For more beautiful cottages in and around the Wye Valley visit Wye Valley Holiday Cottages

Johnson Cottage in the heart of the Wye Valley - self-catering on the Wales-England border for couples, friends or families
Spectacular Tintern Abbey, close to our holiday let in Brockweir - you can walk along the River Wye and through woodland to the Abbey in around 30 minutes
 

Explore the picturesque and historic Wye Valley and Forest of Dean and discover what you can see and do from your cottage base

Brockweir  |  Tintern  |  Chepstow  |  Monmouth  |  Forest of Dean  |  Ross-on-Wye  |  Further afield

For more active outdoor pursuits, see our activities page, and for what to eat take a look at our dining page. This page will tell you a little ( this is only a taster, please follow the links to find out what these places have to offer) about your immediate area and then the major towns or sites nearby. Let's start with the village the cottage is situated in...

Brockweir

  View northward from Brockweir Bridge, with the old Brockweir Quay and Quay House on the right
   

Brockweir Village is a beautiful, unspoilt and peaceful old settlement, a short riverside walk from Tintern and its world famous Abbey, and you will very much feel part of the community during your stay. The cottage sits snugly in the centre and is a few steps away from the local pub, old Moravian Church and the banks of the Wye. You'll enjoy the short, easy walks in the area. Right near the cottage are the oldest buildings in the village (dating back to the 1600s).

There is a fascinating story regarding the building of the Brockweir Bridge, which split the community and local families apart in the lead-up to its opening in 1906, recounted in Maurice Harrison's book High and Dry over the Wye (which you'll find in the cottage). From the bridge you get a great view of the old Brockweir Quay (recently restored) and Quay House, which tends to be an iconic image for Brockweir (see image above). Brockweir Festival offers summer entertainment, of jazz, opera etc., and is a very popular community event. For such a small village you have several places that serve food and snacks, and there are plenty of walks you can do, either short (around the village or Tintern, just down-river) or longer and more strenuous (Offa's Dyke Path and the Wye Valley Walk run through the village).

Flora Klickmann

  Writer Flora Klickmann's grave at Brockweir's Moravian Church
   

Editor of the Girl's Own Paper and author of a series of books popular in the first half of the Twentieth Century and set in Brockweir, Klickmann (1867-1958) lived in the village (her house can be found on a popular walk from the cottage) and is buried at the Moravian Church by the cottage (right). For a brief biography see the page devoted to her at the Stella Books website - their shop is situated close-by in Tintern and they usually have books by her in stock. You'll find vintage reading copies of some of her best known books in the cottage including The Flower Patch Among the Hills, Flower Patch Neighbours and Between the Larch-woods and the Weir - all are about the Brockweir area which she so loved. Here is the opening of her 1921 book, The Trail of the Ragged Robin which is a delightful scene-setter for the area:

"If you have ever wandered in the Valley of the Wye, you will know something of its straggling hillside paths - always steep, always stony, always beautiful, and always calculated to reduce any boots to a condition of hopeless disrepair. Those paths are among the characteristics of the romantic region where the oaks and birches on the Gloucestershire hills wave greetings to the firs and larches that crown the Monmouthshire heights, but are cut off from closer companionship by the water that rushes between. Yet so narrow is the river gorge, that the birds nesting in one county can feed in the other."

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Tintern

  Writer Flora Klickmann's grave at Brockweir's Moravian Church
   

Tintern is down-river, easily (and very pleasantly) walkable from the cottage, and home to a number of places of interest. Foremost is its stunning 12th Century Cistercian Abbey, set on the banks of the Wye, and a major historic landmark.

The Old Station is situated between Brockweir and Tintern and is a 10 minute walk from the cottage. The Wye Valley Railway used to provide a stunningly spectacular journey from Chepstow and Monmouth, often alonng the Wye itself, which is now sadly lost to time, but some remnants exist and this is the best example. The station itself serves food and drinks, outside bench seating is lovely in the summer and there are some small but fascinating exhibits that will make you wish you were able to take the journey that more than 100 years ago brought people to the area in what was called 'the birth of tourism'.

Tintern also boasts plenty of eateries, some interesting churches and plenty of walking potential. Stella Books is on the main road and specialises in vintage children's books and local interest (including books by Flora Klickmann); it's well worth a browse. There are other craft shops in the Abbey Mill area near the Abbey selling local products and gifts.

