A2:Tintern round

Important: The Tintern Wireworks bridge, which is part of this walk, is closed until at least March 2023

This is a popular walk which starts at the Old Station about half a mile north of Tintern.  It follows the river down to Tintern, and then crosses it to follow a path which the monks  from Tintern Abbey used to get to their grange (farm) in Brockweir. At Brockweir you recross the river on the iron bridge and complete the circuit back to the Old Station – which, as well as tea and cakes, stocks the delicious local Brooke’s icecream. You should try the Welsh Gold flavour if you haven’t already.


SUMMARY

  • Grade: Easy –  relatively level, can be muddy in places after high tides or rain.
  • Length: 3.2 miles
  • Key Features: Tintern Abbey; much of the walk is alongside the river.
  • Refreshments: Tintern Abbey Mill; Old Station – April to October

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

Route

The walk begins at Tintern Old Station on the A466 between Tintern and Brockweir, where there is some parking. (I was recently given some photos of Tintern Old Station as it was in the 1950s, which shows just how much it has changed – you can see them here if you are interested)

Walk down to the riverbank and turn right.  Follow the river bank underneath the remains of the old river bridge, and continue until you find yourself cutting through the graveyard of Saint Michael’s church.  Go through the graveyard and follow the lane straight ahead of you on to the main A road.

Walk (carefully) along the A road until you see a path leading down to a bridge over the river on your left (just before the shops and cafe at Abbey mill).  Go over the bridge and follow the path round to the right.

After about ¼ mile you will see a path on the left which goes steeply upwards, and is signposted to Brockweir.  Follow this path upwards and after 200 yards or so you’ll find the path takes you over the top of the old railway tunnel.  Keeping left, continue to follow the path, which is the old monks’ road .  This goes through the woods and then begins a long slow decline towards Brockweir, and eventually through a metal gate.  The last stretch can be very muddy, so about 150 yards after the metal gate it is best to take the stile on your left, which cuts down to the riverbank.

At the riverbank turn right and walk towards the Moravian church  in Brockweir.  At the church, keep right and follow the alley way over a stream and around houses and then left up towards the B road through Brockweir.  Turn left here past the pub, and continue over the bridge across the river.  On your left there is an old wooden gate opening with steps downwards on to the old railway track.  Either follow the railway track back to the old station, or turn left at the bottom of the steps, and follow the river bank.

The walk

I did this walk on a late autumn afternoon, returning as the sun was setting.  The morning had been very frosty and by the time I began walking the frost had melted into icy droplets, which made the hawthorns along the river look as though they were covered in fairy lights.

The tide must have been up in the morning as well, because some of the stretches along the river, particularly underneath the remains of the old bridge across the river, were very muddy and quite difficult to get across without slipping.  There was a lot of scum on the river, which I’ve never seen before, and which seemed very out of place in such a fast flowing river.  On the stretch leading up to St Michaels I spotted what I at first assumed was a pair of grebes, because of their long and graceful dives – but as I approached I realised that the colouring and shape was wrong.  I managed to take a few somewhat blurry photos, which I used to identify them when I got home – and they were a pair of goosanders.

Walking through Tintern, the sun was just beginning to come down and reflecting off a band of golden larches further south on the eastern bank.  The temperature was dropping sharply, and mist was beginning to rise from the river mixing with smoke from the houses which made that the Abbey in the distance look like a smudged painting.  Going over the river bridge  there were beautiful reflections of the autumn trees peeping through the rusty structure.

Leaving the Monks’ Road, and cutting down to the river on the return stretch of the walk I could clearly see ribbons of mist coming up from the water meadow opposite, but was still surprised when I walked into a palpable mass of water soaked freezing air as I descended to the river.  The rest of the walk was uneventful and rather brisk is it aimed back towards warmth and light.

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