Statistics: 4 miles, ascent and descent 0.
My hiking buddy, Sarah Allday, and my mom accompanied me on this journey. Sarah hiked with me on the trails, while my mom enjoyed the B&Bs and used local transport to ride from one night’s stop to the next. When we arrived at our journey’s trail head, Chepstow (in southern Wales), on a Sunday, everything (including the restaurants) was closed after 2:00pm. Sarah and I spent the next day, Monday, exploring the Chepstow area, using that day to recover from jet-lag. Our first impression was the substantial impact of the ocean tide on the River Wye, which runs through Chepstow and into the River Severn. Upon our arrival the river was small with muddy banks. The next morning it was a mighty torrent that appeared close to flooding!
Since the B&B was near the Offa’s Dyke Path, two miles up the trail from the trail head, and we wanted to start the trail from its origin, we hiked to the start and then back to the B&B for the evening. During this four miles, we climbed over 6 styles, an indication of things to come.
(Trail head marker)
The dyke was clearly evident as we began the Path along the top of a mound which is all that remains of the dyke in this area.
The Path’s signage and its acorn logo is frequent and helpful.
My mom joined us to visit Chepstow Castle which is a fascinating, though crumbling, castle in the middle of town. Chepstow Castle was initially built by the Normans in 1067 and is the oldest surviving stone castle in Britain. It is now often used for concerts.
Returning to the B&B, we had our first Welsh tea, chatted with other guests and crashed into bed, still feeling our jet-lag.