Chepstow is unquestionably a gateway town. It has always been so since earliest Roman times. Strategically linking the beautiful River Wye and the dramatic Severn Estuary, it quickly became an important trading port. It still connects England to Wales via the original Severn Suspension bridge – a great way to arrive, by the way.
The pretty market town’s name derives from the Old English words “Chepe” and “Stowe” meaning market place, and it’s claimed to be the home of the nation’s oldest surviving stone castle. In the past the huge, magnificent wooden doors of Chepstow castle have held back the hordes of visitors beating down hard on them! But times change and you will now get a very different welcome if you choose to visit this picturesque small town. This is a great year to visit too, as 2018 is the ‘Year of the Sea’ – a year long celebration of Wales’ spectacular, and extremely varied, coastline. Chepstow is a key destination on the ‘Wales Coast Path,’ being the start of this picturesque walking route which now allows you to walk around the entire land and sea boundaries of Wales; 870 miles (1,400km) of striking coastline walks and impressive scenery. A ground breaking first of its kind, with Wales proudly leading the way.
At Chepstow you can choose to either follow a short section down to the sea or take an inland walk on Offa’s Dyke along the scenic River Wye. You’ll be well rewarded on either and following in the footsteps of Wordsworth and Turner. Two marker stones, one of local Pennant sand stone, show the start point near the Old Town Bridge not far from the castle. Here you can also see a ceramic map on the pavement depicting the whole of the Wales Coast Path and Offa’s Dyke Path Trail. You can learn more about the history of the town, and the surrounding areas, in the fascinating museum opposite the castle and also in the great Tourist Information Office in the Castle Car Park. It’s easy to find information about local walks as Chepstow is officially a ‘Walkers Are Welcome’ town. All walks are clearly marked. Businesses in the town are happy to help with everything needed for a great walking holiday, from helpful baggage transfers to delicious packed lunches. If you decide to rest your weary head – or perhaps feet – all budgets are catered for from 5 star luxury to the walker’s hostel. You will also find a great selection of charming holiday cottages as well as glamping/ camping options in the local area that borders the stunning Forest of Dean; and the Wye Valley, a designated Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty – the perfect spots to ‘Find Your Epic.’
Will Renwick, President of Ramblers Cymru, and the youngest person to walk round the entire country using the Wales Coast Path when it first opened, commented, “We have an unbelievable coastline in Wales. If you’re thinking of going overseas this summer, consider spending a week or two exploring what we have here.” Well said Will. Add to the mix the wonderful countryside, independent locally run shops and markets, a great racecourse and golf course on the doorstep, and stunning wedding venues; there’s something for everyone in Chepstow, making it a remarkable destination that you’ll want to visit time and time again! For more information: www.visitmonmouthshire.com.