Nick Livermore waxes lyrical about the gorgeous Wye Valley, an area to which he ventures almost every weekend for excellent cycling and delicious cake.
One of the best things about being a cyclist in Bristol is the city’s proximity to South Wales and, in particular, the Wye Valley.
Starting in Chepstow and terminating in Monmouth, the main road through the south part of the Wye Valley – though there are others nearby – is perhaps the most famous and beautiful.
Designated an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, the Wye Valley has an almost innumerable number of unique features, from limestone gorge scenery and native forests, to a river system renowned for its scientific importance.
Cycling The Wye Valley
Cycling the first part (heading north) of the Wye Valley is sheer pleasure.
It isn’t particularly taxing. There are no gruelling climbs. But there is gorgeous scenery in abundance, with sights, smells and sounds to propel you ever quicker across what is, largely, an excellently surfaced road.
Your enjoyment begins with a long descent into the famous border village of Tintern, Monmouthshire.
You’ll likely recognise the name for its association with what is the Wye Valley’s most striking structure; Tintern Abbey.
Cycling through Tintern, your gaze cannot help but be drawn by what is a true spectacle of Gothic architecture.
It’s also a fantastic place to stop off for a coffee and slice of cake. Though only a small settlement, Tintern harbours a surprising number of tearooms and coffee shops. But we heartily recommend the inimitable and friendly White Monk (the scones are to-die-for).
Beyond Tintern, the stretch of road to Monmouth is largely rural and most spectacular in spring and early summer, when a vast amount of wild garlic is coming through.
Those travelling in cars are definitely missing out on a vital aspect of the Wye Valley; the fragrance.
Air sweetened with wild garlic is like rocket fuel. You’ll want to be working hard, if only to savour the extra lungful of fresh allium.
If you are and you have been riding properly, take in Henry’s in Monmouth for a little sustenance. The bacon baguettes and cake are fantastic…