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Wye Valley Railway Locations

Introduction bits
Welcome to the Wye Valley Railway
Full History
Abridged History
Location Maps
How would we re-open it?
Main Scheme
Part 1: Wye Valley Junction to Netherhope
Part 2: Tidenham Tunnel
Part 3: Tintern Quarry to Tintern
Part 4: Tintern Station
Part 5: Brockweir to St Briavels
Part 6: St Briavels to Redbrook
Part 7: Wyesham to Monmouth
Part 8: Signalling
Part 9: Rolling Stock
Part 10: Imagine the Journey
Local Entertainment
Does that picture really show that?
From Rags to Power
Other pages on this topic
Of Roads, Railways and Cycleways
Frequently Asked Questions
The Railway
Interesting snippets of history
The originally proposed alignment
Getting money off ex-directors
Completing the Railway
Social and economic effect of building culverts
Later Wye Valley Railtours
Remains of the route
It really is 50 years ago...
The Abandoned Wye Valley Railways
The Area
Wye Valley Journey
Brockweir Bridge: Dibden v Skirrow
Wye Valley Railway Menu

The Wye Valley Railway runs through quite a pleasant area of Britain. Officially it is an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, although anyone who knows the history of the area is well aware of the fact that it isn't, with a tinplate works at Redbrook and Tintern, a sawmill at Tintern, quarrying limestone south of Tintern, quarrying "pudding" stone at Penallt, paper-making at Whitebrook etc. All of this is now closed.

The line starts near Chepstow, so this is where our tour will begin.


Traditionally called Striguil, Chepstow has two main features - an extremely large church and an even bigger castle. The church has a large tower, has been partially demolished and is now rather close to the main road. The castle has many historic features, is long and thin, and is yet to fall off its cosy rock into the Wye. The picture shows it from the west end. Also notable are the impressive Wye crossings which are either small and picturesque or large, high and a bit plain, but never both, mostly owing to the difficulties of being very big and very small at the same time. The town has suffered from a severe case of an attack by road lobbyists - as well as its rail service being not very notable, the A48 carves through the town and nearly takes the church with it.

Gloucester is linked to Cardiff by five trains every three hours, two of which stop at Chepstow. This rather odd schedule is caused by the stopping service between Gloucester and Cardiff only running in two out of every three hours, despite the fact that none of the four places served are exactly small and the trains tend to be well-loaded. It may be something to do with it being a cross-border rail route and hopefully if the line is electrified as the regular diversionary route around the Severn Tunnel the service will improve. Chepstow is the nearest station to most villages along the former Wye Valley route.


The first record of Dyddanhamme is in the mid 6th century when it appears to have been a small unimportant village in an otherwise unpopulated area. Although at first glance totally unimportant, the village is in fact of immense historic importance - a small historic accident means that it is one of the most heavily documented villages in Britain from around the end of the first millenium. The owner - the Abbot of Bath - was keen to ensure that he knew as much as possible about this outpost of his estates, and some of the documents were duplicated in the 12th Century for some reason. This means that a whopping 3 documents survive to tell us about Dyddanhamme's economy, its size, and its Saxon church. By 1000 it had a manor and seems to have been one of the major places on the outskirts of the Forest of Dean - but was still called Dyddanhamme (although by 1086 it was Tedeneham). The village retained its importance as the most important place in the area until the Norman Conquest because the now internationally famous Chepstow was virtually non-existent 1000 years ago.

Now Tidenham is slightly lacking places of interest, being rather small - the manor is still there, but is still a private residence (albeit a very large Georgian one). As there is no river here there are no bridges to cross it, although there is a pump and a pond. The Normans made Chepstow the commercial centre, as it was on the main trading route (the Wye) and could also be used to stop bandits from sailing off up the Wye. Consequently the castle to keep the Welsh bandits out of this part of England was built on the other bank of the Wye at Chepstow, and Tidenham swiftly declined in importance. What it does have is a new church - a fairly impressive Norman structure on the Western outskirts of the village - and Dayhouse Quarry, now a diving and rock-climbing area since it stopped being a quarry a few years back - in fact, it now goes under the far more imposing title of "National Diving and Activity Centre". The picture shows the church tower. The church is within walking distance of the station, and Dayhouse Quarry is at the bottom of the access road to the station. This can be seen to drivers as a turn-off on the north side of the A48 adjacent to a very tall and narrow railway bridge over the main road - the WVR.


Tintern, of course, has its fabled abbey, built by the Cistercians in the 1100s. One of the major tourist features of the valley, the expected tourist traffic justified a third platform at Tintern station, which is about a mile away. Particularly famous items include the well-preserved Rose Window, although the outbuildings are mostly strips of stone now and there is no roof. People who like large numbers of staircases in their medieval ruins will also be disappointed. Abandoned in 1533 at the orders of King Henry VIII when he took over ("nationalised") the smaller monasteries, it fell into ruin rapidly with the removal of anything worth having like lead roofs, books, windows, stone and land.

Thinking of Tintern station, this is the other place of note in the area, and it now possesses a miniature railway, an art gallery, a shop, a tearoom and a museum with videos of stuff. Car parking is available at fairly low prices although the former flat rate of 50p has now become 60p for three hours, rising thereafter. The site is now "sylvan" i.e. lots of mature trees which are useful in the respect that there is now plenty of shade to replace the removed island platform roof. The gap between the former platforms 1 & 2 is now filled in without real trace. The station toilets have been renovated. More benches have been provided since this picture was taken in 2005 and the trees have grown a lot.


