Statistics: 14.3 miles, ascent 2291′, 8 hours
Sarah and I left the B&B after breakfast, crossing the bridge leading out of town. As we continued uphill beyond the town, we had a great view of Chepstow Castle bathed in sunshine.
In an occurrence not to be repeated for the rest of the trail, we were to discover that at least two trail markers were not clear, leading us into several off-trail adventures. The first “miss” diverted us to Lancout Wood along the River Wye – a very precarious route. As we followed the contour of the river, we were actually below and quite close to Offa’s Path, but it was 40′ above us. On our GPS screen these trails essentially overlapped and we were not sure which was our current path, or how to cross from one to the other. When we discovered the solution, we had to scramble over huge rock slides…
…and crawl up a steep embankment to an abandoned quarry which gave us access to the trail. The quarry presented us with a great view of the Wye Valley.
After all the hassle to get back on track, guess what? Within an hour, our GPS again indicated that the path we were now on was not Offa’s Path. We realized this rather quickly, back tracked and found our trail marker buried in the bushes. We continued on in deep, damp woods before reaching the Devil’s Pulpit, an outcropping of rock overlooking the ruins of Tintern Abbey.
We walked in and out of rain showers for the rest of the afternoon through Bigsweir and eventually to our lovely B&B, The Florence Hotel. Our evening’s room had a view of the woods and deer in one direction…
…and of the River Wye in the other.
It was now time to rest and contemplate a very pleasant first day on Offa’s Dyke Path.