Head, a 17th Century Coaching Inn. Turn right and follow the pavement around the corner and down the main street (Monnow Street). Halfway down the street on your left there is a large house set back from the road with brown railings. This is Cornwall House, with its late 18th Century street frontage, which houses the Monmouthshire Beacon.
Carry on down the street to a pelican crossing. Go over the crossing, turn left and continue along the pavement on other side. Pass the “no entry” signs at the exit to the bus station carry on for a short distance to the entrance. Follow the pavement back to the bus stops.