The trail description
(Updated 26th April 2012)
After admiring the statues and reading the information board at the Old Station, walk away from the Station with the miniature railway line on your left. Just before the turntable, go down the steps on your right to the riverbank. Turn right and follow the Wye Valley Walk down stream to reach St. Michael’s Church. Go ahead through the churchyard, passing the church on your right with an information panel about the Church, and out through the gate. Pass Parva Farmhouse Guest House and Restaurant on your right and bear left to follow a lane to the main road. Turn left and walk through the village, crossing the road where necessary to keep to the pavement.
After crossing the Angiddy River, with the Abbey Mill across the road on your left, turn right at the Royal George and follow the lane for 450 metres to reach a road on your left with a sign “unsuitable for heavy goods vehicles”. Turn up here and look out for 2 footpath signs on your right opposite a red bricked building on your left. Take the footpath that runs parallel to the road. Follow it between the houses. Where the grass ends continue passing a house on your left to enter a narrow path that soon leads to a tarmac road. Turn right to reach a “T” junction.
Turn left and continue for 200 metres to reach a footpath on your left along a track. Take this and immediately pass a wooden barrier. Go over the river bridge and ascend to reach another track. Carry on along this track and take a path down to your right at the first bend. Follow the stream on your right to reach the dam to a large pond. Carry straight on to the far end of the pond, cross a small bridge and continue along the path to reach a tarmac road. Turn left and immediately right to reach the entrance to the Abbey Tintern Furnace. (Point A on map 1).
Go in to the Iron works car park and read the information panel about the history of the site. Then go through a small wooden gate to reach the remains.
After inspecting the ruins continue away from the car park with the ruins to your left to reach a track at the end of the site. Follow the track until you reach some steps ahead (where the path ends) up onto the road near a weir. Turn right and cross the bridge. Follow the road around the pond to reach a road junction. If you turn right here the Fountain Inn is about ½ mile along the road. However, to continue on the trail take the left turning, sign posted “the Fedw”. Pass some houses to reach a bridge on your left.
This is Pont y Saeson Bridge, thought by some to be the site of the battle between Tewdrig’s army and the Saxons. It is here that some say he was wounded and was carried by a carriage drawn by stags or oxen towards his chosen burial ground at Flat Holm, Ynys Echni. Wherever he stopped pure water springs sprang up, which were used to bathe his wound. Look out for the large number of springs and reservoirs, which can be still seen on your route.
Cross the bridge, and turn right towards the farm. Bear left and follow the sunken track up hill through the wood. On reaching a wide forest track turn right and almost immediately left to continue up hill along the sunken lane.
Where the track reaches a road carry straight on up hill. At a road junction continue straight on to follow what becomes a “sunken lane”.
As the woodland ends, look out for a stile on the right into a field. Go over and carry on across the field to reach another stile in the far corner. Carry straight on across the next field to a broken hedge line. Continue onwards with trees down to your right to a stile. Go over; look out for a well on your right. Bear left up over the brow of the hill and descend to go out onto a track through a gate near a barn.
Turn left and go down the track onto a road. Turn right and after 50 metres look out for a stile in a hedge line on your right. Go over and head up hill towards some large masts. Go through a gate and carry on to pass the masts on your left to reach a “step through” stile by a gate. Go through. To your left is the Iron Age, Gaer Hill fort. (Point B on map 2).
This is an unusual set of earthworks providing a panoramic and strategically important view from the Severn Estuary around to the west. Nothing has been firmly established, but due to its similarities with another monument on Holyhead Mountain in Anglesey, it is possible that the inner earthwork is a Roman signal station lying within an earlier defensive enclosure.
Follow the track as it bears to the right down to a gate with another “step through” stile. Go through and turn right. Follow another track straight on to go through two small gates either end of a large barn to reach a field. Continue with the hedge on your right to reach another gate. Go through, turn left and continue, passing a pond on your left. Pass a waymark on an old gatepost and carry on to a gate in the next hedge line. Go through and continue with the hedge on your left to reach a gate and “step through” stile out onto a road.
Turn left and follow the road before taking the next turning on your right along a narrow lane. Continue to soon reach a stile in a stone wall on your left. Go over and bear right, heading towards a wooden electricity pylon and on to a stile in the middle of the hedge line. Go over and cross the next field to reach a stile in the bottom left corner. Climb over and continue with the hedge on your left to another stile in a fence next to a gate. Continue to reach another stile by a gate. Go over and carry on down the next field to reach a stile near a gate and a small tree. Go over, turn left and follow the track down hill to eventually reach a gate onto a tarmac road. Continue on down hill to a “T” junction. (Point C on map 3). To reach St. Arvans with its shop, bus stop and the Piercefield Inn turn left and follow the road into the village.
For the main route, turn right and next left.
This is Rogerstone Grange, which was part of the holdings of the Cistercian Abbey at Tintern. It was thought to be named, either after the son or nephew of Walter De Clare, founder of Tintern, both of whom were called Roger.
Follow the gravel track, ignoring footpaths off to your left and right to pass Rogerstone Cottages on your right. Carry on to where the track turns to the right near to a wood. From this point, leave the track and carry straight on to enter a field. Continue with the wood on your right to where the wood ends. Bear diagonally right across the field to reach a stile. Do not go over, go to the right of the stile and continue around the edge of the next field with the wood on your left. After 150 metres look carefully for a path into the wood. Follow the path to reach a stile out of the wood. Follow the field edge up hill with the wood on your left to a stile in the corner. Cross the stile and carry on with the field edge on your left up over the brow to where it bears to the left. At this point carry straight on to reach a gate onto a road. (To reach the bus stop at Sandy Way turn left and follow the road for 400 metres).
