June 17, 2019. 13 miles. Finally all together, first steps, Tintern Abbey.
Because of all of our airport delays, we didn’t get any time to explore Chepstow, and I really wish we did; Chepstow is such a quintessential Welsh town and it’s just so cute! We also didn’t get to walk the first 2-3 from Sedbury to Chepstow. But it’s okay!
We started our walk at the castle in Chepstow and wow… it’s so old and fascinating. We got a few minutes to walk around it but couldn’t go in because it was closed. William the Conqueror started construction on the castle in 1067, and it is the oldest post-Roman stone fortification still standing in Britain. Castles seem so out-there and unreal until you actually see them and touch the stones. It’s crazy to think about how many people helped construct the castle, how many people lived there, and how many people have been amazed by the history there just like I was.
We walked through some woods and saw the remains of Tintern Abbey from above as well as the literary famed Devil’s Pulpit. I completely understand why Wordsworth felt moved to write "Lines Composed a Few Miles Above Tintern Abbey" in the woods above Tintern.
Our group didn’t walk the entire distance of today because we were so exhausted from all the traveling, and I am really, really really glad we didn’t. Sevenish miles was enough for me on the first day.
The first full leg of the trip took us to Redbrook, though due to the late start (the rest of the group were delayed about 24 hours and arrived in Chepstow at 3:20), we had to be driven from Tintern to Redbrook. This is the countryside that inspired Wordsworth to write “A Few Lines Written Above Tintern Abbey” more than 200 years ago. It’s still easy to see his inspiration. The views along the River Wye and the murmur of the river are bucolic—especially once away from Chepstow, where wide, muddy banks make the river appear low.
It feels good to be walking. The hills are lush, green, and invigorating.