My notes describe the day as “transcendent and brutal.” The path had a huge amount of up, and much harder, down. The walk out of Chepstow was pleasant: it was raining, not hard but persistent. I was very grateful for my waterproof trousers and my Sherpa shell, and also for the waterproof cover for my day pack. The rain stopped after a couple of hours. Maybe the bluebells “popped” a little more for having been rained upon!
Much of the walk on Day 1 was through wooded hills, with lots of elevation at the front and middle of the day. I ran into the occasional walker, all local folks, many with their doggos, but no one on a long-distance journey. I had read in my guidebook that the path down into Tintern was steep and rocky, but I wasn’t quite prepared for how very true that was. The path narrowed considerably, and was rocks and scree for some ways; the rain had made those rocks unstable as well. Thankful for my Hiker Hunger hiking poles, I literally inched my way down to the wide fields that brought me into the village of Tintern. The Abbey loomed before me, and I gave thanks to the Powers That Be!
I headed to my bed and breakfast, The Wild Hare, to check in and freshen up a tad before exploring the Abbey ruins and having a relaxing early dinner in the inn’s restaurant. I was thrilled that my large backpack had been successfully delivered by the transfer service, Walk Lite Glochester! And even more thrilled with the poshness of my room for the night. SO welcome after the bit of brutal hiking at the end of Day 1. It was hard to not just collapse on that inviting bed.
A modest Cistercian monastery in 1131, money and patronage gradually increased the size. In 1269, the massive cathedral was constructed, and it still is breathtaking in its size, the nave’s arches lofting overhead. The Abbey fell squarely on the radar of Henry VIII and it was surrendered in 1536, in the first wave of dissolutions of the Reformation.
After exploring the ruins, I headed over to the steel bridge spanning the Wye River that I’d seen so many times in the Netflix series “Sex Education.” I had heard it was going to be closed for repairs, so I was happy to see it open!
A solid and righteous night of sleep followed. Day 1 in the rearview mirror.
So many months of planning, and here I was!
1 May, 2022
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