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Walking the Offa's Dyke Path

Day Two: Trial by Flood

English sun

The fab-four saw the English sun for the first time in a long time this morning! They left the B&B early to begin the Offa's Dyke walk from Chepstow to Redbrook, which is about 13 miles. The bright morning sunshine highlighted the trail making it very beautiful in places.

They walked through woods that reminded Ernest of all the Robin Hood movies he had watched as a kid; even Hansel and Gretel would have been at home here. Ernest had little experience with the trees and plants in these woods. They were not like anything he had seen hiking in California and Australia. During this part of the walk they stopped at the Devil's Pulpit, which gave them a fantastic view of Tintern Abbey. The remains of Tintern are a mixture of buildings covering a 400-year period between 1136 and 1536. Not much is left of the first buildings. However, Tintern Abbey is a great example of medieval art and architecture.

Tintern Abbey

Eventually they came to the Wye River, which was running very high because of all the rain. They had a choice to take the river route or the dyke route; they chose the river route because it seemed more scenic. It turned out to be an extremely beautiful walk, but very muddy in spots. The swollen river Wye eventually blocked their progress as it completely submerged a section of the path. Their options were to back track a mile or so and try to get to the road above the track. Or they could bush-bash their own way on the high ground above the now submerged path. They chose to bush-bash through the holly, blackberry bushes, and thick bracken.

The very flooded Wye River

They accessed the hill, above the path, by climbing a steep and slippery cliff face. It was amazingly lucky that no one got injured as they made it past the flooded parts of the track using this method. Their efforts pushing through the forest allowed them to rejoin the path after the flooded section. They were very tired after this and had several more miles to go before reaching their accommodation in Redbrook. It had been a long day so they made their way slowly through the gorgeous pine tree forests along the path ahead. They arrived late in the afternoon and were glad to have put this first day behind them. This time of year it gets dark very early so it was lucky they had not arrived much later or they would have been walking in the dark. The good news was it did not rain a drop all day!

Will their luck hold out? Will there be other flooded sections of the path? And what about the mud, will it wear them down? Is rain and snow waiting for them on the next section of the walk?

Join me on my next installment of Walking the Offa's Dyke Path.


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