This 5.5-mile circular route through the Monmouthshire countryside can be tackled on foot, by bike or on horseback. Along the way, you’ll see historic sites, spectacular views and plenty of local wildlife. Here are a few of the walk’s highlights (for full details download the map and route description).
Dingestow and Dingestow Castle
Your starting point is the pretty little village of Dingestow. Close to the church, you’ll see a large mound. It’s all that remains of Dingestow Castle - the Norman motte and bailey castle that once stood here. It was destroyed in the 12th century in a fierce battle between the Welsh Lord Hywel ap Iorweth and Ranulf Poer Sheriff of Herefordshire in retaliation for the murder of Lord Seisyllt ap Dyfnwal in Abergavenny Castle on Christmas Day 1172. Look out for the black and white road sign opposite the camp site. It still directs traffic to the station which closed in 1955.
Dating back to 1627 the magnificent Treowen House is a must see on this trail and may be the tallest house in Monmouthshire. It’s definitely a landmark in the landscape. See if you can spot it at different points along the trail. Look out for mistletoe, topiary balls and a tree that’s probably as old as the house. Grab your camera to capture the views of the Blorenge, Sugar Loaf, Skirrid and Hay Bluff mountains then head off towards Treowen Wood.
Several sections of the walk run alongside the rushing waters of the River Trothy, home to a huge variety of wildlife. You may see dippers fluttering along the water’s edge and, if you’re very lucky, the occasional mink or otter.
Offa’s Dyke Path
As the trail heads north, you can make a short detour at Lower Hendre Farm to walk a section of the Offa’s Dyke Path. The path stretches the entire 177-mile length of the Wales/England border, tracing the route of Offa’s Dyke, a barrier built between Mercia and the Welsh kingdoms by Anglo-Saxon King Offa in the 9th century.
King’s Wood and Hendre Estate
Watch out for fallow deer in King’s Wood, an ancient deciduous woodland of oak, ash, willow and hazel. On the far side of the wood is the grand Hendre Estate. It’s now the Rolls of Monmouth golf club, but was once owned by Charles Rolls, founder of iconic car manufacturer Rolls Royce.
Gwern y Saint and Whitehill Farm
Keep your eyes peeled for the tiny Methodist chapel Gwern y Saint, built in 1850. You’ll also pass Whitehill Farm, which offers self-catering accommodation plus grazing and stables for your horse. From here the trail loops back into Dingestow. As you pass Treowen House on the return leg, you can enjoy some elevated views of the ruins of Dingestow Castle