Tuesday, 5 April 2016

By the River Wye at Chepstow

An attraction for all
   The name Chepstow derives from the Old English "chepe stowe" meaning a place of trade or market centre. After the Norman Conquest the town became a key location as the Normans could cross at the low bridging point and extend themselves into Wales. In the late eighteenth century a growing fashionable interest in the picturesque attracted visitors and painters who took boats from Ross-on-Wye and Monmouth. They admired nearby Tintern Abbey, Piercefield House and the ruins of Chepstow Castle in their yearning for romantic beauty.

Relax by the river
   Nowadays it is worth taking time to pause by the river and walk over the Wye via the 1816 cast iron bridge into England (I told you we'd be going abroad on our microadventures!) Before that there was a ferry called by the Romans Tratica Augustus; a later one was used by Charles I when fleeing a troop of Cromwell's men. On the Welsh side there is also a pretty bandstand used for concerts in the summer, the best Information Centre I have ever been into and the Museum. There are magnificent limestone cliffs and the river here has one of the highest tidal ranges in the world, dropping by almost 15 metres between high and low tide. There are some lovely walks from here.

Walking down through the town
   Before you leave you will probably want to visit the castle. Chepstow is served by several buses including the 65 and 69 (the 69 takes you to Tintern Abbey) to Monmouth and the 63 to Usk with its castle,several from Newport as well as local ones and some from England. The bus station is at the top of town (near an M&S Food Hall): you then pass under the Town Gate, rebuilt in 1524 from its late 13 century origins and renovated since, down one of the attractive streets until you reach the river.

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