B3:Through oak woods and along an ancient road

This is a varied and pleasant circuar walk on the eastern slopes of the Wye Valley, below Monmouth.  It is particularly  beautiful in Spring ( late April/May)  when the woods are bursting with bluebells and wild garlic, but at any time of the year it provides glimpses into some of the ancient and secluded corners of the popular Wye Valley.


  • Grade:Easy-moderate. Mostly easy, but with a flight of steps and a steeper short downhill section
  • Length:4.8 miles
  • Key Features: In Spring there are masses of  bluebells under oak trees, wild garlic, and many other spring flowers; an ancient road sunk amongst tree roots; views along Wye Valley, and Redbrook-Newlands valley
  • Refreshments: Florence Hotel on the A466 between Bigsweir and Redbrook. Shop and pubs in Llandogo, or Redbrook

For an interactive version of this map click the image above or here


Go north on the A466 over the bridge at Bigsweir, and take the road off to the right (signposted Mork) very shortly after the bridge.  There is a parking place on your left a few hundred yards up the hill.

The walk begins by going through Cadora and Bigsweir woods.  Once you have parked take the track which is straight ahead through a gate with a sign ‘Bigsweir woods’ to the left of the gate.  Go straight along the track until you get to a crossing of paths where there is a wooden ‘bollard’ signpost. Take the path on the right going up a flight of wooden steps. If you find yourself in conifers you have gone too far and need to re-trace your steps to find the path up the wooden steps.

At the top, turn left going over a stile and through a field.  You are now on the Offa’s Dyke path. Continue following this past Coxbury farm, until you reach a lane where you find yourself facing a sign saying ‘Highbury woods nature reserve’.

At this point you go right along the lane, On the left you’ll see some pretty views of the valley which runs from Redbrook to Newlands.

When you reach an asphalted track go left. Along this stretch there are views on the right along the Wye valley towards Bigsweir bridge.

When another track comes in from the left you just keep straight ahead.  Just after Wyegate Cottage carry straight on, past Wyegate Green Cottage.

You will then be walking downhill towards the Mork valley. Keep on a downhill route.  On your left hand side if you look down you will see yellow machines for clay pigeon shooting. Continue downhill for a few hundred yards where there is a signed path on your right which you take  through a strip of woodland.

Go downhill with the fence on your left. You lose the fence for a short distance, but then it ( or a close relation) re-appears. Where the path forks with the left branch going downwards, you continue along the broader upper right branch.

Follow this down, until you meet a broader track where you go left.  Just in front of a wooden gate turn right and continue downhill to the car park.

The walk

The predominantly oak woods in this area are very well known for their carpets of bluebells in late April and early May.  In some places this gives way to expanses of white headed wild garlic, and it always surprises me that the bluebells and wild garlic rarely mix.  On the other hand many of the other spring flowers, yellow rattle, red campion, woodruff, and foxgloves are quite happy to find a place amongst the bluebells.

The hawthorn blossom is also amazing this spring, very dense and white.  I don’t know whether that’s because of the very cold winter we had (2010-11), or because we’ve had such a dry spring and so the blossoms haven’t turned brown and soggy on the trees.

The Coxbury-Wyegate lane which you go along is an ancient road, possibly dating back to Anglo Saxon times.  The immense age shows in the way that the lane itself has sunk so that you find yourself walking between contorted tree roots. There is one spot where, off  to the right, you find yourself looking through a tree root tunnel ( see the photo).

The next part of the walk was along a farm lane, with pretty hedgerow flowers like purple vetch, creeping buttercup, and gypsies’ lace, amongst many others.

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