Walk 4: Monkswood and the Usk Valley (2-4 hours 3-6 miles)
posted on Fri Oct 12 2012, 08:47PM
by JohanKlos
[ Edited Tue Jan 10 2017, 02:23PM ]

Monkswood and Usk Valley


SummaryA three-mile walk crossing undulating farmland. The walk can be extended to include an attractive riverside trail along the banks of the river Usk as far as Chain Bridge.
This option will extend the length of the walk by a further 3 miles.
Distance3 to 6 miles
Time2 to 4 hours
MapsOS Map 152 Newport & Pontypool
Start atBeaufort Arms, Car Park, Monkswood. Grid ref 342026
TerrainWoodland and fields and riverside
 
Fourth in a series of ?ve circular walks around the ward of Llanbadoc. 
The walks incorporate Llanbadoc, Little Mill, Glascoed and Monkswood.
  
The ideal starting point for this walk is the Beaufort Arms car park at Monkswood. Grid Ref: 342026.

At the far end of the car park on the opposite side of the road you will see a footpath sign, and steps leading up into a field. Go over the stile and head up the field bearing slightly right to the stile which takes you onto the footpath past the poultry houses on the right.
On reaching the tarmac road turn right and continue until you reach a cottage on your left. The walking route turns left at this cottage.
Rejoining the walk at the cottage, pass through the cottage grounds and into a field, follow the ‘pig netting’ fence on your left, carrying on through a gate and following the fence to two oak trees. Look to your right for the stile which takes you across the tarmac road to join the Usk Valley Walk.

On the brow of the hill the broad vista of the Usk Valley becomes apparent. Surrounded by farm buildings can be seen Kemeys Commander Church whose origin is reputed to be in the times of the Crusades. The mysterious outline of the Skirrid Fawr mountain can be seen in the north.

Keeping the Skirrid in your line of view will guide you to the stile in the corner of the field. Go over the stile and almost immediately over another stile. Keeping the fence line on your right, cross two fields and two stiles.
You will begin to hear the gentle murmuring of the River Usk, and see on your right Lower House Farm which is on the opposite side of the river. After crossing the second stile, bear slightly right, follow the contour around the hill to pick up a fence line on your right near to two beech trees. Follow the fence to a stile in the corner of the field. The path goes downwards to the river through naturally regenerated woodland. Where the path joins another track turn left and head towards Pandy Spring Pump House on the bank of the River Usk.
 
The Pump House was built originally to pump water to the town of Usk. The name Monkswood, Coed-y-Mynach, is derived from a monastic grange of the Cistercians of Tintern. The remnants of the old grange can be seen at the nearby farm of Great Estavarney.

Optional Diversion to Chain Bridge
Cross over the stile in front of the Pump House and follow the Usk Valley Walk along the West bank of the river, passing through meadows and a woodland. You will reach Chain Bridge in 1 1/2 miles from the Pump House. The Bridge Inn is strategically located to provide refreshment before retracing your footsteps to the Pump House.

To continue the walk (do not follow the Usk Valley Walk) take the steep climb up a track through the wood which brings you out onto a grass field, stay on the track until you reach the metalled road. Turn left to Penpedairheol Cross Roads (Penpedairheol = top of the four roads). Go straight on at the cross roads down Rumble Street which marks the western boundary of Monkswood hamlet. This, with no firm evidence, is often considered as an offshoot to the Roman Road joining Mamhilad and Trevethin.
 
Rumble Street reputedly gets its name from the noise of the horse drawn wagons carrying goods up and down the road.

Pass two cottages on your right (the second is called Keeper’s Cottage) then take the next large track on your left onto forestry land at Cefn Mawr Wood.

After a few yards the path forks. Turn right and follow the path through the cleared wood which now contains rejuvenating trees, mainly birch. The track eventually becomes a vehicular track near some dwellings. Pause a while at the bottom at the gate going into a field to admire a panoramic view of the parish of Glascoed. Go down the track and carefully cross the main road to arrive at Monkswood Garage. 

Close by is the site of the 16th century Monkswood Ironworks, possibly a successor to the workings of the monks of Tintern. It is thought to be in the garden of a bungalow just west of the garage by the Beaufort Arms. The furnace established here in the 1560’s was later taken over by Richard Hanbury. 

Turn left and back to the Beaufort Arms.


Follow the country code
  • Enjoy the countryside and respect its life and work
  • Guard against all risk of fire
  • Fasten all gates
  • Keep your dogs under close control
  • Keep to public paths across farmland
  • Use gates and stiles to cross fences, hedges and walls
  • Leave livestock, crops and machinery alone
  • Help to keep all water clean
  • Protect wildlife, plants and trees
  • Take special care on country roads
  • Make no unnecessary noise
 
Any comments about this walk and leafiet would very much be appreciated by the Llanbadoc Community Council.
The council would like to thank local farmers and landowners for their co-operation.
 
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