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Friday 25 August 2023

A short visit to Wales

 Before we get to Wales though a funny (strange) thing! I regularly check for spam comments in the Blogger comments section - probably about once a month. So I was surprised earlier this week when I checked to find around 10 spam comments! They all dated back a few years, the earliest being from 2017! So if you haven't checked for spam comments recently I suggest you go and have a look - like me you might find the odd name that you don't hear from anymore.

Now, back to Wales. A friend is visiting UK from overseas and staying in Wales so we arranged to meet up for lunch in Chepstow. I had not been there before although we drove past that way earlier in the year when we went to the Forest of Dean.

We parked near the castle

which is built right on the edge of the river Wye

I have never seen figures keeping watch like this before

We didn't have time to visit sadly but this is the entrance

Walking up to the town from the castle you pass Castle Terrace, a lovely row of terrace houses with beautiful bow windows. 

They were built in the early 1800's and are all Grade II listed. Some occupiers had made a feature of their window others blocked it off for privacy. There was a display of some very nice modern pottery in one of the windows!

Lovely to catch up with our friend for a long lazy lunch and then it was off to Tintern where we had an hotel booked for the night.

Tintern is also on the river Wye further up a wooded valley. It is the site of an Abbey which was a victim of the Dissolution of the Monasteries in 1536. Consequently today the Abbey is just ruins.

We stayed at the picturesque Wye Valley Hotel which was very comfortable and dinner in the cosy bar was excellent.

The next morning we spent some time exploring the Abbey ruins.

We entered the site from the visitor centre marked in red on the map above. The first room we came to was the warming room, the only part of the Abbey that was heated other than the infirmary. It is in the middle of this picture - the room above was probably used to store documents that needed to be kept safe from damp.

 The Cistercians were a very austere order and followed strictly  the rule of obedience, poverty and chastity. There were two types of monk - prayer and lay. The lay monks were illiterate and did all the manual work of the monastery. The buildings to the right of the warming room were divided into quarters for the two types of monk with the kitchen serving both in between.

The church was enormous and dominates the site. Sadly much of it was blocked off due to bits falling off! and ongoing conservation work.

This gorgeous robin was singing it's heart out in one of the window openings.

The cloister was on the north side of the church and would have linked the church to the monks living quarters.

To the left of the warming room were the novices quarters, the Abbot's residence (and private chapel) and the infirmary. Originally one long room with beds for the sick, the infirmary was later remodled into private rooms each with it's own fireplace.

It had it's own kitchen which also served the Abbot and his guests.

In the picture above you can see on the ground the huge mantle shelf which would have been above the kitchen fire place.

The infermary also had it's own cloister and it is thought that this was where the monks grew their medicinal herbs.

In this picture where you can see the wooded valley, the river is hidden below so the Abbey is on the bank of the river. The other side of the river is England.

A few more shots of the beautiful architecture.

A modern road now cuts between the Abbey proper and what were the guest residences. I walked round there to get a shot of the main entrance to the church.

Three large car parks and some idiot has to park in the road! That window must have been magnificent when it was glassed.

And then it was time to head home - just as the sun was coming out!

Thank you if you have made it this far and I hope you enjoyed this mini visit to Wales.


  1. Thank you for sharing your visit to Wales and all of the history. An amazing place!

  2. Thank you for taking me traveling again. I looks like a neat place to explore.

  3. That abbey must have been something when it was still standing.... a lovely ruin to visit.....

  4. There are some lovely windows at York which are called "Cistercian work", and would give you an idea of how it looked. They seem to have done abstract patterns rather than pictures.

  5. I enjoy all these posts about the old buildings..so much history, so beautiful - especially when you consider when these building were built.

  6. That looks like a wonderful place to explore. Thanks so much for sharing it with us.

  7. Loved your visit to Wales thank you! We were there many years ago and had a great time, the ruins are fascinating.

  8. beautiful, such a stunning site. thanks for the tour


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