Dozens of walks as Chepstow Walking Festival gears up

River Wye Chepstow
River Wye, Chepstow. Photo: silentsal0/Pixabay

The Welsh town of Chepstow in Monmouthshire is hosting its walking festival at the beginning of April.

From April 2 to 7, or perhaps that should be Severn, given the town’s location close to the Severn bridge, there will be plenty for walkers to do. Most walks cost £5, although there are some free ones.

Booking is required for the walks. The event kicks off with a moderate, five-mile hike on Tuesday, April 2, a circular taking in Earlswood and Cribau Mill. Other walks on the opening day include Forest of Dean – People and Places, The Polish Chapel and Wye Valley, Llangwm and the churches of St David and St Jerome, Mitchel Troy and Treowen, and Bridge to St Brigid’s Walk. None of the walks are open to dogs. There is also a presentation event in the evening.

Wednesday’s events kick off with The Big Walk, a 22-miler. The 2024 Big Walk includes an elevation gain of 4,000. It will explore lesser-known paths as well as the Wye Valley Walk and Offa’s Dyke path.

For dog owners, there is a walk on the Thursday where one pooch is permitted per walker. There is also an evening presentation on the Thursday.

Friday features eight walks, including one about bats (the mammals, not the sporting apparatus), and there are some Welsh walks also (with the walk leaders speaking Welsh). One walk on Friday is dog-friendly.

Saturday includes a bird walk, railway walk, and a Horrible Histories walk for children, and there are six walks on the final day as the event wraps up.

Walkers are Welcome (WaW) is a UK national scheme which awards WaW status to locations who actively support the local and visiting recreational walking community by designing, promoting and maintaining walking routes and activities.

Chepstow was awarded Walkers are Welcome status in 2012, coinciding with the launch of the Wales Coast Path, which has its southern terminus in the town.

Chepstow WaW is a community group of volunteers operating under a formal constitution and coordinated by a steering group. The group is funded by main sponsors including Chepstow Town Council, small grants and donations, sales of Walking Festival tickets and advertising subscriptions.