Day 11 – Revisiting old haunts…..

Monday dawned bright and sunny and turned out warm again – I’ve definitely been blessed with some wonderful weather.  Down the M50 we went and back to Llantilio Crossenny and the massive St Teilo’s Church for the start of day photo;

Week 3 already!

After a bit of drama with the phone – which hadn’t appreciated being charged in the car – I headed out down the road, across well marked path to cut a corner and then along more road til the real path began.  This proved to be prime cider apple growing country, with orchards dedicated to producing apples for Bulmers.  Lovely to walk through, and lovely to look back on as I left this splendid view behind me.

Views back to the Sugar Loaf

Bumped into my first other solo female walker of this trip just after this view – very cheery youngster!  Headed round a field boundary and out into the road, which took me uphill to my next stretch of field where I literally bumped into 1 man and his dog as the man checked to see whether his ewes had been collected – not yet.  Carried on aiming for my first Church of the day but sadly St Michael and All Angels at Llanvihangel-Ystern-Llewern was a bit of a disappointment.  First of all – no bench in the churchyard, and then this;

Padlocked door and donation slot

As the lady walking the Offa’s Dyke path going the other way remarked, as she and her husband took their break in the porch – “They aren’t going to get many donations if they keep people locked out.”  Obviously I don’t know the story behind this Church and why the decision to keep it locked – apart from Saturdays, Sundays and Bank Holidays – has been made.  But it was certainly in stark contrast to other Churches on the Offa’s Dyke trail who positively welcome walkers and leave tea and coffee making facilities for them…..I walked on through some more wonderful meadow land with butterflies flitting hither and thither.  Back out onto the road and had hopes that the ruins of a Cistercian Abbey might provide a place to sit – but no such ruins encountered, instead a group of very settled cows stood and laid right on the path.  In fact one was stood right in front of the gate I needed to go through.  Luckily they were in docile and reflective mood and moved aside to let me through.  Then it was on through a couple of fields – one containing a discarded three piece suite which was very tempting but quite close to a caravan, so I kept going.  Back out onto the road but then eventually to a track leading onto some cooling shady woodland – and what was this, by the side of the track – a bench for the weary walker!

At last – a seat!

As I sat and took my ease, I became aware that I was not alone and was causing some curiosity amongst my neighbours, who crept closer and closer to get a better look at this strange human…..

What are you doing there?

Suitably refreshed, I pressed on into the woods and a bit of very welcome shade.  Excellent walking along tracks and paths – including a sign giving me the good news that Monmouth was only 3 miles away.  Once out of the woods, it was back to a bit of field walking – this time fields of borage which were a very beautiful blue;

Colour of the day – borage blue

I exited the fields onto Watery Lane which had some very Grand Designs houses as well as some older, more traditional models.  Kept going on into the town itself, and came face to face with Monnow Bridge, famed for being on the driving test route in my day – although now no longer accessible to vehicles.

Bridge over the Monnow

I marched up the high street of this border town, attracting curious glances from the shoppers and staying strong to prevent myself becoming distracted by Rossiters, the excellent bookshop.  Schooldays here were definitely not the happiest of my life, but I did make some very good friends, two of whom, Marianna and Martin, died far too young of cancer, so this day of the walk is dedicated to their memories.  Marianna and I shared a passion for books – she would have loved Rossiters.  Martin and Marianna shared a love of fast cars – a Ford Capri and a Lotus to be exact – but by taking the glamorous subway under the A40 I managed to avoid any oncoming vehicles and emerge safe on the riverside where I waved a fond farewell to Offa’s Dyke and a hopeful hello to the Wye Valley Walk. 

Headed out of Monmouth, passing the rowing club and on up river to the Church of St Peter’s Dixton.  The interior was simple with clean lines, carving and some interesting artwork;

Font and carved balcony at back of Church
Nave, with stained glass and artwork

It was only when we were taking photos outside that we realised the chancel has been blocked off and the Church truncated as the roof of the Chancel needs major repair work.

St Peter’s, Dixton, exterior

The tarpaulin clad roof of the chancel is out of sight behind the tree…..a reminder of the difficulties of Church maintenance.

End of day 11 – 121 miles done and a couple of long days to come.  Hard to believe I’ll have finished the walk in 4 more days……

End of Day 11 – hot but happy!

















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