Spring Cottage is just over a mile from the heart of Brockweir – a charming village with a traditional pub and community shop set on the banks of the river Wye.
The larger settlement of Tintern is a lovely 2 mile riverside walk from Brockweir. In addition to it’s world famous Abbey, Tintern also has a selection of pubs, a renowned bookshop and a number of craft shops. Further afield, the Welsh border towns of Monmouth and Chepstow and neighbouring Forest of Dean offer a wealth of places to visit, shop and eat.
Brockweir Village used to be a busy boat building and trading post due to it being the last tidal point on the river Wye. Once described by the Morovians as a “den of iniquity”, Brockweir boasted 16 pubs and cider houses to satisfy the demands of locals, watermen and shipbuilders!
Only one pub survives from those busy lawless days, the New Inn, now called the Brockweir Inn. The others have all been converted into houses and whilst the village very much retains its original charm of stone buildings, you can expect a far more peaceful and welcoming atmosphere than in years past.
The Brockweir Inn is a friendly establishment with a simple but well sourced menu of traditional pub meals and some fine local ales.
The Village Shop is just under two miles from Spring Cottage and stocks a wide range of local produce, general groceries, seasonal veg and bread. The Village Shop also has a cafe with wi-fi and serves lunches, tea, coffee and a lovely selection of cakes.
The Cistercian abbey of Tintern is one of the greatest monastic ruins and is situated a pleasant three mile riverside walk away. Founded in the early 12th century and developed and extended over a period of 400 years until monastic life in England and Wales was brought to an abrupt end by King Henry VIII, the Abbey is an imposing monument to centuries past. Today the Abbey is, in the words of many, the “perfect ruin”. It’s great church, built over 700 years ago stands today much as it did then, apart from it’s lack of a roof, window glass and internal divisions.
The Old Station is situated at the half-way point between Spring Cottage and Tintern and serves food and drink from April to October in a glorious setting overlooking the River Wye. It is a great place to break the journey for lunch or afternoon tea and learn more about the Victorian Wye Valley Railway that brought visitors from Chepstow to Monmouth over 100 years ago in what was called the “birth of tourism”.
Chepstow & Monmouth
Brockweir is equidistant from the Welsh border towns of Chepstow and Monmouth, each offering visitors a variety of amenities and interesting places to visit.
Chepstow Castle, with it’s spectacular setting atop tall cliffs above the Wye, is an interesting place to visit. Touring the castle, you can clearly see how it evolved from it’s Norman fortification of over 1000 years ago to a residence for Dukes and Earls in the seventeenth century. The Castle frequently hosts outdoor events in the summer.
If you are hungry for more castles, we would recommend the Norman Caldicot Castle, about 5 miles from Chepstow, Raglan Castle built in the Middle Ages and situated about 5 miles south of Monmouth, or Goodrich Castle on the English side of the river Wye, 5 miles north of Monmouth.
Chepstow is also home to Wales’ national racecourse, Chepstow Race Course. Chepstow Racecourse stages racing all year round on the flat and over jumps and is home to the Welsh Grand National. The racecourse also hosts music events in the summer with Tom Jones and Madness having played there over the past few years.
Monmouth sits at the confluence of the Rivers Wye, Monnow, and Trothy. It has a recently renovated centrepiece – Shire Hall, adorned with statues celebrating famous historical figures closely linked to the town – Henry V (born there) and Charles Rolls of Rolls-Royce whose ancestral home is just outside the town. The town has plenty of shopping and other useful amenities available including a large number of independent shops selling everything from food, antiques, clothes, children’s toys, art and crafts and garden supplies. For food shopping, as well as two butchers and a green grocers, the town also has a Waitrose, M&S Food, and Lidl.
For the agricultural aficionados, the Monmouthshire Show and Usk Show held on the first Saturday in July and second Saturday in September respectively are major events for the area and well worth visiting.
The Forest of Dean provides a beautiful environment for a number of activities (see activities page), but there are other less strenuous things to do in this area including:
- Clearwell Caves – extensive cave system (used for the filming of the BBC dramas Dr Who and Merlin) with events throughout the year for young and old.
- Harts Barn Craft Centre – Old Norman hunting lodge with cafe and a market of craft shops selling jewellery, pottery, picture framing, pine furniture, hand painted glassware and China.
- Taurus Crafts – Craft centre with demonstrations and courses in pottery, painting, fabric design, jewellery making, and sculpture. The community run project also has a café serving good food and is a great stop for families or adults.
Further up the Wye are the charming riverside towns of Ross-on-Wye with it’s lovely cobbled streets and interesting independent shops and Hay-on-Wye boasting 30 independent bookstores and host to the world renowned Hay Festival.
Spring Cottage is spoilt by the number of great options for places to eat and drink nearby including the following favourites:
The Brockweir Inn, with it’s open fire, serves wholesome pub food, ale and cider and is a short one mile walk from the cottage.
For fine dining, we would thoroughly recommend the Michelin Star restaurant The Whitebrook, which is 8 miles from Spring Cottage.