The Lancaut Peninsular

Follow the path above limestone cliffs where peregrines nest, to the lost medieval village of Lancaut and the ruins of St James’ church.

Technical sheet
No. 3506914
A Chepstow walk posted on 02/07/20 by Wye Valley Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty. Update : 24/06/22
Calculated time Calculated time: 3h25[?]
Distance Distance : 6.08mi
Vertical gain Vertical gain : 709ft
Vertical drop Vertical drop : 712ft
Highest point Highest point : 374ft
Lowest point Lowest point : 13ft
Easy Difficulty : Easy
Back to starting point Back to starting point : Yes
Walking Walking
Location Location : Chepstow
Starting point Starting point : N 51.644418° / W 2.673608°
Download : -

Description

Start : Chepstow Castle car park. OS Grid Ref ST535941 OL14

(D/A) From Chepstow Castle car park, turn left out of Chepstow Castle car park and walk down Bridge Street to and over the old bridge spanning the Wye. (A)

(1) At the end of the bridge, cross the road to join The Gloucestershire Way. Continue up this walled lane until you reach the road (Castleford Hill). Cross the road and follow the Offa’s Dyke Path along the lane (Mopla Road) and then turn left (North) through a kissing gate into a field signposted Offa’s Dyke Path. Walking uphill, head towards the top right hand corner of the field.

(2) You pass a ruined lookout tower or windmill on your right, thought to have been converted into a folly in the early 19th century. Look out for evergreen oaks along this section of the walk. In the far corner of the field is a metal kissing gate, which you go through keeping the stone wall to your left for about 150 m.

Where the wall meets a higher wall is another kissing gate. Go through, between a fence and a walled garden on your right. At the driveway turn sharp right along the wall and very soon left through a kissing gate. Follow the grassy path straight across the fields towards the kissing gate opposite.

(3) Turn right (East) at the kissing gate and continue to the road (B4228). Turn left to cross the road and walk uphill for a short distance. Cross the road again at the ‘Offa’s Dyke’ sign (on the left) and follow Offa’s Dyke Path uphill. Keep following Offa’s Dyke Path signs at the junction, from where there are good views of the old Severn Bridge (B).

(4) Keep straight on under the footbridge and through a kissing gate. At the road (B4228) turn left (North) and cross the road, walking along the roadside for a short distance. To avoid the road keep on the grass path and cut the corner off at Fox Hollies.

Turn left at the ‘Lancaut ¾’ sign and continue along this road, passing ‘Spital Meend’ on your right and soon after the peregrine sculpture and car park on the left.

Walk downhill, ignoring sign for Laucaut church on left, passing Ban y gor Nature Reserve (5) on the right, where a Roman oil lamp from North Africa, dating from the 5th century was found. Cross the cattle grid.

(6) At the junction, turn sharp left through the first gate into the field. Walk downhill diagonally to the right of the veteran oak tree where you can enjoy the lovely views of the cliffs surrounding the isolated Lancaut Peninsular. Continue in the same direction downhill to the far right hand corner of the field. There are some leveled patches and bumps in this field which are probably the remains of the lost medieval village of Lancaut. Go through the small wooden gate downhill to visit the ruined 12th century church.

(7) Leave the churchyard and walk down to the river passing the ruins of ‘Fish House Cottage’ on the left below the churchyard wall. Go through the gate and continue beside the river and up some steps. (C)

(8) Fallen scree now makes the old fisherman’s path back to Chepstow dangerous, so retrace your route back to the church (7) (D)

Continue uphill through a kissing gate and keep climbing. At a T-junction, turn right passing old lime kilns and, just after them on the left, evidence of where the lime burnt in the kilns was quarried. Continue up to a road and turn right to reach (9).

(9) Stop at the metal gate on the left and look to the left to see the earth banks and ramparts of an Iron Age promontory hillfort. Continue back to Chepstow Castle car park. Alternatively, retrace your route back to Chepstow. Don’t miss a last look at the view from Wintour’s Leap (10). (E) (D/A)

Waypoints :
D/A : mi 0 - alt. 39ft - Chepstow Castle car park
1 : mi 0.25 - alt. 52ft - End of the bridge
2 : mi 0.64 - alt. 256ft - Ruined lookout tower
3 : mi 1.03 - alt. 246ft - Kissing gate
4 : mi 1.48 - alt. 289ft - Footbridge
5 : mi 2.49 - alt. 194ft - Ban y gor Nature Reserve
6 : mi 2.61 - alt. 151ft - Junction
7 : mi 2.98 - alt. 66ft - Churchyard
8 : mi 3.22 - alt. 125ft - Fallen scree
9 : mi 4 - alt. 318ft - Metal gate
10 : mi 4.45 - alt. 289ft - View from Wintour’s Leap
D/A : mi 6.08 - alt. 46ft - Chepstow Castle car park

Useful Information

Shorter walk starts at Lancaut Lane carpark by the falcon sculpture . This is 1/2mile north of Woodcroft off B4228.

