Saturday, 28 January 2012


Severn Tunnel Junction → Severn Beach

red-cliff.png Distance: 14.4 miles
Ascent: 54 metres
Duration: 4 hours 56 minutes

One down, two to go
« Newport | Clifton »

The definitive moment on today's walk came eight miles from the start. Here, on the M48 bridge over the River Wye, we passed into England and finished our 850 mile walk around Wales, completing the first of the three countries of the British Mainland.

border.pngThe "Welcome to England" sign on the motorway is a further two miles to the east, but the observant walker will notice a bollard by the side of the road that says "WA" on the Welsh side and "GL" for Gloucestershire on the English side.

This boundary is in the middle of the Wye Bridge, the westernmost (and lesser known) part of the 1966 Severn Crossing.

Routes across the Severn and Wye were the central theme of this walk. The most downstream crossing is the Second Severn Crossing, which assumed responsibility for the M4 on its construction in 1996, demoting the 1966 bridge. The walk began near one end of this new bridge and finished close to the other.

pumping-house.pngShortly after passing under the second crossing we reached the village of Sudbrook. Here a pumping station works continuously to extract water from an underground spring that would otherwise inundate the nineteenth century railway tunnel.

East of Sudbrook the path was easy to follow, primarily because of the frequent brand new way marks bearing the symbol of the Wales Coast Path. More will no doubt be erected elsewhere in the country as the 5 May launch date approaches.

st-tewdrig.pngThe path veers away from the coast to the village of Mathern (Merthyr Tewdrig) where the church dedicated to St Tewdric is guarded by a recent wooden sculpture to the saint and king.

Beyond the village, we bade farewell to the formal coast path and headed up to the motorway, Wye and Severn bridges. And so we crossed the confluence of two of the daughters of Pumlumon. Once in England we took another detour - to the viewpoint beside the old Severn View service station. Ultimately the view was disappointing, and I wouldn't suggest the detour is worthwhile.

severn-crossing.pngHeading downstream once more we passed Old and New Passage, the English embarkation points for the pre-bridge ferries. But I don't remember much about them; my chief memories of this section relate to walking as fast as possible in order to catch our scheduled train home and being frightened when three horses, who had been walking inquisitively beside us on Northwick Warren, took off at full speed along the embankment before running back towards us.

We finally reached the English shaft of the tunnel, passed under the approach viaduct of the Second Crossing and a mile later reached our destination with two minutes to spare.

So Wales is complete. Focus now turns to England, and when that is complete in two years' time, Scotland.

Posted by pab at 20:57 | Comments will be back one day. Please email me instead!