St Mary’s Church and burial ground date back to the 12th century. It was replaced in 1866 but was destroyed by fire in 1977 and never restored. Graves in the churchyard are still tended.
There’s been a church at Penterry since 995 AD. It was extended in Victorian times. The church still holds services but has no electricity and uses oil lamps for lighting. You can only access it across open meadow.
Little remains of the Wireworks in the Angidy valley which was at the cutting edge of Britain’s industrial development for at least three centuries. There are several plaques and display boards setting out the history of this stunning valley which once was a noisy, smokey and smelly place where huge heavy hammers pounded iron, and molten metal ran into moulds to make cannon.
One of the walking routes I regularly recommend to our guests is the one from the farm to Tintern. Last week was no exception and a delightful couple who stayed in the Skirrid cottage for 4 nights did the hike with their dog Wallace.
I am in the process of completing a laminated map of the route so I gave Leanne and Callum a draft copy and they made it down to The Royal George Hotel for what they described as a great meal. It really is a tremendous venue to have a drink and a meal. I have not had a guest yet that has returned who isn’t delighted with the food. The couple retraced their steps to return to the farm.
On Saturday I did the route myself to take some photos for the guide I’m creating. I have done the journey many dozens of times and it is somewhat of a pilgrimage because on the route you pass the ancient Penterry Church in the middle of a field; the derelict St Mary’s church looking like something from a gothic horror movie and of course the spectacular Tintern Abbey on the banks of the River Wye.
The walk took me 1 hour and 35 minutes with the stops to take photos.
Once in Tintern you are spoilt for choice: Visit the ruins of the Abbey; enjoy the Anchor pub next door with a large garden ideal for kids; walk by the river to the Royal George; shop in Abbey Mill; further into the village is the Rose and Crown known locally for its good steaks; onto Parva Vineyard, the old railway station tourist attraction and the magnificent Kingstone brewery with a tremendous selection of beers, a decent lager and local cider too, homemade pizzas from an outside oven and they hire canoes and mountain bikes.
On Saturday I settled for a pint in the Royal George and then walked to the Fountain Inn at Trellech Grange as an alternative route back to the farm via another pub.
I used to live near Ironbridge in Telford which is known as the birthplace of the industrial revolution, but I have come to learn that it is in fact Tintern and the Lower Wye Valley which should hold the title because here industry started much sooner.
On the walk to the Fountain you pass up the Angidy valley to the site of an old ironworks where you’ll find lots of fascinating facts about the real cradle of industry famed for its iron wire and brass products including cannon.
The walk to the Fountain took me an hour. There’s a lot of uphill for much of it and there’s a funny wiggly bit around a farm but arriving at Gwent’s current CAMRA (Campaign for Real Ale) country pub of the year (2019) is a treat.
It was busy on Saturday night and if you plan to eat there on the weekend then I recommend you book in advance or as soon as you arrive.
My wife Chris joined me for a meal to end a lovely afternoon.
From the Fountain there is a route back to the farm which I am also mapping out. My guess it is another 1 and a half hours at most. I’ll time it, take photos and see. Watch out for details in future blogs or when you arrive as a guest.
A family of 5 adults and 2 children stayed in the Sugar Loaf cottage on the weekend. They brought their bikes and enjoyed a cycle round the whole of Chepstow Park Woods, walks around Cefn Garw woods next door and on Saturday, when it was raining and windy they visited Clearwell caves which is a wonderful venue to explore underground shafts and caverns, get a feel for what mining would have been like and experience the thrill of potholing. They had a great time and highly recommended it and of course being in a cave it was sheltered from the wind and rain.
They didn’t go but a good recommendation for afterwards would be the Ostrich pub at Newlands which is nearby. I love this authentic pub opposite “the cathedral of the forest”.
Featured image: Tintern Abbey was founded in 1131 by Walter de Clare, Lord of Chepstow. The abbey rooves where removed and windows smashed during Henry VIII’s Dissolution of the Monasteries in 1536. The shell fell into chronic decay, before it was rediscovered in the late 18th century. Photo copyright: Saffron Blaze [CC BY-SA 3.0 (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0)]