Monmouth Bridge – Offa’s Dyke

Monmouth Bridge on Offa's Dyke Follow Me on Pinterest
Monmouth Bridge on Offa’s Dyke

Offa’s Dyke Walk:  There was a gradual ascent through a series of beech-forested slopes named Quicken Tree Wood, Wyeseal Wood and Creeping Hill.

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The sky remained overcast without threat of rain. Once Keith and I had reached the top, we had occasional glimpses of the Wye and again walked upon the Dyke for a short distance.
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Enjoying striding out along the half decent track, we met a group of girls labouring beneath huge back packs. They were pupils from the local Monmouth School and were glad of some distraction from their travails.
 “Camping out?” I asked.
 “We’re doing a two day walk for the Duke of Edinburgh’s Bronze Medal award,” one of the girls said. Their packs seemed out of all proportion to their sizes.
 “We have to take all our necessities and bedding,” another said as if reading my mind.
 “Well, take care,” said Keith as we all parted company and continued our respective journeys.
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A little further on we met some more of the participants in the Duke’s Bronze Award, red-faced and perspiring, but appearing to enjoy the challenge. Leaving the forested slope at Highbury Wood, we entered a great open field from where we could see the village of Lower Redbrook picturesquely located near the bank of the Wye.
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We passed through the village and followed the road up through the adjoining village of Upper Redbrook, which displayed its industrial past as a cottage industry of water mills. The gurgling streams which had powered the mills was still flowing lustily giving off delightful gurgles as it moved down the channel by the side of the road.
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The track turned left away from the road and continued to climb for some distance until we entered another forested area known as Harper’s Grove. The rain had held off, but the temperature had dropped markedly due to the wind.
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In a clearing we came across a marvellous monument. This was the Naval Temple, a celebration of British naval might and a memorial to several British admirals, including Nelson who visited the site in 1802.
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A short distance away was The Kymin, a favourite picnic destination of Monmouthians. The neatly trimmed lawns and cinder covered footpaths lent a sense of respectability to this vantage point. From here the views across to Monmouth were grand. And here also was sited The Roundhouse, a two storied castellated tower.
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 In the 1700s, The Kymin played an important part in the local gentry’s social calendar as the gentlemen of Monmouth met here on Tuesdays for open air lunches. (Their servants had the unenviable task of walking up the steep incline from Monmouth to prepare the comestibles and then carry the used dishes and implements down again after the lunch. Vigorous exercise to say the least).
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The weather was just as capricious then as these days, so in 1794 they collected subscriptions and built a banqueting house to enable luncheons to take place even during inclement weather.
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We left this unusual place and began our descent to Monmouth through Garth Wood. Another steep and muddy path to negotiate. Leaving the wooded area we found ourselves on the outskirts of Monmouth and passed by Monmouth School. It had the severest motto I had seen, “Serve and Obey” tattooed below a coat of arms. I picked up a town map from the tourist office.
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The girls would be picking us up in an hour’s time, so here was a good opportunity to explore this famous old town.
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