Sunday, 31 May 2009

Weekend in Wales

My friends Beth and Rochelle were heading away to Wales for the weekend with Rochelle's friend Ben and they had a spare seat in the car and asked me to join.
So on Saturday I made the trek down to Putney (and of course the Jubilee line had "planned engineering works") for our weekend away. So once Beth was picked up we headed on out of London town. This weekend was about exploring small town in Wales which we did, our first stop being Chepstow - a town in Monmouthshire, Wales, adjoining the border with Gloucestershire, England. It is located on the River Wye.

In Chepstow we headed to the main street where they had a cute little market and then to Chepstow Castle - located in Chepstow, Monmouthshire in Wales, on top of cliffs overlooking the River Wye, is the oldest surviving stone fortification in Britain. It was built under the instruction of the Norman Lord William fitzOsbern, soon made Earl of Hereford, from 1067, and was the southernmost of a chain of castles built along the English-Welsh border in the Welsh Marches.

This castle was pretty cool, it was built on the edge of the river and overlooked onto fields. I could just imagine sitting up there with my bow and arrow firing away defending the castle.

After Chepstow we headed on towards the town of Tintern and Tintern Abbey - Tintern Abbey was founded by Walter de Clare, Lord of Chepstow, on May 9, 1131. Situated on the River Wye in Monmouthshire, it was only the second Cistercian foundation in Britain, and the first in Wales. It is one of the most spectacular ruins in the country and inspired the William Wordsworth poem "Lines Composed a Few Miles above Tintern Abbey".

Tintern Abbey was beautiful. Its situated in a field right near green bush and looks amazing. The ruins look so nice against the greenery and had a very serene feel about it. We spent a lot of time in the Abbey looking around and hanging out. If you are in the area, I would defiantly recommend going. The little town was nice too. You can walk halfway along a bridge and be in Wales and then jump to the other side and be in England. For the afternoon we ordered some cider and chips and sat by the river it was a really nice way to spend the afternoon.

That night we went and stayed in a hostel in a little town called Abergavenny when every television screen in every bar and pub in the area was playing the final of Britain's Got Talent! Lets just say this town was a little ... different!

In the morning we had a sleep in and then went for a wander into town. At the information centre they told us about this free coal mine tour so we decided to do that.

Big Pit is a National Coal Museum that used to be a working coal mine. In 1980 they closed the coal mine and reopened it for visitors in 1983. Big Pit offers free tours of the coal mine. They give you a light and belt and you descend into the coal mine via the lift shaft. It was a really cool tour, given by a man who actually used to work in the coal mine all those years ago and a bonus, it was free! They even had some birdies (is it canaries they used to use in the mines?).

It was such a lovely day that we decided to have some lunch and drove around for a while to find the perfect pub, outside in the sun with a Sunday roast to finish things off.

Had a lovely weekend and enjoyed visiting the smaller villages in Wales. I wish I had a car.

As my camera is still not in working order, people are yet to copy their photos for me so I uploaded a few off the Internet for your enjoyment!

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