Day 1 Walk by the Resolven ‘Walk Aholic’

It seemed like a good idea a few months ago when I thought about it, but now as the train pulls into Chepstow station it’s a reality. For 10 years I’d been mulling over doing the Wales Coast Path, and I decided to do it when I retired. However COVID taught me not to take things for granted and to do things today as tomorrow is not guaranteed.

So here I am, New Year’s Day on a train from Newport to Chepstow, the goal is to walk the whole Coast Path in a year, it’s 870 miles long and the ups and downs are more than going up Everest 3 times.

Today is just a test of how far I can do in the few hours of daylight as I haven’t walked in this area before and I’m more used to mountains than sea fronts.

I can navigate a mountain without too much trouble, but going from the station to the start point was a challenge, I followed some signs and ended up going away from the start – lesson one learned. So after a few extra paces I found the start. 

9am New Year’s Day most of the world is asleep, I find the starting point on the bank of the River Wye, the Old Chepstow Bridge is the border with England and just a few metres away. Chepstow Castle (well worth a visit) is just around the corner, today is around 30 miles to walk and I need to get moving.

A photo opportunity at the start then a wander through the back streets of Chepstow starts this walk.

This isn’t too bad and the first few miles disappear without a hitch, before I know it I can see the Severn Bridge and know it’s just half an hour away. I’ve walked over it in the past and it’s a windy walk, not one of the most popular walks, but it should be.

I walk under the A48 and find myself in a field of cows; growing up in Resolven I’m not afraid of cows but when you’re stuck in mud and 30 of them are running towards you it’s a bit scary. Luckily a man with his dog was out for a jog and rescued me by keeping the cows back far enough that I could escape over a gate and re-join the path. 

Before I know it I’m at Black Rock, this is a viewing area for both bridges and a statue of the Lava Rock Fishermen (and pretty good place for a sunset).

Onward to the Prince of Wales Bridge passing the Severn Tunnel Entrance. The Prince of Wales Bridge is the second longest bridge in the UK at an impressive 5,128 metres. Passing under it you can hear the thundering of traffic above, the clomp, clomp as the cars and lorries make their way between the two countries.

For the next few miles there’s not a lot to see; the wind, rain and hail make for a depressing few hours of “just keep walking” and “try not to slip in the muddy sea bank”. Eventually the path winds its way to the East Usk Lighthouse and the Newport Wetlands. All this area has been reclaimed from the estuary by using the waste from the nearby power plant.

The sun is not in the sky for long today and the last few miles are done in the dark. This does give a great view of the iconic Newport Transporter Bridge lit up. In the summer months you can walk across the top of it and ride the carriage back across the River Wye.

That’s enough for one day, a great start of 30 miles and only 840 miles to complete this challenge!

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