Wednesday, 25 September 2013

See it, blog it: Wales Coast Path

Severn bridge in the distance
The Severn bridge in the distance

Did you see Rachel's new blogging challenge over at My Life in Knitwear?  It's called See it, Blog it, an invitation to go out and visit somewhere local you've never been before but have always meant to. Well, I was game, as I have a list as long as my arm of places in and around the Wye Valley on the to-see list. So this Sunday, several hours after we had planned to set out, we eventually made our way over to Black Rock for an amble along the Severn estuary.

The route forms part of the Wales Coast Path - I find it truly amazing that you can now walk the whole 870 miles around the coast of this little country.  Black Rock, our destination on the weekend, is just a few miles from the beginning of the path in our home town of Chepstow and is famous for the tradition of lave net fishing, which is still practised and demonstrated here. This spot has always been a crossing point across the estuary, with archaeological finds of coins showing its importance as far back as Roman times

Standing in Black Rock, you have lovely views of the Severn bridge in the distance. It really is awe-inspiring, what a feat of engineering! In spite of the fact that, living as we do in Chepstow, we cross the bridge to England fairly regularly, the children still get genuinely excited at the prospect. What started out as a regular request from my eldest that we put the radio on so that 'the crossing' could be accompanied by music, became, this Summer a firmly entrenched family ritual of queuing up 'Chariots of Fire' on the ipod as our personal family bridge-crossing soundtrack; suitably rousing, I think!

Having walked along the path, through the village of Sudbrook, which grew primarily to house the workers on the Severn tunnel in the nineteenth century, we ended up near the second Severn crossing. You are always conscious of living in a border town in Chepstow, with no fewer than 4 bridges and 1 tunnel in the environs where you cross from one country to another. My mostly half-Welsh, half-English children will never feel too far from either set of roots!

second severn crossing

Still on the to-do list is to travel further upstream to see the Severn bore (the tidal range of the Severn is the second largest in the world). We also have designs on some more chunks of the Wales Coast Path, though progress will be at a three-year old's pace, so I doubt we'll get the full 870 miles covered any time soon.


  1. Great post and thanks so much for joining in with See It, Blog It! I love bridges and the Severn is a superb seems very appropriate to play Chariots of Fire as you cross!

  2. My parents have actually walked the whole 187 and offa's dyke - so they've walked all the way round wales! (It did take them three years though) I'm ashamed to say that I only walked around 50 miles with them-mostly Pembs and Ceredigion but it really does drive home what a beautiful country we are lucky enough to live in!

  3. Hello Angharad
    It's great that you have enjoyed your adventures on the path and hope to welcome you back again soon. There are more great walks to enjoy not too far away and we would perhaps highlight the Glamorgan Heritage Coast as being particularly breathtaking. You may prefer to wait until your youngsters are a little older though as there's lots of cliffs on this section. Here are some great family friendly suggestions: and our Piers and Promenades page offers great family options as well as being great throughout the year: (If you are keen cyclists there are some good options on the south coast and we'd draw your attention to the Millennium Coastal Park and the Cardiff Bay Barrage.) Anyway, wishing you and your family well on your future explorations.

  4. I grew up in Somerset and crossing the bridge to see my family in the Cinderford area and Wales was part of my childhood too ... it is an awesome structure!

  5. looks fab! When the kids get bigger maybe you could do the whole thing ;-)

  6. There is a fantastic place to see it just outside Gloucester called Over Bridge. Let me know if you make it up to this end of the Severn

  7. that's a great challenge. and a long walk!

  8. I always wanted to see the Severn bore, too - everyone else in my family had, plus living nearby for so long makes it very silly that I never have.


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