LOOKING for something to do with the family this weekend? Well, this walk is ideal.

It is 2.5 miles along old railway tracks next to the River Wye in the beautiful area around Tintern - where you will find some great cafes for cakes and hot drinks on your return.

You'll also get to see the oldest Cistercian abbey in Wales, a renovated water wheel and a fascinating old railway station - so plenty for the little ones to look out for.

If you need to take public transport the number 69 bus from either Monmouth or Chepstow takes you to Tintern and you can check up to date times on the National Travel Line on 0871 220 22 33.


South Wales Argus: Map. From Walk Thurs Wye by the Wye Valley Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty. Crown copyright.

1. You start at the Old Station Tintern, where there is a pay and display car park and a bus stop right outside.

Walk past the old station and along the path. Go down the shallow brick paved ramp onto the grass.

This area was formerly used for two railway tracks and an island platform.

Turn left passing the picnic tables and walk down the grass ramp at the end of the platform with a restored railway signal on the right. You are now on the original trackbed of the railway.

A children's play area is located just beyond an old water tower on the left.

Continue along the track for 500m, where it ends in a flight of steps leading up onto Brockweir Bridge. Be aware that the bridge is currently undergoing refurbishment works.

There is a seat on the left before the steps. The walk is unsuitable for wheelchair users from this point.

2. Brockweir Bridge. Climb the steps to a road. Turn right and cross the bridge into the village of Brockweir.

Before the railway opened in 1876, the River Wye was the most reliable route for transport of goods up and down the valley.

The river was navigable for sea going vessels as far up stream as Brockweir, which developed into a small port with a quayside, shipbuilding and ship repair facilities.

Cargo for towns further up the river had to be offloaded into barges which were suitable for shallow waters. These were hauled by teams of men and horses using towpaths along the river bank.

While crossing the bridge you will see the renovated Brockweir Quay, which you can take a detour to visit.

Shortly after the bridge you pass the former Brockweir Inn on your right. Just after here turn right and after 30m turn down a little footpath waymarked Brockweir Moravian Church. Follow the tarmac path towards the church.

The white church stands of the site of a cock-fighting pit. Brockweir has a reputation for lawlessness, gambling and debauchery and the Moravians were a religious community anxious to save sinners. After the church was built the local congregation grew and a school was established.

Just before the church entrance take the footpath to your left, cross a stile and continue along the river meadows with the river on your right. After about 200m turn sharp left walking away from the river diagonally up to a stile in the hedge on your left.

3. Cross the stile, turn right and walk along the stony track into woodland. After about one kilometre you reach a junction of footpaths near a short stretch of low stone wall, continue ahead walking downhill.

Take care in this section as the path is stony and descends fairly steeply to a bigger track at the bottom which is the old railway line.

Turn right and follow the track which eventually swings left over the Wireworks Bridge and meets up with the main road in Tintern. (Note: there are plans this year to close the Wireworks Bridge for a number of months for restoration work to take place).

4. You will pass Abbey Mill with its shops, cafe and renovated water wheel. If you would like to visit Tintern Abbey, turn left when you reach the main road and continue straight on. The abbey is right in front of you.

South Wales Argus: Tintern Abbey: Picture by Suzanne Williams

Tintern Abbey: Picture by Suzanne Williams

If you wish to continue on the circular walk without the abbey detour turn right onto the main road and use the pavement. This is an extremely busy road, so take care. When the pavement comes to an end, cross the road and use the pavement on the other side. Just before the footpaths ends again at the other end of the village cross the road again and walk between the metal railings and the river to rejoin the pavement beyond.

5. When you reach a road sign 'Catbrook 2 miles' turn right down the walkway waymarked Wye Valley Walk and St Michaels Church.

Walk down past the church onto a footpath and continue beyond the churchyard onto a footpath that runs along the riverbank.

Walk along the riverbank until you reach the stone buttresses of an old railway bridge. You can turn left through the gate next to the buttresses and head up steps to the old railway track, Turn left and walk back to Old Station Tintern. On this route you will pass a series of wooden sculptures called The Circle of legends depicting historical and allegorical figures from Wales.

Alternatively you can keep straight on along the river and then turn left up through the willow arch, climb the steps and go back onto the railway track to the Old Station.

This walk was taken from the booklet Walk this Wye, published by the Wye Valley Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty. Price £2. For more details visit www.wyevalleyaonb.org