A sunny day was predicted while on my latest Forest of Dean Holiday in Coleford, so walking boots on, bags packed and time to stretch those legs again. I chose this hiking route to avoid having to rely on public transport after an epic-fail with getting to Goodrich Castle the day before.
Coleford to Newland Via “The Burial Path”
The walk started at Greenacres campsite then meandered into the Angus Buchanan VC Recreation Grounds high above Coleford. The group then walked along a trail called the Burial Path into a wooded past via The White House. The burial path got its name as the route that those that had died in Coleford were taken to Newland Church centuries ago.
This route was a slight incline passing through some woodland with many wild mushrooms growing on dead trees. The next Ordinance Survey waypoint for us was marked on the map as “The White House”, this was on a dirt track and a few settlements were passed then off-road again.
This trail was above some cliffs with views of a big factory in Coleford and Whitecliff off-road centre was visible from above when looking through gaps in the hedges
The walking route opened up into some stunning hilly farmland with views of another stone quarry and many rolling hills of the Wye Valley. It was a warm day so we opted to sit under a big oak tree and enjoy the stunning views.
The walk continued downhill through fields until reaching a level crossing for a toy railway, all marked private property. It appeared to be someone’s private track all very interesting and was not expected.
The walk continued through farmland to a track that led to the road into the village of Newland.
We approached Newland from the road, this was quiet with very little traffic, the church was our aim so was glad to find a few benches to rest our legs and sip some water.
The Cathedral of the Forest
All Saints Church in Newland is also known as The Cathedral of the Forest which dates back to the 1200s. This historic church is home to the Miners Brass a symbol of the Royal Forest of Dean.
King John appointed the first rector in 1216 in a small church building but over the next 2 centuries, the building grew into the one we were sitting at. A stunning building and very glad to have chosen this walk. More about All Saints Church.
The Ostrich Inn
There is one pub in the village called The Ostrich Inn, a dog-friendly place with a restaurant, bar area and a stunning rear beer garden. Soft drinks were the order of the day today due to the heat and the distance we planned to hike. For food at the ostrich looked delicious and had an impressive and interesting menu.
Newland To Redbrook
After our break, we went back into the churchyard to get back onto the path. Savage Hill was very steep, lucky for us we were heading downhill, turning right onto the bottom to reach French Lane. This was a dirt track that was calculated to be the last steep hill we had to climb.
The walk had hedges either side and was shaded, finally, we reached the top and entered the woods. Marked on the map were many trails to walk to get to our destination. This walk was downhill on Forestry commission tracks, there was evidence and signs about recent forestry work.
This part could be very muddy on a wet day but luckily it had been relatively dry beforehand. Heading downhill into the Wye Valley I spotted the Pennalt Viaduct through the trees, I was happy to see this as was getting hungry and dinner was the other side of the footbridge.
We finally reached the village of Redbrook to the north through a lane near the village stores.
Redbrook is a small village on the River Wye with a village store, a pub called The Bell and over the Pennalt Viaduct footbridge is The Boat Inn. It is a very nice village with a riverside park with picnic tables, a play area and tennis courts. This is a great place to eat and relax by the river.
People were wild swimming in the river near to the bridge, a place I have seen mentioned many times on Wild Swimming guides.
Penallt Viaduct was used in the past for trains to cross the river on the former Wye Valley Railway. This bridge marks the border of England and Wales. The Wye Valley Railway opened on 1 November 1876 and was 14 miles long. There is a single track on this bridge and connected Redbrook on Wye Station with Penallt Halt station. Passenger train services finished in 1959.
These days the viaduct is open to carry a public footpath over the Wye between the villages of Redbrook and Penallt, we crossed to visit the boat pub.
A pub I had visited before on a walk from Monmouth downstream along the river a while back and liked. The Boat was as remembered an informal place with a nice garden overlooking the bridge. This was deg friendly inside and out and quite a few canine customers were enjoying The Boats finest dog water.
Sadly the pub stopped serving food at 2:30 pm so could not eat so had a pint of local cider before souring lunch at the Village Stores in Redbrook. The shop was well stocked and had good choices for lunch.
Redbrook To Monmouth
The walk then followed the river upstream along footpaths initially, a 200 metre stretch on the busy main road then into fields alongside the river. This was a very nice meadow with lots of insect life including dragonflies and butterflies.
We spotted a shale beach on the banks and decided was a nice place for a paddle and to try and introduce the puppy to river water. A great time was had by all, cooled down and had a little swim. This was a very quiet part of the river, the only sign of life was a family in a rubber dingy rafting through the light rapids.
After drying off we strolled upstream through more meadows, reaching the derelict Monmouth Viaduct, which is missing the river span.
The Monmouth Viaduct or Chippenham Meadow Viaduct is a 20-arch 183m red sandstone viaduct, with two 23m steel lattice-girder spans over the river. It carried the Coleford, Monmouth, Usk & Pontypool Railway line across the River Wye at Monmouth, Wales.https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Monmouth_Viaduct
Also locally is The Duke of Beaufort Bridge which is passable on foot.
The Duke of Beaufort Bridge consists of 3 spans of steel-lattice girders on paired steel tubular piers with squared rubble abutments. The main span is 46 metres long and the shorter spans are 18 metres each. It was built by Edward Finch of Chepstow.https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Monmouth_Viaduct#Duke_of_Beaufort_Bridge
The final stretch took us past the mouth of the River Mon and into Monmouth.
We then caught the last Stagecoach 35 bus from opposite Aldi to return us back to Coleford.