Friday, 8 April 2016

A coffee walk from Monmouth

Two Wye walks
   You can walk up the River Wye on its east bank (English side) or the west (Welsh). Both can lead to Symonds Yat and the fab food at The Saracens Head but there is a short, pictureque walk up the western side starting just before the Wye Bridge and past the rowing shed. This leads to a delightful path through several gates marked in poker work before you arrive at St Peter's Church after just over a thousand metres.

Using the river
  When I visited I was lucky enough to be the first person to see the new information sign as they were erecting it. It tells how there used to be a ferry serving the other bank from the nearby steps and how the vicar would have to row over. When a new bell was needed in 1420 it was brought in a flat-bottomed boat from the casting house in Worcester. 

St. Peter's Church
   The church is subject to floods of up to six metres: brass markers inside shows the height of recent ones. and so precious items are stored on a balcony with a beautiful oak screen. Nevertheless there has been a church or monastery here since 735, referred to in the Book of Llandaff, which later developed fishing rights.  For a while after about 1350, a French priest was appointed but this was frowned on by the then Bishop of Hereford. Herring bone masonry on the north wall may be Saxon but, despite the church's antiquity, services are still held here with refreshments afterwards. The church is open all day and visitors are welcome.

Didwyg the hermit
   At one time it was dedicated to the Welsh saint Tydiwig or Tadeous but I have also heard of an early Christian hermit called Didwyg, who may be the same man since Welsh initial consonants mutate under certain conditions. In my heart I have grown fond of Didwyg and his evident capacity to survive flooding in return for such a peaceful environment - I could almost feel his presence.

                             Didwig's still here: his hermitage
                             Shapes in my mind. I see
                             A simple man, poor and alone
                             But never lonely. Breezes blown
                             From God fill vacancy.              

Calorie intake
   Afterwards I went to the Whole Earth cafe in the White Swan court where I enjoyed a warm welcome, a pot of decaff tea and a delicious home-made CAKE, choosing from a range of specialities, including Thai. Yummy! There are links to other places of interest near Monmouth on the post about Henry V who was born here. The no 69 bus takes you to Tintern Abbey or Chepstow Castle.

See detailed timetable link at the very bottom of this page.

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