05. Day One of the Walk: Chepstow to Tintern

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!

It was a little confusing, finding the start of the WVW out of Chepstow, but finally I espied this way marker!
Chepstow Castle in the distance.
One of the stops along the Wye River tour in the early days, The Grotto. It used to have quartz crystal inclusions, and was quite posh.
Loverly little fleur
More fleur
Pretty, but sting-y! These nettles were the bane of my walk, almost the entire way. I could feel their sting even through my hiking pants.
So pretty. The wildflowers in early May were glorious, and abundant.
Most of my walk was in the woods, so I was so happy to see (and be seen by) my first SHEEP!
View from the highest point of Day 1 walk, Eagle’s Nest.

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!

First things first: The Anchor Inn overlooking the Abbey for a Yorkshire pudding and roasted veggies and the obligatory pint!

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.

My posh room and huge bed. The bathroom was equally lovely. The spendiest of all my accommodations on The Walk.

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!

The River is still tidal and a little muddy and swift, but beautiful from the bridge.
Otis and Eric on the bridge!!! OMG!!
Dinner at The Wild Hare was lovely, Salad Nicoise and of course a pint.
Rhubarb and lemon panna cotta with vanilla ice cream omg.
Best table in the room.
A hot bath was mighty welcome! Lovely products from 100 Acres.

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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