Cottages near Monmouthshire
Wild skies, soaring mountains and romantic ruins
Sandwiched between the magnificent Brecon Beacons (Bannau Brycheiniog) and the Wye Valley Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, Monmouthshire is an ever-changing landscape. The glorious patchwork of hills and undulating countryside is awash with ancient castle ruins and inter-laced with a tangle of walking trails. Pull on your walking boots and set off on hilly adventures. These include the Offa’s Dyke Trail, the Three Castles Trail, Sugar Loaf, Skirrid Fawr and the Black Mountains. For something a little less strenuous there are also miles of shorter walks and circular paths to explore.
For the romantics and dreamers amongst you, Monmouthshire is a place of dramatic castle ruins. It’s where you’ll find the Three Castles of Gwent: Grosmont, Skenfrith and Whitecastle. These crumbling stone strongholds are all that now remain of the sturdy Norman fortresses built to control what was an often-troublesome border between England and Wales. Likewise, the 900-year-old clifftop fortress of Chepstow Castle stretches high along the River Wye. It is like walking through a history lesson in stone. Then stand under the roofless majestic splendour of Tintern Abbey and take a huge step back in time.
Abergavenny, Usk, and Monmouth are bustling country towns. Abergavenny is often thought of as something of a foodie hotspot. Meanwhile, Usk is home to one of the finest salmon fishing rivers in the country and likewise some excellent water-based fun. On the banks of the Severn Estuary, you’ll find the so-called Gwent Levels. Shaped by aeons of history, weather and the relentless ebb and flow of the tide. This land was reclaimed from the sea in Roman times and is a low-lying area beneath huge skies. It’s a veritable paradise for wading birds, and around 90,000 arrive each year. For an up close and personal experience, pay a visit to the Magor Marsh Wetland Reserve. Or the RSPB Newport Wetlands.