Brockweir has a church and a home for upset horses. The church was built by the Moravians (descended from the Hussites) in 1832 and is a pleasant enough little building, seen on the right. It was open when we visited and is accessible down a little side road. The road is three feet wide, the nearest car park is the one at the old station (about quarter of a mile away), and the nearest bus stop is on the other bank of the river - fortunately there is a bridge here which was opened in 1906, much to the irritation of a local ferry owner, who took the builders to court over it (and lost). The next road bridge south is at Chepstow and the next one north is at Bigsweir, near the former St Briavals station. The horses' home tends to look like it has a fair collection of animals knocking about whenever we amble past.


Llandogo has one particularly prominent feature, which is conveniently sited for the station. This is the church, which is basically next door. The church is of a Victorian design and has recently chopped down the yew trees in the graveyard, presumably on the grounds that they were too big. The station was sandwiched between that and a nearby farmhouse.

St Briavels

Some distance from the railway (several hundred feet higher, about a mile away, on the other bank of the Wye and in a different country) is St Briavels. St Briavels has a very grand church with some very old graves and a small castle. Formerly a hunting lodge for King John when the King was young, it continues to perform a valuable function as a place for young people to spend the night while enjoying themselves in the area - albeit as one of the network of Youth Hostels which are scattered around the country. Occasionally it is even open to the public.


Whitebrook is a small village scattered up a narrow valley striking West from the Wye (the stream passing under the railway in a large culvert). Road access is provided by a narrow lane which starts on the A 466 about one and a half miles south of Whitebrook and goes on over the hill down into Wales and the Trothy Valley. The village had a halt at its lowest end from 1927 until 1959 and several paper mills, one of which is seen in the picture below.

Nowadays it also lays claim to the Denise Yapp Contemporary Art permanent exhibition in an 18th-century house towards the top of the valley. It is a fairly simple two-mile walk straight up the road from the halt - although if you want to go by train the wait for the railway to re-open will be long enough to make the two-mile walk feel like a formality. The exhibition also doubles as a (5-star) Bed and Breakfast with some rather fine artwork in the rooms; its only flaw is that the art is liable to be overwhelmed by the scenery.


The smallest hamlet given a halt by the railway (with the possible exception of Netherhope), Penallt is a small place squatting just below the top of its hill, looking down on on the much larger village of Redbrook. The church is rather handsome and it has a telephone box. There are excellent views of Monmouth, Redbrook and various distant hills available from here.


At least as old as Tidenham, until 1961 Redbrook had always been an industrial centre, which in its early days was curiously called Brocote. Redbrook is really quite a pleasant place to visit, so after stopping at Tidenham, Chepstow, Tintern, Llandogo and St Briavels you really should pull up in the car park at Redbrook. It possesses several pubs, a lots of new housing estates, a church or two, part of the A466, part of the Wye, various riverside walks, various hillside walks, a border between England and Wales which places the most northerly few yards of the village in Wales, two tunnels (on the former line to Coleford), an abandoned ammunition store (in the tunnels), a viaduct (Penallt Viaduct), a car park (neatly blocked by lumps of rock placed in exactly the right places to stop lorries and heavy coaches getting in), a playing field (not enough room for two), an abandoned incline, a long industrial history, two short valleys (Upper Redbrook Valley and Lower Redbrook Valley) and lots of people willing to pay good money to live in expensive houses built on an old tinplate works.

Redbrook village green

It also has a bus service of nine buses each way each day (Mondays to Saturdays - only 5 on Sundays) to replace a rail service which offered four trains each way each day (Mondays to Saturdays - none on Sundays) which was therefore withdrawn in 1959. As the bus is very small it can be assumed that everyone around here owns a car, to the extent that Redbrook has built two houses on its former station. The question is: in which form - as a station and goods yard or as a car park and two houses - is the site providing the most benefits in the long term?

Certainly it wasn't commented on as being over-run by traffic in 1959...

...but then again it's not all that busy even today.

Anyway, to summarise, Redbrook is the sort of place where anyone who doesn't mind the state of the soil and the Annual Rising of the Wye (late March) can live quite happily several miles from civilisation, along with about 1000 other people. Technically it's called Lower Redbrook and Upper Redbrook, but both halves are quite similar, fairly small and have formed one large village, so they're just called Redbrook. British Rail called the station Redbrook-on-Wye, just to be confusing.

The incline bridge


Monmouth is really a very nice sort of place, to visit and to live in, particularly since a new bridge was built across the Wye lately and the old gated bridge, one of only three left in Europe, was closed to road traffic. The town also possesses a town hall with a memorial to Charles Stuart Rolls (of Rolls-Royce fame) who was killed near Bournemouth when his bi-plane broke up in mid-air. On the front of the building in white marble is Henry V, born in Monmouth Castle. Today, not very much actually remains of the castle owing to continued development on the site since the castle itself - perched a little way above the Monnow - was abandoned. What is shown is most of what is left of the old structure. The church is another attraction - crammed into the centre of Monmouth and very nice to look at with an impressive spire on top of a quite tall tower.

Today Monmouth town centre is very busy owing to all the tourists and inhabitants - it was, after all, mostly in place by 1900 when the tourist industry was not very big and Monmouth was quite small.

With the tragic loss of all four of its railways Monmouth now relies entirely on roads, as very few people try to travel by river here for some reason. The main local road is the A40/A449 dual carridgeway, running between Newport and the M50 at Ross-on-Wye. There is also the A466 to Tintern and Chepstow down the Wye Valley, and another road to Coleford and Cinderford, along with the rest of the Forest of Dean.

The pictures show (clockwise from top left) the bridge, the town hall, the church and the castle.

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Last modified 16/03/11

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