More information at The Wye Valley AONB here.

Visorando and this author cannot be held responsible in the case of accidents or problems occuring on this walk.

During the walk or to do/see around

(A) Halfway across the bridge is the border between Wales and England but you won’t need your passport today! The border has moved over the centuries and Lancaut and the Forest of Dean were part of the Welsh kingdom of Ergyng in the early medieval period.

(B) The path now runs along the top of quarried cliffs (5) and after a short distance the view opens out so that on a clear day you can see your destination - Lancaut Church. The cliffs below held valuable resources of limestone and have been extensively quarried. The quarried limestone was loaded onto flat-bottomed river boats, called trows, from massive timber platforms. In the 1870s huge quantities of limestone went to Bristol to build Avonmouth Docks. Many local men worked here and there is evidence of this hidden industry all around, although the area is now covered with woodland. Peregrines nest here and the area is a Site of Special Scientific Interest managed by Gloucestershire Wildlife Trust. The cliffs are also popular with climbers.

(C) This ‘mound’ may have been used to load trows with quarried stone and remains of the quarrying industry litter this area. You can see it in the old photo below to the right of the trow. You can continue along the path to a bench (8) where you can sit and enjoy the views stretching down the Wye towards Chepstow. Look around for stonework and a chain here, more signs of the massive quarrying industry which employed many local men until the 1950s.'

(D) As you follow the path uphill from the church, look to the left to spot several flat terraced areas one above the other . These leveled platforms are the remains of building plots and in a few places the line of a wall can be seen. This is the deserted medieval village of Lancaut, a place where people lived, farmed, fished and worshipped.

(E) * This is a naturally strong defensive position, enclosed within a loop of the river. Recent excavations have found a Roman, possibly military, presence here in the 1st and 2nd centuries, suggesting this corner of the hillfort may have been annexed to build a signal station. This bank may be part of Offa’s Dyke. In the 14th century the bank was widened and surfaced, with stones covering much of the area to the left. At least one marker stone was erected in the bank, suggesting there may have been a leper colony or infirmary close by at Spital Meend. Perhaps the bank was redefined to form a physical boundary, the marker and surfacing warning of diseased burials in this triangular area.

  • Legend has it that during the Civil War the Royalist Sir John Wintour escaped capture by the Parliamentarians by leaping down these precipitous cliffs and crossing the Wye. Little has changed in the view since the engraving below was made some 200 years ago. Can you spot the church? There’s also an inscription to look out for on an archway a little further along the return route. See if you can spot ‘Donkey Lane’.

Opinions and comments

Average

Global average : 4.67/5
Number of opinions : 3
Description quality : 4.33/5
Routemap quality : 4.67/5
Walk interest : 5/5


Walker
on Mon 17 May 2021 11:04:13 CEST

Global average : 4.67 / 5

Date of walk : 14/05/21
Description quality : Good
Easiness to follow the route : Very good
Walk interest : Very good

Fairly easy walk with one or two steepish climbs but if you are reasonably fit, it should not be a problem. Lovely views across the Wye Valley. Muddy in places due to rain especially down by the river. Found a slightly different route back which was less muddy and still with open field views.
Interesting facts and history of the area.


Walker
on Mon 26 Apr 2021 09:27:56 CEST

Global average : 5 / 5

Date of walk : 24/04/21
Description quality : Very good
Easiness to follow the route : Very good
Walk interest : Very good

A great and varied walk.
Some Boulder scrambling for 40 yds at one point


Walker
on Thu 01 Apr 2021 19:38:37 CEST

Global average : 4.33 / 5

Date of walk : 01/04/21
Description quality : Good
Easiness to follow the route : Good
Walk interest : Very good

Easy grade, following Offa's Dyke path. Amazing scenery of the lower Wye Valley, imposing limestone cliffs and far views of the Severn Estuary. Starts and ends in lovely Chepstow, which in non-Covid times will host a wealth of post walk refreshment opportunities

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The GPS track and description are the property of the author.