A spiritual haven
Tintern Abbey was the second Cistercian foundation in Britain (only Waverley in Surrey is older). Building work spanned the period 1136 to 1536, when the dissolution was ordered. Lead from the roof was sold and the centuries of decay began. But the ruins became a focus of tourism from the mid-18th century, drawing the painter JWM Turner and the poet William Wordsworth, among many others. Tintern was one of the attractions for the very first British tourists.
A treat for walkers
Two national trails run a few hundred metres from Green Gables, and there are dozens of trails through our three counties. Ideal for exploring – with or without your dog:
Offa’s Dyke Path (177 miles, Chepstow to Prestatyn)
Wye Valley Walk (136 miles, Chepstow to Plynlimon mountain)
Wysis Way (55 miles, linking the Wye, Severn and Thames)
Gloucestershire Way (100 miles, Chepstow to Tewkesbury)
Three Castles Walk: White Castle, Skenfrith, Grosmont. Built to protect the main routes through the border region between England and southern Wales. 19 miles – a great day’s challenge
A view from the water
The River Wye is a mecca for canoeists from beginner to advanced, on the stretch from Hereford via Symond’s Yat down to Monmouth
An enchanted forest
Puzzlewood is a maze of pathways through mossy rocks, twisted roots, bridges and lookout points. It is said to have been the inspiration for JRR Tolkien’s Middle Earth, and has been a film location for ‘Merlin’ and ‘Dr Who’. Puzzlewood is great for children, with pony rides, mazes and playgrounds.
An underground experience
Clearwell Caves is an extensive cave system that has been mined for iron ore for more than 4,000 years. Nine caverns are linked by winding tunnels. Following in the footsteps of generations of miners who cut their livelihood from the rock.
A mighty stronghold
The Welsh borders were defended by dozens of castles, some of which are still in a good state of repair. Chepstow, Goodrich, Raglan and White Castle (linked with Skenfrith and Grosmont as the Three Castles) are all a short drive away from Green Gables, and are well worth visiting.
See also Go Ape! The UK’s No. 1 Forest Adventure.
Harts Barn Cookery School: bespoke group and family sessions including hen parties www.hartsbarncookeryschool.co.uk
Humble by Nature – learn on Kate Humble’s working farm www.humblebynature.com
Dean Heritage Centre – history and heritage of Forest of Dean - www.deanheritagecentre.com
The Old Station Tintern – children’s activities every day www.visitmonmouthshire.com/oldstationtintern
Kingfisher Cruises – departing from Symonds Yat, full commentary on history of the area www.wyenot.com
Dates for your diary:
Wye Valley River Festival – 29th April – 15th May: celebrating nature, culture, landscape and life along the River Wye www.wyevalleyaonb.org.uk