Home Department of Planning & Idea Generation Department of Railed Transport Department of Sleeping Department of Staying-in-Bed Department of Comment, Satire & Tripe Fun Stuff How To... Wye Valley Railway Seasonal area 

Seasonal area

November 2014

Current Seasonal Area is here

Much murmuring preceded the selection of this month's Seasonal Area picture, which ended up not treading quite as heavily into Planning Department territory as it could have done. It looks south from Tintern's Wireworks Bridge down the Wye towards Tintern Abbey (right) and Chepstow.

The Abbey was founded in 1131; it was the second Cistercian site in the British Isles. Around it grew up a small village to service the monks' needs. Construction work and various improvements culminated in the current Gothic structure that was begun in 1269 and consecrated some 32 years later - slow building works not exactly being a modern invention.

Its demise was more abrupt; it was surrendered to King Henry VIII (or, at least, to his officials) in 1536 and swiftly leased to the Earl of Worcester, who put the area to more commercial uses. "Romantic" artists of the eighteenth century took much advantage of the ruined, ivy-covered building. Wordsworth wandered the area writing a poem. The Picturesque movement came on pleasure cruises between Ross-on-Wye and Chepstow. The downstream route made Tintern Abbey into the final flourish before the twisting voyage down the tidal estuary to Chepstow, where the castle would come into view high above the river on its uncertain rocky outcrop. There was much uncertainty as to how picturesque the location actually was and artists variously added more ivy, removed odd walls, adjusted the precise location and alignment of the river and made the hills look more dramatic by adding high peaks and snow.

The Wye Valley Railway finally overcame financial and geographical obstacles to open at the beginning of November 1876, bringing with it a handsome bridge to span the Wye just north of the Abbey and provide a new standing point for pictures downstream. (The financial justification was that the bridge was for a branch off the railway to serve a wireworks, hence the name of the bridge. However, the wireworks was out of business when the line opened and has done little of interest since.) Bridge and Abbey were nationalised at the beginning of the 20th Century; both have been kept in moderately good repair down the ensuing years. Guidebooks continue to wax lyrical about it, except an alternative Wales tourist guide which encourages the reader to reflect on how many two-bedroom homes could be accommodated on the site if suitably cleared. Y Abaty Tyndyrn is notable for its convenience for the English/ Welsh border, being highly suitable for day trips from England; indeed, this picture was taken from that very country.

The Abbey's always delightful location is much enhanced at this time of year by the varied colours of the trees and the bright blue sky, gazing down on the wide, sedate river near high tide.

<<<Seasonal Area October 2014<<<

^^^Current Seasonal Area^^^

>>>Seasonal Area December 2014>>>

Last modified 05/11/2014

© The Order of the Bed