Wales Coast Path:Chepstow to Magor

July 18, 2012 · 17 comments

Post image for Wales Coast Path:Chepstow to Magor

Walked  5th May 2012 (the official opening of the path)

Approximate distance: Magor (around 14.5 miles) or Redwick (15 miles)

Chepstow

The Wales Coast Path runs from Chepstow to the river Dee. The Countryside Council for Wales appears to consider that it actually goes from north to south, as their website has map No.1 as being on a canalised section of the River Dee. I take the opposite view because a) that’s just how I am, b) I wouldn’t be doing this at all if I had to go to north Wales to start the walk and c) I’ll be walking in a clockwise direction, which makes so much more sense.

And Chepstow makes a much more sensible starting point as it has a train station which links direct to Birmingham and to the south of Wales. It also has a bus station with both local and national buses, with one excellent service going direct to London. It remains to be seen what public transport networks link to the bend in the Dee.

Further, Chepstow is a nice place, with an excellent Castle, a super little museum, 13 Hotels and pubs, several bed and breakfasts, a range of restaurants including the best Indian that I have eaten in for years (the Murghal Spice), and a bookshop that sells both mine and my wife’s books. What’s not to like?  If you come by car and you are lucky, there are actually two small free car parks near the train station. If you are just coming for a short time the Castle Dell Car Park in Bridge Street is just 5 minutes’ walk from the start of the path, as is the Drill Hall car park off Lower Church Street. You only have to pay up to 5pm.

That’s as much of a guide to this excellent town as I have space for. Have a look at the Chepstow Town Crier website.

Ceramic plaque of the Wales Coast Path. Photograph by Charles Hawes

Route

This part of the path is within Monmouthshire County Council. Please report any problems to rightsofway@monmouthshire.gov.uk or phone 01633 644850

The path begins in Riverside Gardens, just by the pretty cast iron Wye Bridge, at a carved commemorative stone opposite the bandstand

The start of The Wales Coast Path in Chepstow. Photograph by Charles Hawes Local ceramicist and thoroughly good guy, Ned Heywood, has created the most beautiful compass set into the ground. Next to you are the muddy lower reaches of the Wye. The Wye is the 5th longest river in the UK and has the 2nd largest tidal range in the world. Pause here and make sure that you get your photograph taken. There are 870 miles ahead of you!

Part of cermaic compass by Ned Heywood at the start of The Wales Coast Path. Photograph by Charles Hawes

This first section is comprehensively marked with ceramic discs set into the ground and by stickers on various posts and bollards. You’ll be seeing a lot of these. The path goes past the Boat Inn to the corner of the park and then turns up The Back, then turns left into Lower Church Street.

Cut through St Mary’s churchyard and admire the Church’s ornate West door- it  is 11th century- and cross the road . If you haven’t packed a packed lunch, on the right, just after the Murghal Spice, Parson’s sandwiches and cakes are excellent. Take the underpass under the busy A48 and turn right opposite Tesco’s past the sorting office and take the first road left. The brief steep rise takes you past a section of the 13th century Port Wall. The path continues to be well signed through the Chepstow backstreets. Glimpsed through the trees to the left, the dramatic sheer rock face is a disused quarry, followed quickly by the remains of an Iron age Hill Fort called Bulwark Camp . There is little to see from the path and not much more if you bother to explore further, but the modern history of the place is interesting. It was used to house prisoners of the 2nd World War.

Passing through the rather untidy wood of Warren Slade the path drops down to near a tunnel underneath the railway line (you’ll come across this line several times today). A finger post for the walk directs you up a wooded hill.  As you emerge from the woods you get the first view of the (old) Severn Bridge. A brief further walk through a housing estate brings you to a roundabout and a small parade of shops. (this is the last chance to get something for lunch).

The path turns left just before the roundabout and enters a wide tunnel (you are walking under the M48); half an hour or so after starting you have left Chepstow behind.

