Here is our guide to Tintern in Monmouthshire with a selection of walks, unique places to stay and eat, plus things to do in the local area
lies on the Welsh bank of the lower Wye Valley, about 5 miles north of Chepstow and the M4. The valley is narrowed and rugged at this point, but opens out slightly at Tintern, where the Cistercians founded their second abbey in 1131. Today the village is dominated by the abbey’s spectacular ruins, much of which was built at the end of the 13th century.
Tintern is also renowned for its countryside and scenic walks, many of which start on either side of the foot and cycle bridge that crosses the Wye to the north of the abbey. One particular favourite is the Devil’s Pulpit, which affords a spectacular view of Tintern from high up on the valley edge, while it’s also possible to walk from here to the Offa’s Dyke Trail
, which travels north-south along the old Welsh-English border.
Walks in Monmouthshire
The dramatic ruins of Tintern Abbey in Wales (Getty)
Climb high above the village of Tintern and its ancient ruined abbey through autumn woodland to a viewpoint wreathed in legend, then return to a cosy inn at Brockweir for a celebratory pub lunch.
River Wye Gloucestershire
Hike along a wooded bank past radiant wildflowers, foraging deer and a king’s cave on a seven-mile track beside the River Wye in Herefordshire, Gloucestershire and Monmouthshire.
Where to eat and sleep on the Wye trail
From tiny campsites to luxury B&Bs if you’re planning to Walk the Wye trail, and want to know where to eat, sleep here are TV presenter Kate Humble top recommendations.
The Old Vicarage, LlangurigA dog-friendly guest house in Llangurig. Clean, comfortable, quiet and a truly delicious breakfast.
The Post Office in Llangurig, run by Mary Davies, is just a couple of minutes’ walk from the guest house, has a good range of supplies for walkers and Mary will add you to her Facebook page.
Elan Valley Hotel, Rhayader
Rhayader has a number of pubs and cafes, but the bar of the Elan Valley hotel. The full Sunday lunch also looked delicious.
Celtic Woodland Holidays, Builth Wells
A small number of self-contained wooden pods set in pretty woodland with lovely views. There is a very clean, warm, communal shower and toilet block – fantastic hot showers courtesy of their biomass boiler. Small honesty shop with supplies like Welsh cakes, milk, chocolate, eggs etc. Just on the outskirts of the village, they have a pick-up service for walkers. Dog friendly.
Poetry inspired by Tintern
After centuries of neglect, Tintern re-emerged as a favourite spot for the late Georgian tourist trade. English poet William Wordsworth composed a poem on a second visit in 1798, commenting that “no poem of mine was composed under circumstances more pleasant for me to remember than this.”
Wordsworth, wrote the poem ‘Tintern Abbey’ or ‘Lines Composed A Few Miles Above Tintern Abbey’ in 1798. Inspired by the derelict abbey, which sits on the banks of the River Wye in Monmouthshire, the poem reflects on the power nature has to heal and nurture the human spirit.
Wordsworth work was greatly influenced by the countryside and his autobiographic poem The Prelude in his twenties and worked on it throughout his life. Published in 1850 it recalls his happy childhood at his family home in Cockermouth, Cumbria, now owned by the National Trust and called Wordsworth House.
Over the course of a prolific poetic career, Wordsworth also produced a tourist handbook, A Guide through the District of the Lakes, which provides a geographical background to his poems and biography.
Other local attractions
There are a number of attractions a short drive away that will appeal to historians: Chepstow Castle
is just one of a number of attractions in this Roman town, while The Kymin
offers some spectacular views overlooking Monmouth. And if all that effort exhausts you, you’ll find Tintern itself can provide a pleasant hour or two’s diversion, with a handful of shops, vineyard and craft centre among its various distractions.
Nature lovers should also head north towards Monmouth where you’ll find a cluster of reserves administered by Gwent Wildlife Trust.