Tintern (Welsh: Tyndyrn) is situated just inside SouthWales in the beautiful Wye Valley, an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB), six miles north of Chepstow on the lower road to Monmouth. Its main tourist attraction is the ruined 12th century Cistercian Abbey. Two long distance paths can be accessed from it: Offa’s Dyke Path, on the east bank of the Wye, and The Wye Valley Walk, on the west bank.
Tintern can be accessed by car, taxi or local bus along the A466 which runs between Chepstow and Monmouth. If coming from London, Bristol or Cardiff then many trains stop at Chepstow, where a 20 minute bus ride will get you to Tintern.
If driving from the Midlands and the North then Monmouth will be the best entry point. There is a height limit (of around 12 ft) on the A466 from Monmouth enforced by several miles of overhanging tree branches further up the road near Redbrook, and a weight limit imposed by a weak bridge across the Wye at Bigsweir. The valley is narrow and winding, with the result that the road is also narrow and winding.
There are also a number of footpaths in the area and a very minor (“unclassified”) road from the west. It is therefore easy to enter and exit Tintern without using a motorised vehicle at all.
There are several bus stops along the A466 as it passes through Tintern (which is built along the road). If you bring a car, Tintern Abbey has a large free car park. The village is small enough for all exploration to be done on foot – indeed, this is preferable, as most of the side roads are very narrow and the A466 is unsuited to roadside parking.
- 1 Tintern Abbey. This 12th century Cistercian abbey has been in ruins since King Henry the 8th (the one with all those wives) dissolved the monasteries but it is still impressive after nearly 500 years. A poem by the same (Tintern Abbey) name was written by Wordsworth, English Romantic Poet.
- 1 The Old Station. Is a former station on the Wye Valley Railway from Monmouth to Chepstow, now a countryside visitor site. The station itself aptly demonstrates one reason why the railway closed by being one mile away from the centre of Tintern. The railway to the south of Tintern can be followed by crossing the river near the Abbey and following a wide and generally level (although muddy) path along the side of the hill for a few miles.
- 1 The Wireworks Branch (Tintern Wireworks Bridge). Was built to carry an industrial railway into Tintern to serve a small wireworks. The railway closed in 1935 and was dismantled in 1941. The bridge remains intact as a footpath and it is the only bridge across the Wye at Tintern. The wireworks themselves closed long before 1935 and little evidence remains.
- Wireworks. I have heard tell that the Tintern wireworks, long since demolished, was a source of the wire used in the first transatlantic submarine communications cable
- 1 The Devil’s Pulpit. a 2 hour climb to a viewpoint on the east bank of the Wye with magnificent views over Tintern and the Abbey.
- 1 Brockweir. Cross over the old railway bridge and walk to the old port of Brockweir. Cross over the bridge at Brockweir back to the west bank of the Wye and then follow the river bank back to Tintern. A pleasant hour-long ramble. Stop at the Old Railway Station picnic site for refreshment.
- 365 Steps and The Wyndcliffe. Accessible from a car park on the road between Tintern and Chepstow, but also accessible from The Wye Valley Walk, are the 365 Steps for climbing up to The Wyndcliffe viewpoint which gives a magnificent view of a bend in the river Wye and distant views of Chepstow Racecourse and beyond to the Severn Estuary.
- 1 Abbey Mill – Wye Valley Centre. Well-established independent family business which has been trading for the past 60 years. Set amidst breathtaking scenery on the banks of the River Wye in the original mill site of Tintern Abbey, founded in 1131. See the waterfall, watch the trout and shop and browse through the five shops. Crafts are demonstrated. Also has a coffee shop and restaurant.