Tintern itself has become a bit of a tourist attraction because of the Abbey ruins there.
We drove 26 miles (41 kms) from (A) Ewyas Harold to (B) Tintern
The ruins we've been to so far have been free of charge. But it costs £3.80 ($6.27) to enter the grounds of Tintern Abbey. I went into the gift shop and ticket office to figure out why.
There were two people behind the counter. I asked "What do I get to see for my £3.80 that I can't see from behind the barrier"?
She replies "Oh, a lot...you can only imagine the vastness of the place by standing in the middle of the ruins".
I say "Why does this one cost money, yet we've been to so many for free"? (They are all administered by the same organization)
"Oh, where have you been that it's free"? And I told her about our recent visits to castles and abbeys in the area.
Ultimately, they charge an entrance fee at this one because they can. You'll notice from the map above that Tintern is only a short distance from both Bristol and Cardiff. Because of that, a lot of tour buses go to Tintern Abbey. The ruins themselves are nothing different than we've seen in other more remote places. So we declined. Besides, you're only going to spend 15 minutes wandering around. If they charged a reasonable fee like 50p, you wouldn't mind going in.
So we set off on our 6.5 mile (10km) hike. The first two miles followed an old railway line beside the river, but it was covered in trees so you didn't have anything to look at and it was a bit of a dull walk. Then, it headed uphill where you would have a view of the valley below, but again, the trees blocked the view most of the time. There were a couple of interesting spots though...
Beautiful view of the village of Tintern on the River Wye, and the Tintern Abbey.
Kevin, standing on The Devils Pulpit, a natural gap in the trees that allows a perfect view of the Abbey. It was said that the devil used to tempt the monks to leave the order at this spot.
Part of the trail we took yesterday followed the Offa's Dyke Path, a 177 mile National Trail that goes from the north of Wales to the south. Offa's Dyke was named after the powerful 8th century King Offa who decreed that a defensive earthen barrier be created as a monument to his greatness and to discourage the hostile Welsh tribes to the west from attacking his kingdom.
Back at the village of Brockweir, the trail passes a stable and farm that cares for rescued horses and ponies. They welcome you in to say hello to the animals.
Ruth saying hi to the horses.
Then the trail went by a community park that used to be the old train station. We stopped and had an ice cream! Then continued on to some interesting wood stump carvings.
This is for you Sam!
Tree stump carving of King Offa
Tree stump carving.
Tree stump carving. Now this kind of art, I get! Really well done!
The River Wye is a tidal river at this section. You can sure see the difference in the height of the water!
Beautiful view we came across on the drive home.
We've been really lucky with the weather, and even though it was a bit cloudy, it hasn't rained. The sun is shining this morning, so guess what?? We're off to do another hike!