Posts Tagged ‘Monmouthshire’


A winter day at the Priory Church of St Mary, Usk

On a day when winter was still cold and dank, we visited Usk in Monmouthshire. We sometimes go there for lunch at the Three Salmons Hotel, but we were early, so wandered more than usual. New to me was this little Priory Church of St Mary. New to me, but it has been there for 900 years.

Maybe it was the shade of the low winter sun, or the dark colour of the stones, but to me it looked a bit creepy, the sort of place (more…)

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A little lock-up in Bridge Street, Usk…

The small town of Usk has several blue plaques placed by the civic society but I hadn’t spotted this one before. Which is strange, as (more…)

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House sparrows in a bush, Tintern, December 23, 2012…

I’m back at work now after a long Christmas and New Year break, and I’m picking over the scraps of our midwinter wanderings. I regret that the weather was mostly very wet and dark, so I was mostly hard pushed to take pictures as a record of where we had been.

Although I have a couple of complete blog picture posts pending, there are lots of (more…)

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The River Usk flowing through the town of Usk yesterday…

Yesterday, the eve of Christmas Eve, we went for a wander through the Usk Valley in Monmouthshire. There has been flooding in many area of the UK this last week and the River Usk was running red with mud after all the rain – we are all (more…)

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Railway carriages at the Old Station, Tintern

My last post was about the Circle of Legends at the Old Station in Tintern, Monmouthshire, but now we come to the Old Station itself.

This is an easily overlooked attraction, but (more…)

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The Circle of Legends in Tintern, Monmouthshire

Back in the summer I was totally smitten by this circle of six ancient wood-carved figures in a forest clearing in Tintern, Monmouthshire.

The figures themselves, sculpted from oak (or in one case sweet chestnut), are not ancient, but the people they represent are historical and mythical characters at the heart of this part of the country.

They were (more…)

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Tintern Abbey, December 31, 2010

On the same dark mid-winter day that we visited Usk and Monmouth, we also went to Tintern Abbey in the lovely Wye Valley.

We are members of Cadw and get in “free”, so we always visit when we are in the area.


Tintern Abbey by the late Victorian artist Benjamin Williams Leader

It was early afternoon, but with sunset soon after 4pm at this time of year, it was already dim. It made the abbey’s stones seem more ruinous than ever but also showed up their lovely pink colour. I believe it’s the old red sandstone on which much of Monmouthshire stands and which gives the Wye its red colour.


Tintern Abbey, December 31, 2010 – the lovely soft red sandstone

Tintern Abbey was a Cistercian house founded in 1131 and rebuilt in the late 13th and early 14th centuries. It was surrendered to Henry VIII in 1536 when he dissolved the monasteries. He gave it to Henry Somerset, Earl of Worcester, who sold lead from the roof and leased parts of the area for cottages and other early industrial buildings.

The abbey regained fame in the 17th and 18th centuries when it was discovered by the Romantic poets (such as Wordsworth) and artists (such as Turner).


The arches of Tintern Abbey by JMW Turner around 1794 – the ivy seemed to be an attraction at the time but was cleared after the Crown took over the abbey in 1901

My aim for the day had been to take pictures of bare winter trees and some of these were visible from the abbey, too.


Tintern Abbey, December 31, 2010 – winter tree (beech?)

What I noticed most, though, was the hard white lichen like chewing gum patches all over the stones.


Tintern Abbey, December 31, 2010 – the white lichen on the stones looks like snow…

And the whole ruins, which have stood tall for so many centuries, looked as if they would crumble into damp rubble at any moment.


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