Day 23: 15 Apr 2014; Chepstow to Monmouth

Day 23: 15 Apr 2014; Chepstow to Monmouth
Walk descriptor LEJOG2014 Day 23
Date Tue 15 Apr 2014 Start to end time 08h 19m
Start point Chepstow End point Monmouth
Miles today 21.07 Cu miles 436.11
Ft today 3,184 Cu ft 72,286
Route miles left 1,035.30 Route ft left 126,512
Today’s weather Bright and sunny all day. No wind. Cool westerly wind. Around 15 C
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Today’s location
(the red cross in a circle shows where I am at the moment)
GPX based track of today’s walk
(click here to access to access downloadable file)

“Towards the end of yesterday’s walk I’d noticed that my right heel was getting sore and sure enough, when I checked it this morning, I discovered that I had developed a blister. This was particularly annoying since all the blisters I’d picked up in the early part of the hike had healed and my feet were generally holding up well. So I don’t know what brought this one on and although I have a way of dealing with blisters (but I won’t describe it as it’s not for the squeamish), it continued to bother me all day. The trouble with blisters is that you adapt your walking style to reduce the pressure on the offending part, but that causes more pressure elsewhere so I think I might be getting one on my left foot as well. Anyway I know they will heal eventually, so it’s just a question of gritting my teeth until they do.

I’d spent a long time mentally debating whether to walk to Monmouth via the Wye Valley Walk – which broadly speaking keeps to the western bank of the river Wye, or via Offa’s Dyke, which roughly sticks to the right hand side. In the end, I chose both. I started off on Offa’s Dyke – which to my slight surprise took me immediately back into England until lunchtime, and then crossed over to the Wye Valley Way near Llandogo. That way I avoided the hilliest stretches of both paths.

I really enjoyed the hike – the scenery was stunning and the weather was brilliant. I have, in passing, to say that I am appreciating every minute of the current dry spell, and am hoping that it’s going to last a few days longer. Maybe even as far as Snowdon…

The Offa’s Dyke path climbs up steeply out of Chepstow, to over 800ft, giving occasional glimpses down into the Wye gorge hundreds of feet below. The path follows the route of the defensive wall built by Offa, king of Mercia, in about 780 AD, to keep the Welsh out of his Kingdom. Now all that remains is a ditch and a bank of earth – interesting but nothing like Hadrian’s Wall. It is well wooded, so the views are a bit obscured, but along the way wild garlic and bluebells were coming into flower which made up for the absence of distant horizons.

The second half of the walk to Monmouth followed an old railway line, so it was flat, easy going, and allowed good views of the Wye flowing almost silently by. It is a beautiful river, and yet another destination I’ll have to add to my list of places to come back to.

Putting up the tent this evening in Monmouth was a pleasure – no rain and a nice clean campsite. I could almost get to enjoy it!! ”

Today’s photos (click to enlarge)
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The old road bridge in Chepstow. Extra-strong as the river under it is tidal and the height difference can be 46ft in a day – the second greatest in the world The long-distance path acorns – absent since Minehead – made a reappearance on way out of Chepstow
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Lots of evidence of badgers on this walk and especially today. Some of the stones they had kicked out when building their setts were as big as bricks Village of Llandogo, Wales as seen from the England side of the river
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Apart from the two decaying remnants of Dr Beeching’s axe that are visible in this picture, the other remarkable feature of this stretch of river is that in 1937 a 49lb salmon was caught here using an artificial prawn The Monmow bridge in Monmouth, built in 1372
Chepstow castle. Looks like a “proper” castle should!
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