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Chepstow

Chepstow and Monmouth are the local larger towns. Chepstow Castle (7 miles) is close and has a spectacular situation on a cliff bordering the Wye. It also boasts the oldest castle doors in Europe (at 800 years old) and the castle shows clear evidence of its 500 year long development from the relatively small Norman tower at its centre to the extensive battlements added much later. It's often a venue for outdoor thatre and events in the summer. The Tourist Information Centre is located at the entrance to the car park.

If you are hungry for more castles, try heading to Caldicot Castle, about 5 miles from Chepstow and equally worth a visit.

There are plenty of shops to browse, including The Chepstow Bookshop, which frequently hosts high-profile authors for signings and boasts a large stock.

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Monmouth

Above Monmouth sits the Kymin, an imposing hill with a circular Georgian banqueting hall on the top. You can drive all the way up and behold fantastic views of the area, from the town below to the Black Mountains and Brecon Beacons in the distance. There is also a naval temple - Lord Nelson used to visit the site (there is the small, free Nelson Museum & Local History Centre in the town centre, well worth a look if you are interested in exploring Nelson's connection with the area.

Monmouthsire Show is the largest one-day show in Wales and a major agricultural event for the area, usually held on the last Thursday of August. It's held just off the Wye Valley road outside the town in beautiful riverside fields.

Monmouth itself 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 was just outside the town.

The Tourist Information Centre is in the centre of the town.

There is plenty of shopping and other useful amenities available, here are some of the highlights:

  • Salt and Pepper – Several lovely shops under one name - fantastic cook and kitchen wear, a gift shop filled with gifts for any occasion, toy shop and clothes shop for on-trend fashions from designer names
  • The Rowan Tree – beautiful gifts from furniture to jewellery on Monnow Street
  • Blake Theatre - local and national theatrical venue, with film screenings

Church Street, between the main square and the town's impressive St Mary's Church has several interesting places to browse:

  • The Cotton Angel - lovely gifts, knitting, dressmaking and traditional home crafts  
  • Stephen’s Bookshop - great selection of new and used books
  • Great Atlantic Gallery & Artico - Local arts and crafts shops
  • Mono & Tillys - boutique clothing
  • Helmet Hair - barbers and hairdressers - updos, wedding hair etc. Ask for Darren
  • The Savoy - cinema and theatre

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Forest of Dean

The Forest is filled with walking and cycling potential (see our activities page), but there are plenty of non-strenuous things to enjoy - here are just a few (all are a short, pleasant drive from the cottage).

Clearwell Caves - atmospheric natural cave system, mined on-and0ff for 4,500 years.

Harts Barn Craft Centre - old Norman hunting lodge, now a lovely tea shop and set of craft shops including potteries and a blacksmith and a principal centre in the region for dried flowers.

Taurus Crafts - an exciting place to see a vibrant range of crafts and to discover your own creativity. The centre is family friendly and offers something of interest for all ages. It also has a café serving wholesome healthy food and is a community run and supported project.

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Ross-on-Wye

A visit to The Prospect is a must, where you get a great view down to the Wye. There are some cute cobbled streets to explore and some interesting shops including:

Stella By Starlight - in the town centre boats beautiful French-style furniture and romantic gifts and home decorations.

Sarah D'arcy Ceramics - tucked away in a side-street and described as 'ceramic animals of distinction' her anthropomorphic hares, hippos, and ducks are both delighful and unique. We have a chicken and a hare at home!

Baileys – very stylish home furnishings and rustic home accessories in a gorgeous converted barn just outside the town - a browse here is a must...

Labels Outlet Shopping - has a coffee shop and large selection of discounted clothing and home products, situated outside the town.

Near Ross is the excellent Goodrich Castle and Symonds Yat (including Symonds Yat Rock lookout, which provides the classic view of the Wye).

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Further afield

Further away, but very much worth a mention, is the lovely Hay-on-Wye (42 miles), a haven for book lovers everywhere with its myriad book shops and tea rooms. Of obvious note is the Hay Festival where many noteables from the literary world descend on this small town for around 10 days at the end of May to give talks on their work. It's a great experience, even if it has grown larger by the year.

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