For information about the Mouthmouthshire walking festival visit http://www.walkinginmonmouthshire.org/
Take a walk on the Wales side
The Bell at Skenfrith’s circular walks have become well-known as something of a ‘must do’ when visiting Skenfrith! We have six individual walks (see below for details), all of which start and finish at The Bell and take in some of the most beautiful Monmouthshire countryside. All have been created, tried and tested by Harry and Eira Steggles, keen walkers since they married more than 57 years ago and still clocking up the miles. You can pre-order a Bell Picnic to help sustain you on your adventure.
There are six separate pamphlets, each with clear instructions, historical information, detailed map and drawings of relevant buildings of interest, flowers and fauna all drawn by Eira, a former biology teacher. We also have a family walk around Skenfrith Castle, the War Memorial and St. Bridget’s church. Called ‘The Skenfrith Sleuth’, it is very popular with the younger walkers and their parents!
Come and enjoy this beautiful and unspoiled area of Wales and ask about one of our Walking Breaks in Wales packages.
Please note that The Bell at Skenfrith is not responsible and does not take responsibility for the upkeep of the Public Footpaths which our walks follow. Some of the areas where there are marked stiles/gates etc. may be overgrown during the spring and summer months. In some cases, there may be livestock in the fields where the public paths are and we ask that you follow the country code at all times. Please do not let your dog off the lead when walking in fields where there is livestock. Animals that are not usually aggressive will always protect any young, particularly if dogs are running free. In fact, we’d advise dogs to be on leads at all times. Occasionally, especially after heavy rain, there will be areas that are very muddy which may ruin stylish footwear. We would advise that sturdy boots and walking shoes should be worn at all times and that mobiles should be charged up in case of an emergency.
The Bell at Skenfrith’s circular walks are:
A Woodland Wander of either 2 miles or 4 miles with two climbs and provides good shade if taken on a hot summer’s day. Mistletoe is quite common in this part of Britain and very evident on this walk.
The Knights Templar Trail takes the walker from Wales into England and back and is 4 miles. In these times of Da Vinci code reawakening, this walk goes to Garway Church, the only Knights Templar church in Britain with a circular nave that is still visible and accessible. All the beautiful carvings on the outside of the church are detailed on the back of the pamphlet.
The Monnow River Walk is 6 miles and follows the river taking in historic churches and bridges along the way.
The Skenfrith Sleuth – a detective trail which is especially loved by families with young children. It is a trail around Skenfrith village taking in the War Memorial, Skenfrith Castle and St Bridget’s church, looking for clues to a set questions. There are also some puzzles for the children to do on the back of the booklet.
The Swan Walk is 6 miles with two climbs (330ft and 440ft) and much of it is marked by a chained swan sign, the badge of Mary de Bohun, mother of Henry V who was born at Monmouth Castle.
The Coedanghred Hill Walk, also known as ‘Heart Attack Hill’, is either just over 1 mile or 2 miles depending which route you take, but both have a 410ft climb. The views from this hill are legendary and take in The Bell below, Wales’s Sugar Loaf, Graig Syfyrddin, the Monnow Valley and Garway Hill, just over the border.
The Black Habits Black Deeds Walk is 6 miles long with two climbs of 180ft. Its title refers to the early settlement of an order of Benedictine monks who dressed in black habits. Local legends say that there is much buried treasure in the area, a haunted wood and a devil that dances with his maid in the moonlight.
All walks are available from Reception
Other walks to take in the area
The Circle of Legends
Situated at the Old Station in Tintern (incidentally, a great place for afternoon tea in the old station waiting room), it consists of six wooden, life sized sculptures (5 made from oak and 1 from sweet chestnut) depicting 6 mystical or historical characters from Monmouthshire’s past. They were created by sculptors Neil Gow and John Hobbs between 2002 and 2003 and were partly funded by the Wye Valley Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty. Find out more by visiting www.thecircleoflegends.co.uk
There are very many different walks in the Black Mountains, which represent the Lake District of South Wales with their impressive stark ridges. Some of the more popular walks include the Sugar Loaf, Red Darron, the Cat’s Back, and the Skirrid, just ask us for more information.
The Three Castles Walk
The Three Castles Walk is a 19-mile long marked trail linking three Norman castles – Skenfrith (just outside The Bell!), White Castle and Grosmont. The castles were built as a triangular defence system to secure Norman control of the region, many centuries ago. The walk passes through a varied landscape of hill, valley, wood and meadow. If you’d rather cycle, then the four castles cycle route adds Abergavenny Castle to the circuit.
There is a breathtaking (literally) 6 mile circular walk which starts from behind The Bell and takes in St Maughans, finishing along the banks of the River Monnow. Also within easy distance of The Bell, you can take in landscapes from the Black Mountains to the Royal Forest of Dean. There are hundreds of scenic routes across the Wye Valley and its lush surrounds. Offa’s Dyke is close by and is one of the most desirable walks in Britain. Further afield, the Royal Forest of Dean offers splendid woodland walks and cycle rides, while Symond’s Yat boasts the Yat Rock lookout with its stunning views of the Wye River and the protected Peregrine falcons which nest at the top of the gorge. The Ordnance Survey publishes maps and guides of the area for walkers in its ‘Pathfinder’ range.
Wye Valley Walk
The Wye Valley walk follows the River Wye from Chepstow to its source near Plynlimon. The walk is about 150 miles long and takes you through the magnificent limestone gorges of the Wye Valley. En-route you will find many areas of outstanding natural beauty and sites of scientific interest, as well as many of the famous local historical attractions, such as Chepstow Castle, Hereford Cathedral, and Tintern Abbey.