The path skirts the Newhouse Farm Industrial Estate and gives you a great view into the Mabey Bridge factory.Mabey Bridge factory from the wales Coast Path:sections of wind turbines photographed by Charles Hawes. It produces sections for wind turbines and long lengths are lying in various stages of construction. About half a mile further on the path takes you through the little hamlet of Mathern. The parish Church of St Tewdric dates largely from the 15th century.St Tewdic's Church, Mathern, Near Chepstow. Wales. Taken from the wales Coast path by Charles Hawes

The path follows the edge of a field and then crosses the St Pierre Golf Course. As you enter the golf course bear left (another public footpath also goes to the right) and duck if you hear “fore”.  It means a ball is flying in your direction. A brief walk across a muddy field takes you to the railway line. Stop at the warning sign, watch and listen.The Wales Coast Path crosses the railway. Photograph by Charles Hawes A quick glance to the left reveals the little lighthouse at Red Cliff, telling you that you have finally arrived at the coast! (It’s called Red Cliff because the underlying geology here is Red Sandstone. You’ll walk by a section of exposed rock shortly.)

Sailing boats at Red Cliff taken from the Wales Coast Path by Charles Hawes. Walking in Wales.Well, the Severn Estuary at any rate and if for the next several days (with quite a few detours) you will be walking on the top of a levee that protects the low lying farmland from the tidal waters of the Severn. It is a great vantage point to enjoy the extensive views across the Severn to the industrial area of Avonmouth and to wonder at the engineering constructions of the two elegant bridges that cross the Severn.

About half a mile of this easy walk brings you to the Black Rock car park. It was from near here that a railway line used to cross the Severn and an explanatory board gives the history. The Black Rock Lave Net Heritage Fishery also takes place here.

Red Sandstone cliff near Black Rock on the wales Coast Path. Photograph by Charles Hawes. Walking in Wales.

 Another half a mile brings you to Sudbrook and a large unprepossessing brick building. This is the pumping station which still operates to keep the Severn Tunnel from flooding. The tunnel contains a railway line which crosses here for Bristol. It was built by the Great Western Railway (GWR) between 1873 and 1886. It is over 4 miles  long, although only 2¼ miles  are under the river. Passing by the now abandoned remains of the Sudbrook paper Mill you pass under the M4.

For the next few miles the roar of the motorway traffic will make itself heard. In order to avoid a firing range (look out for the red warning flags), the path now takes you inland towards Calidot, crossing the M4.

The wales Coast path crosses the M4. Photograph by Charles Hawes. Walking in Wales.The detour runs round the back of the range and back over another bridge . If no flags are flying you could safely stay on the path on the levee tops, saving you a quarter of a mile or so.  If you have taken the detour you will be glad that by the time you return to the levee the motorway noise has subsided and you can enjoy the peacefulness once more of the Gwent Levels (more about these in the next walk).

The Wales Coast path on top of the levee near Caldicot- view looking back to Severn Bridge photographed by Charles Hawes. Walking in Wales. At low tide the muddy sands reveal just how shallow this part of the Severn is at its margins. Sheep graze on both sides of the path.

The amazing landscape on the Severn at low tide as seen from the Wales Coast Path.Photograph by Charles Hawes. Walking in Wales Continue on, passing several small breakwaters and pills. A pill is where one of the reens (or channels) of the levels discharges into the Severn. You also pass a Second World War Pill Box (this pill unrelated to the previous pill!). Over the coming few days you’ll pass more evidence of such wartime defences.Pill Box near Chapel Farm, Magor taken from the Wales Coast Path. Photograph by Charles Hawes. Walking in Wales.

After a while you will see a sewage works on your right (the Magor Waste water Pumping Station), which discharges at Magor Pill.Magor Pill taken from the Wales Coast Path. Photograph by Charles Hawes. Walking in Wales

 

Just after the pill a path heads due north. At this point you have done around 13 miles.

This path leads to a road which takes you to the village of Magor.

For those that are stopping at this point the walk to Magor is about a mile and a half. The track by the sewage works becomes a road that just serves a couple of farms. At the junction with another road (where there is a postbox and a signpost pointing left to The Rose Inn), turn right. About ¾ of a mile later cross over the railway line by a rather dilapidated footbridge.  The road passes an attractive terrace of houses and a church on the left. Magor has a pretty square and the very welcoming Golden Lion Inn which does accommodation.  From the village there are bus connections (No 14 and no.74, Monday to Saturday) to Newport and back to Chepstow – very useful if you are doing this stretch as a day walk.

For those who are staying on the path, at the Major sewage works press on another two miles to the village of Redwick, just half a mile off the path.  A footpath just by a sluice takes you to The Church of St Thomas The Apostle in the middle of the village.Church of St Thomas The Apostle, Redwick near the Wales Coast Path. Photgraphed by Charles Hawes. Walking in Wales.

