Just over the Welsh border, the Wye Valley is ideal for a day trip from south-west England. Quite apart from the dramatic countryside, there is plenty to see and do here. With gardens, walking trails, historic buildings and more, this is an area you will want to return to.
A Day In The Wye Valley
I was invited by OverTheBridgeToWales to spend a day in the Wye Valley, exploring some of what it has to offer. Two things struck me immediately. Firstly, the beautiful unspoilt countryside. And secondly that, despite the apparent remoteness of the landscape, it is very easy to get there from south-west England, or even from further afield. Good motorway connections mean that it is approximately a half hour drive from Bristol to Tintern, in the heart of the Wye Valley. Better still, there is now no toll to pay when you cross the Severn Bridge into Wales.
In fact there is far more here than you could see in a day. I visited Tintern Abbey and two spectacular gardens. I climbed up to a viewpoint and tasted some local wine. Then there was the historic town of Chepstow… It was a tantalising introduction to the area and I will be back for more.
Countryside And Hiking In The Wye Valley
One of the best places for exploring the Wye Valley on foot is the 18th century Piercefield Estate. A 6-mile (9.5 km) walk around the park, which is free to enter, takes in viewpoints, natural features, hill forts and more. I parked at the Upper Wyndcliff car park, and walked up to the Eagle’s Nest. This is a viewing platform that was constructed in the 19th century to allow magnificent views across the Wye Valley to England.
More of a challenge is the 219 km Wye Valley Walk which follows the course of the river from Chepstow, through Tintern and eventually back into England. Alternatively, the village of Tintern is a particularly good starting point for shorter, waymarked, walks.
Parva Farm: A Welsh Vineyard
Parva Farm is on a steep south-facing slope, the perfect location for a vineyard. Judith Dudley and her husband Colin have been growing grapes here for 40 years, but it is thought that there were vines on this slope in Roman times. Today Parva Farm produces a range of wines including an award-winning sparkling wine, as well as mead and cider.
Visitors can take a self-guided tour of the vineyard: as you climb the hill you will be rewarded by views across the valley and over the village of Tintern. Then you can enjoy a wine-tasting in the well-stocked shop (where you can buy honey and preserves as well as the wines).
The Historic Town Of Chepstow
Chepstow is a medieval town with a Georgian/ Victorian centre. It has an enviable riverside location, a Norman castle and an old city wall. I only managed a quick glimpse of what the town has to offer – I will explore it more on another visit!
Thanks to OverTheBridgeToWales for their hospitality and to Judith Dudley for my visit to Parva Farm.