The Wye Valley and Vale of Usk is
an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty and it's not difficult to see
The rolling countryside is a magnet for walkers with some
well-known and popular trails including the Offa's Dyke Path. It is
also where the Wales Coast Path begins (or
ends, depending on which way around you're going). In fact,
Offa's Dyke and the coast path join up so that you can complete a
whole circuit of Wales if you really want to!
The plenty of historic attractions too. There are castles
galore including the first one to be built at Chepstow and the last one too
at Raglan. One of the most
impressive monuments is Tintern Abbey standing
proudly on the banks of the River Wye.
Why not combine walking with history by doing the Three Castles Walk which is a
20 mile triangular walk taking in White Castle, Skenfirth Castle
and Grosmont Castle.
The area also has a reputation for excellent food. There are
plenty of top class restaurants or cosy country pubs to choose from
whilst Abergavenny's Angel Hotel is renowned for its Afternoon Teas - well worth
indulging. Don't miss the Abergavenny Food Festival each
September which is an excellent chance to see (and of course taste)
the best of the area's produce.
For more information on the area please visit the website
Great news this morning from the BBC that, according to a Visit Britain
survey, what overseas visitors to the UK want to see more than
anything are Welsh castles.
10,000 people from all over the world were surveyed and 34% said
their must do activity was a visit to one of our castles. The
castles beat Buckingham Palace, a shopping trip to Harrods and
watching a Premier League football match to come out on top.
A visit to our castles was particularly popular agmonst Russian and
Polish holiday makers.
Of course it comes as no surprise to those that know out castles
that it came out on top. There are 641 castles in Wales and
in Southern Wales we have the biggest, oldest, newest, grandest and
Caerphilly Castles is amongst the biggest in Europe. It
dominates the town of the same name and its impressive moat system
would have been formidable to attacking forces in the middle
If Caerphilly is the biggest then one of the oldest is
Chepstow. Standing on the banks of the River Wye, which marks
the border between Wales and England, and was one of the first to
be built by the invading Norman forces. Nearby Raglan castle
was one of the last to be built and was intended more of a grand
stately home than as a fort.
If it's a grand stately home you want, then nothing beats Cardiff
Castle. Transformed from a Norman fort into a palatial
residence by the Marquess of Bute, the apartments interiors have to
be seen to be believed.
Finally Ogmore Castle has to be one of the most picturesque.
Sitting on the banks of the River Ewenny near the tiny village of
Merthyr Mawr the castle is accessed via a set of stepping stones
across the river. The setting could not be more idyllic.