The national weather forecast is dire. We are walking in bright sunshine with arainbow to guide us. We are at the western end of the Gwent levels – past Peterstone Gout (nothing to do with ailing feet) – apparently it is a flap which allows fresh water from the reens to flow out to sea. Your next question is what are reens? Give us a break!!!
WHY WINTER WALKING?
When you have 890 miles of path to cover – you have to start somewhere.
We made a decision to walk the more urban and industrial sections in winter – we are walking the grittiest sections at the darkest most dismal time of the year.
It hasn’t been dark and dismal – it has been sunny and startlingly beautiful – the salt marshes, the bird life on the levels – this is on the Atlantic migration route for all sortsof birdlife! It has left us enthralled and bewitched by the path and we are still WCP novices.
BACK TO THE PATH
Anybody starting off at the car park by the Lighthouse Inn, which is next to a chalet park should pop in and have a pint or a bite to eat – the staff and locals here are as helpful as it gets and the food is hearty and decent, plus easy access to the shoreline and WCP.
We head towards the West Usk Lighthouse – one of the first of 22 built by Scottish architect James Walker in the 1820s. Pylons project out of the landscape – gritty – OH YES!
The path leads us through the housing estate at Dyffryn – a bit of confusion here with signs. We can’t figure out if the direction has been switched, but the Wales Coastal Path official app helps us out and we meander through the estate – some urban litter squalor here adding more grit to the day!
Hats off to Newport Borough Council who have managed to link the walking in their neck of the woods – so despite a bit of confusion we can appreciate the planning and the extra mile so to speak in joining up their pathways.
Continuing under a busy road following the signs we get to the Waterloo Hotel. We opted for a cuppa at Fanny’s café – you get coffee milky or not. We like the lack of pretentiousness – breakfast looked good too!
The highlight of this walk is the Transporter Bridge – a master piece of Engineering – not open in winter, but still in working order. Spanning the lower River Usk it dates from 1906 – the River Usk has one of the highest tidal ranges in the world and there are only 7 examples of this kind of bridge in the world
We trudge on .. we always trudge towards the end of a walk. Over the elegant City Bridge to Lysaght Village, named after John Lysaght who established the Orb Ironworks in Newport in 1898. Hard to believe now that Orb used to employ 3,500 men on this site, rolling some 6,500 tons of steel transported by a sister company in Scunthorpe. It is now a new housing estate built on the river the taxi driver is sceptical as to the sense of it all ……
Make a list of the places you want to revisit at a later date. You will not remember at the end of 890 miles