Day 275 Rambling across the Severn Bridge to ENGLAND

Wednesday 4 May 2016

Caldicot to Avonmouth, Bristol

15 miles

Oli and Laura’s house, Cardiff

The New Severn Bridge in the morning mist
Such a beautiful morning, very sunny but then it got mistier as we approached the Severn Estuary. Oliver dropped me back at Caldicot and I got straight on the coast path, crossed the M4, and headed for the new Severn Bridge. It didn’t take long for the most to burn off. 

walking under the bridge
I passed underneath the first bridge (built in 1996) and immediately came upon the village of Sudbrook; built to house workers constructing the Severn railway tunnel 1873-86. It took 3000 men to build this 4-mile long tunnel. The original pumping station is still in use. 

the old rail track through Sudbrook
Sudbrook Pumping Station, still in use
looking back at Sudbrook Pumping Station and the new Severn Bridge
Black Rock picnic area is the site of the only remaining lave net heritage fishery. People wade out into the Severn and catch salmon in nets that look like a bigger version of one a child would use. 

the Black Rock Lave Net Fishing Hut
I could see the old Severn Bridge; a bit hazy in the bright sun. 

walking towards the old Severn Bridge
I started walking along the estuary towards it but soon the path veered inland across farmers’ fields. One farmer was out sheering his sheep, blocking a gate I needed to get through. He was very friendly and rounded his sheep up into a smaller pen to allow me to get past. It was only after I’d gone past that I realised I was on the wrong path. Oops. Well I couldn’t go back so I had to adjust my route slightly but it wasn’t a problem. 

The New Severn Bridge…
…The Old Severn Bridge
I walked through the village of Mathern, with its statue of the Celtic King Tewdrig of Gwent. He defeated the Saxons in battle near Tintern but was mortally wounded and died on his journey to Flat Holm. Mathern Church was built where he died and the village grew up around it. 

King Tewdrig in front of Mathern Church
I made it to the bridge. A magnificent suspension bridge opened in 1966, a long time after the train tunnel. I walked across it and into England. (It’s actually 4 bridges.)

Crossing the bridge to England
I noted that the sun was shining and hoped that was a good portent as it rained on me when I reached Scotland, was sunny when I crossed from Scotland to England, and grey when I entered Wales. Those initial weather signs would each be good descriptors for the weather I encountered afterwards. I hope it’s the same this time!

the only welcome sign I could find – on the motorway
I walked across the M48 tolls and into the service station, where I sat down to wait for people to join me for my first walk in England. My ex-friend, Sally, had written to the Radio 4 Ramblings programme and so Clare Balding and her producer, Lucy, were coming to walk with me. I was not looking forward to it and had roped in Laura to join us. 

preparing to walk with Clare and Lucy
After a bit of to-ing and fro-ing with cars we all set off from Aust to an industrial estate on the outskirts of Avonmouth. We were following the Severn Way Path so that made navigation a bit easier having left the Wales Coast Path behind.  

another way-marked path to follow
It turned out to be a really fun afternoon and they were good company. 

me and Clare pretending to look at the map (after I persuaded her to put the costa coffee cup down)
recording in progress
It remained sunny all afternoon as we walked along the estuary, past Severn Beach and under the M4 bridge (for the second time today). 

the new Severn Bridge from the English side
Clare, Lucy and Laura with the old Severn Bridge in the distance
Because of the uncertainty of today I had arranged to spend one last night with Oli and Laura, so I was driven back into Wales one last time. Laura and I went straight to the park for an icecream to celebrate a fun afternoon. 

who needs the Golden Gate Bridge when we’ve got this one?

5 thoughts on “Day 275 Rambling across the Severn Bridge to ENGLAND

  1. Spike May 6, 2016 / 11:58 am

    Juice, check you out!!!!!!! Welcome back to England and super star status! When will the piece be air/played? XxX

    Like

  2. Chris Frazer May 6, 2016 / 4:28 pm

    Fame I want to love forever etc etc rubbing shoulders with the A listers you will on Celebrity Big Brother next…..well done Juice……outstanding and well done to your ex Friend Sally…..Juice you deserve recognition for your amazing feat….on on Marshal of the Air (Retd)

    Like

  3. jomunday99 May 6, 2016 / 9:31 pm

    I’m impressed even if you weren’t! I’ll have to work out how to use the radio now to listen to the show.

    Like

  4. Val K May 7, 2016 / 7:54 am

    I didn’t know you were a celebrity, I’m sure you had great fun and after the broadcast you willing
    no doubt be pursued by hordes of fans wanting your autograph! Val x

    Like

    • Lucy May 10, 2016 / 7:17 am

      I’m not sure about autographs, but next year I’ll be trying to get out of a jungle and dancing on ice!!!

      Like

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