The only accommodation is the Brick House Country Guest House on the other side of the village in North Row  tel 01633 880230.  The Rose Inn, opposite the church, does food but not accommodation. tel 01633 880501

 

{ 17 comments… read them below or add one }

John July 18, 2012 at 4:22 pm

Having quickly read your post once, I switched to the “official site” (http://www.walescoastpath.gov.uk – I’ve included the link as the site is clearly so popular that I had to get to page 2 of the search results to find it!) for comparative purposes. Then back here to re-read and follow the external links. If you’re going to write up your other walks like this, the official site can be ignored.

Officialdom tells you go from A to B to C. But here it’s like walking beside you and occasionally running off to see a church or something in the distance while you wait patiently on the path.

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Charles July 18, 2012 at 4:49 pm

Hi John. Yes, the official website is pants! Thanks so much for the comment. That is exactly how I hope people might enjoy the blog, even if they don’t get out there. And yes, this is how I will continue to write about the path. The next leg should go up next week.

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david o'brien July 18, 2012 at 4:55 pm

hey Charles excellent first days walking you have whetted our appetite already! Great we will print it off! See you soon Dave

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Charles July 18, 2012 at 4:57 pm

Great! Get Kate out there with you. Maybe we can do some Gower together? I’ve two other walking chums that would be interested.

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Paul Steer July 18, 2012 at 6:03 pm

Charles this is very much a walking guide….and I know you don’t like the Wainwright comparison, but it is as readable and would be useful to carry with you on the walk.

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Charles July 18, 2012 at 7:03 pm

Hello, ye of the Sore Feet! It’s only my modesty that is uncomfortable about Wainwright comparisons. And that he does bang on a bit, sometimes. Yes, I want to to be a guide in style. Obviously can’t do a full one here.

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Lynds Jennings July 18, 2012 at 6:25 pm

I don’t often comment on blogs but I really enjoyed this, having looked at the original site before, this is a much more enticing view of the walk! We walk some of the paths in the north often- its always beautiful! Look forward to the next instalment 🙂

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Charles July 18, 2012 at 6:59 pm

Lynds
Lynds, that’s such a nice comment, thanks. Who knows, maybe in a year or two I’ll be on your beautiful doorstep!

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Lynds Jennings July 23, 2012 at 7:26 pm

Shout when you are on your way and I’ll open the wine in good time,best way to watch the sunset !

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Chepstow Walkers are Welcome July 19, 2012 at 6:55 pm

Fantastic blog and loved your comments about Chepstow. Your photos have really showThe town was made an official Walkers are Welcome town in mid April 2012, the first in Monmouthshire. Almost 1,000 signed a petition supporting the towns application. We welcome all visitors, particularly walkers and together with local businesses we are working to ensure that all local acilities and paths are kept up to scratch. Any problems or useful suggestions on how we can improve facilities for walkers then please contact us via our website http://www.walksinchepstow.co.uk In the meantime keep walking………..

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Charles July 19, 2012 at 7:44 pm

Thank you! And glad that your comment gives a plug for the walkers website.

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Jacci Thomas August 15, 2012 at 8:19 pm

Hi,I wish I had read this so much earlier,my daughter has walked the path,but started in Chester,she will complete on Friday,17 August.You can follow her on rightoftheland.Thanks.

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Charles August 15, 2012 at 8:37 pm

Assuming that she will finish in Chepstow you must tell her to get in touch. We live 5 miles from there. And I will certainly follow her last few days!

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EMILY August 18, 2012 at 10:04 pm

Hello webmaster, your “Wales Coast Path:Chepstow to Magor” website was exactly what I was searching for.

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Robert Pinder September 19, 2012 at 8:26 pm

Actually 4 stone heavier . But what’s a stone amongst friends. Tomorrow the Crib fight back begins!

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Julie Owen July 2, 2015 at 8:48 pm

Do you know if there is anyone making the ceramic plaques with the coastal path symbol – wouldn’t it be great to have plates or coasters or something you could put in the garden?

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Charles July 12, 2015 at 3:46 pm

Hi, sorry for the delay in replying. No I don’t know who made the plaques. You might ask Chepstow’s potter Ned Heywood. He does plaques.

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Copyright Charles Hawes (2012)