On a misty winter morning in the Wye Valley, Tintern’s ancient abbey, flanked by tall limestone cliffs, takes on a hallowed appearance.
It’s an ironic sight, and one best considered over a pint of ale at The Brockweir Inn.
Wye Valley Trees ©Getty
1. Riverside walk
Start in the charming village of Brockweir. Walk through the village, pass the pub and the Moravian church and turn right through a gate to take the broad path beside the river. You’ll spot glimpses of Tintern’s tiny, now defunct railway station across the water.
Brockweir Inn at Brockweir ©Getty
Gradually the path moves away from the river and into woodland, where the bare trees offer a constantly changing viewpoint. At the end of a stone wall, turn sharp left onto a path signposted to The Devil’s Pulpit. At a junction, continue on the path to the right, climbing steeply through woodland. At a second track division, turn left. The way is now through ancient woodland, with gnarled trees and moss-covered boulders, which in winter looks like the setting for a Grimm fairy tale.
The River Wye and Tintern Abbey ©Getty
2. Devil’s pulpit
When you arrive at the Offa’s Dyke long distance trail, turn right to reach The Devil’s Pulpit. This is a rock pinnacle rising up from the cliff edge, from where (legend has it) the devil would preach to the monks below, attempting to convert them to evil. On a crisp winter’s day it’s a peaceful place to drink in the magnificent view.
The view from the Devil’s Pulpit ©Getty
3. Homeward bound
Down in the valley are the ruins of the 12th-century Cistercian Abbey at Tintern, while the river itself goes through a tight horseshoe bend, backed by wooded hillsides. Retrace your steps along Offa’s Dyke and back to the village.
The bridge at Brockweir ©Getty
Photo credit: Getty