The Wye Valley

I am aware of the fact that it is New Years Day for anyone wondering why I am popping this post on today. Thing is, I am back to work tomorrow then away for the weekend so it’s now or never really!

As mentioned before, this post is moving on through the holiday where I took a jaunt into the Wye Valley. It was a lovely drive in as you can see below with some autumnal colour in the trees and this drive is famous for being the only place I have seen that has a warning sign making me aware of the fact that the trees are so close to the road that the canopy changes in height during wet weather. If it wasn’t on the main road and I wasn’t in traffic, I would have stopped and taken a snap…can’t think there are many of those about.

The drive into the valley...mind that mad canopy everyone!

The drive into the valley…mind that mad canopy everyone!

Anyway, nerdiness sign spotting aside, it was a fine view both sides as you can see, just such a shame I had to concentrate on the road and traffic! This area as a whole is actually designated as an AONB (Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty); apparently this extends to the village, but I couldn’t quite see that myself.

The Wye River

The Wye River

The aim of my journey was to get to Tintern Abbey (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tintern) on the banks of the Wye River. If you have clicked the link and looked through the Wikipedia entry, you can skip this next bit, but for those who haven’t, it’s a lovely ruin of an Abbey dating from the 12th century.

My first task was to find where the heck the path was to hike up to “The Devils Pulpit” (jarring chord). I found it eventually and realised that most of the other visitors had as well as it was well worn and I nearly broke my ankles in some of the ruts and climbing over the worn rocks near the top. I’ve climbed a volcano and a couple of mountains and this was the hardest climb I’ve done for a while…I was panting good and proper by the end! Anyway, here it is, the view from “The Devil’s Pulpit” (jarring chord). Come to think of it, I did take the right track didn’t I?!

I never did find The Devil up here

I never did find The Devil up here but I could see my bright red car (you might be able to as well, it’s just right of the third house on the river bend, in a long lay-by)

Legend has is that the Devil himself sat here overlooking the Abbey and tried to coax the monks from there. He must have given up on the village some time back, as it was very quiet when I got there. That is until a group of nigh-on a dozen walkers desecended on the look-out for their lunch break, quite rudely breaking the silence! I asked a passing dog walker if there were any other viewpoints to which he replied yes and directed me to, so I could at least get my breath back in peace!

Once I had recovered and the breeze had cooled me sufficiently, I headed back down the hill which was arguably more awkward than the climb up, thanks to gravity. I got there in one piece, had a quick lunch stop in the cafe next door and then paid my few pounds to tour the Abbey.

A view from inside the Abbey

A view from inside the Abbey

Don’t ask where the pictures are of, I just snapped away at the most attractive bits in between the visiting school parties. I did like that when you paid, you could walk all over the grounds though, so I got some good shots I thought all in all.

A further view inside; a hall of some kind?

A further view inside; a hall of some kind?

This was my parting picture as the sun started to disappear behind the side of the valley and fully illuminated the entire ruin. I then wandered back to my car and stopped in at Lidls near Hereford for my evening meal 🙂

It struck me as very thoughtful of the cows to arrange themselves so nicely!

It struck me as very thoughtful of the cows to arrange themselves so nicely!

Overall a lovely day, if a little exhausting in the first instance. However, little did I know that more pain was to come when I decided to go to the Black Mountains and didn’t quite envisage the length of the route all that well because I kind of took the wrong map…but that’ll be the next post.

See you soon! Oh, and Happy New Year.

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