To continue the trail, carefully cross the road. Carry on down a farm drive and on through a gateway into the farmyard. Turn left in front of the farm and follow the track through another gateway. Pass a barn and pond on your left as you enter a small field. Continue along the track to a gate into a large field. Follow the hedge on your right to where it bears to the right. Carry straight on at this point across the field to reach a stile onto the road. Go over and carefully cross the road. Turn left and follow the road with the hedge on your right. Continue until you reach the entrance to Great Barnet Wood.
Follow the right hand edge of the forest road into the wood to reach a metal barrier. Carry on around the barrier and continue along the track, ignoring paths off to you left and right. At a point where there is a “cross roads”, with small tracks going off to your left and right carry straight on for 60 metres to reach a track which bears down to your left. (There should be a waymark post here). Follow this track to reach another forest road. Cross straight over and continue down another small path to reach a stile into a field. Bear right and walk with the wood on your right around the outside of the field to eventually reach a stile back into the wood after 140 metres.
Follow the path through the wood to reach another stile. Go over, bear right and follow the narrow path to reach two stiles across a drive. Go over both and continue down a small field to a bridge over a small stream. Go over a stile into a field and bear slightly left up hill to a stile on in a roadside hedge. Turn left and follow the road down to a roundabout at Mounton village. (Point D on map 4). Take the right turning and continue to reach Mounton Church on your left.
There used to be paper, cloth and carpet mills in the village and it was claimed that paper for Bank of England notes was made here. The name Mounton comes from Monks’ Ton or Manor. The Church a was built in 1880, but on a much older site chosen by a monk from St.Mary’s in Chepstow to build his cell. It is dedicated to Saint Andoenus, which may be a corruption of French Saint Ouen or Owen.
The yew tree in the corner of the churchyard could well have seen Tewdrig 1500 years ago! Look out for the footpath on your left just past the church sign posted Pwllmerric 0.8km. Go over a bridge over the Mounton Brook.
It was said that if you immersed your feet in the Mounton Brook all of your corns would disappear.
Cross over and go through a gate at the other end into a field. Carry on with a wall and then the field edge on your left to the far end of the field. Look out for a stile behind a fallen tree in the fence line into the next field. Continue with the field boundary on your left (ignoring paths off to your left and right) to eventually reach a stile onto the main road at Pwllmeryic.
The name Pwllmeyric has been anglicised from Pwll Meurig and commemorates Meurig, the son of Tewdrig. This pool was once a tidal reach of the River Severn before silting prevented the water reaching this far.
Carefully cross the road and turn right. Follow the pavement down hill to reach a finger post on your left by the 40 MPH sign.
If you carry straight on for 220 metres you will reach the New Inn pub and bus stop. However for the trail go between houses and continue to go over a stile. Proceed with the hedge on your left for 60 metres. Where the hedge bears to your left, carry on diagonally across the field to a stile by a gate in the top right hand corner. Go through out onto the road and turn right. Follow the road to a crossroads. Carefully cross and carry on along a lane with houses on your left. Where the houses end at a bend in the road look out for a small wooden gate next to a field gate. Go through and follow the hedge and houses on your left to the end of the field. Go through a wooden kissing gate and follow the path to the road. Turn right, go under the motorway and continue for 200 metres to reach Tewdrig’s Well.
By tradition at this spring King Tewdrig’s wounds were washed. He took a turn for the worse and died a short way off. By his wishes his son, Meurig, built a church over his grave (now Mathern Church).
Continue along the lane to eventually reach Mathern Church.
Look out for the second statue of Tewdrig just before the entrance to the church yard created by sculptor, Neil Gow from blue cedar.
If the church is locked a key can be obtained from the vicarage across the lane from the entrance to the churchyard.
Meurig’s mud and wattle church was replaced in the 12th century by a Norman building and additions were made in the 13th, 14th and 15th centuries, culminating with Bishop Marshall of Llandaff building the tower. Restoration of the church was carried out in 1881.
Of special interest inside the church is an inscribed stone tablet which can be seen on the north wall of the chancel. It was erected by Bishop Godwin during 1618 and tells the story of the last days of King Tewdrig.
Here lyeth entombed the body of Theoderick, King of Morganuck, or Glamorgan, commonly called St Tewdrick, and accounted a martyr because he was slain in battle against the Saxons, being then pagans, and in defence of the Christian religion. The battle was fought at Tintern, where he obtained a great victory.
He died here, being on his way homeward, three days after the battle, having taken order with Maurice, his son who succeeded him in his kingdom, that in the same place he should happen to decease a church should be built and his body buried in ye same, which was accordingly performed in the year 600.
Bishop Godwin, having studied the ancient Charters of Llandaff, became intrigued with the story of King Tewdric and arranged for the supposed site of his tomb to be excavated in order to check out the truth of the matter. A 5th century stone sarcophagus was revealed containing a skeleton with a badly fractured skull. The bones were then replaced and the tomb covered over. Godwin had the tablet inscribed and placed on the wall above the burial site. He based the wording on the account given in the Charters of Llandaff, but unfortunately post-dated the event by about one hundred years. Note also Tewdric’s name has been spelt in the Nordic form of Theoderick and Maurice is the Anglo-Norman version of Meurig.
If travelling by bus return to Pwllmeyric and the bus stops near the New Inn pub. Don’t forget the Miller’s Arms in Mathern Village.