Offa's Dyke Path National Trail

A personal record of my walk of Offa's Dyke Path National Trail with written journal and photographs. Tracklogs for GPS units and for use with Google Earth are available for download for each stage.

Journal, Photographs and Download Files

Stage 12: Brockweir to Sedbury Cliffs
Google Maps Open Source Maps

Statistics and Files
Start: Brockweir Finish: Sedbury Cliffs Distance: 8.3 miles (13.3 km)
Time: 4 hours Climbing: 436 metres Rating: Moderate
GPX Route File Google Earth File About Offa's Dyke
Start: Brockweir Finish: Sedbury Cliffs
Distance: 8.3 miles (13.3 km) Time: 4 hours
Climbing: 436 metres Rating: Moderate
GPX Route File Google Earth File
Ordnance Survey Explorer Map (1:25,000)

The Walk: From my early morning Facebook post, 15th May 2015: Good morning from Offa's Dyke Path. It is the last day and I have just about dried out from yesterdays deluge. Eight miles to go to the finish at Sedbury Cliffs near Chepstow. I will enjoy more woodland walking to the coast and I am promised an outstanding view of Chepstow Castle sitting on the edge of a precarious cliff. I am sad in a way that the walk is almost over but it will be nice to see my family again. To the end of the trail I go.

A gorgeous final morningA gorgeous final morning
The path through Caswell WoodsThe path through Caswell Woods

I woke to a beautiful morning. The wet front which blighted my walk yesterday had passed through and crossed the north sea into the continent. Blue skies and sunshine would accompany me to the conclusion of my Offa's Dyke Path walk at Sedbury Cliffs. Not wanted to encourage change I was on my way as soon as possible, at 8.00am prompt after a lovely breakfast from my hosts at Castel-a-Buff. (An important note: I have been well looked after at my chosen accommodations during this walk. I cannot find complaint with any. All have been excellent). I regained the path at Mill Hill and headed south, soon entering the cover of Caswell Woods. The ground cover of Bluebell, Wild Garlic, Sages and Orchids, all in their best springtime colour were a beautiful accompaniment to the walk through the woodland.

View to Tintern Abbey from Devil's PulpitView to Tintern Abbey from Devil's Pulpit
Worgan's WoodWorgan's Wood

I arrived at Devil's Pulpit, a limestone outcrop resembling a seat and positioned with a stupendous view of Tintern Abbey with the River Wye meandering around the site of the abbey in a u-shape. A break in the bank of woodland trees on the east bank of the Wye valley made for an unrestricted view from Devil's Pulpit which I guess is more design than natural. I took advantage of this and sat on the natural limestone seat to look down on Tintern Abbey and its perfect setting on the edge of the River Wye myself. After ten minutes of contemplative relaxation admiring the view I was on my feet again, walking from Caswell Woods to Worgan's Wood, passing close to Tidenham Chase and the site of the ancient village of East Vaga. From ancient I was quickly delivered into the present when I emerged from the woodlands to stand at the site of the busy B4228 road to Chepstow. I followed the road down Dennel Hill for half a mile before exiting left, heading down lanes, across a field and through a wood to Wallhope Grove. I had my first good view of the Severn Road Bridge from Wallhope Grove.

Renewing acquaintancesRenewing acquaintances
Spring colour in WoodcroftSpring colour in Woodcroft

Next on my route to the conclusion of my Offa's Dyke Path walk was the village of Woodcroft. On my way there, while crossing more fields, I saw familiar faces walking just ahead of me. I hurriedly caught up with them and said "Fancy meeting you here. Then again you did say you would be walking in the area today". It was the two couples I had met seeking refuge from the deluge of yesterday in the Naval Temple on the Kymin of Monmouth. They were as pleased to see me as I was them and we all had a laugh about yesterday while thanking the good weather of today. Though a little cloud had spread in while we chatted there were still scatterings of blue sky and no chance of rain. Wishing them good fortune on the rest of their walking holiday I continued on my walk to the finish of my quest which was now just three miles away.

Tutshill Lookout TowerTutshill Lookout Tower
Chepstow CastleChepstow Castle

I walked towards Tutshill, passing a huge quarry on the way and then reaching an arched entry to path leading to a park which read "Mediaeval Times Donkey Lane". The park had an old stone structure in the centre of a grassed area. Tutshill Lookout Tower is thought to be a watchtower of Anglo-Saxon origin and later the site of a windmill. No one is sure. From the site of the lookout tower I continued on my way to a point on the path directly above Castleford Hill which commanded an excellent view across Chepstow Bridge to Chepstow Castle. The tide was out leaving the tidal section of the River Wye a muddy mess. The low tide even revealed the stone platforms supporting the pillars of Chepstow Bridge. I enjoyed my view of the castle for five minutes and in the knowledge of the fact I had less than two miles to go now to complete my Offa's Dyke Path walk.

Offa's Dyke Path at SedburyOffa's Dyke Path at Sedbury
Journey's EndJourney's End

I have to be honest, the next mile and a half of walking from Castleford Hill to Buttington Tump was the least enjoyable section of the entire walk. During the mile and a half I walked on the roads and through the estates of Sedbury. Not the prettiest place. The bit I walked through by following the official Offa's Dyke Path trail anyway. Part of the walk here hemmed me in behind high garden fences on one side and prickly hedges on the other. Sorry about that Sedbury but my walk through was not the best. Still, once I reached Buttington Tump all changed. I was back into a countryside environment after crossing a road and following one of the best sections of the original Offa's Dyke earthwork of all. Offa's Dyke is like Hadrian's Wall, it appears in only bits and pieces making each real touch with it all the more fulfilling. I was so glad I was walking north to south now and having the company of the earthwork to lead me to the end of my walk. I bounded on top of the Dyke. At a break, on a footbridge across a small coombe a sign said "Congratulations! You've nearly made it to Sedbury Cliffs and completed Offa's Dyke Path National Trail. Only a few steps to go on your epic 284km (177 mile) walk. Well done". And a few steps later my walk was finished. A stone with a metal plate inscription marked the spot.

Severn Road BridgeSevern Road Bridge
Sedbury CliffsSedbury Cliffs

I sat down at the end of the trail, looked across the Severn Estuary, to Sedbury Cliffs and to the Severn Road Bridge and while doing so I contemplated my walk over the last twelve days. I thought about the three ranges of hills I crossed, each one for the first time. First the Clwydian Hills, then the Clun Hills and finally the Hatterall Ridge of the Black Mountains. I thought of all the stunning woodlands I had passed through and how enjoyed the Bluebell displays and the fresh smell of Wild Garlic in springtime. I thought of the lovely towns and villages. I thought of the amazing countryside and friendly people of the Welsh Marches and borderlands of England and Wales. I thought of lots more too, of amusing moments with animals, of those tempestuous bullocks and funny sheep. And of the lamb I rescued. Then I thought of how much I have loved walking the Offa's Dyke Path throughout and how I love long distance walking in general and of where shall I go next. Where?

From my evening Facebook post, 15th May 2015: Thank you for the kind messages everyone. It is Fizz, Beer and Barbecue tonight with my family in Usk. I need a rest beforehand though, my two year old granddaughter has worn me out this afternoon far more than the walk did. My feet bore the strain remarkably well, no blisters or sprains. I will share more photographs and memories of the walk when back home next week. Then it will be time to plan my 3/4 day wild camping Lakeland summer walks. Thank you and goodbye Offa's Dyke Path

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