Chepstow Port Wall Walk and History
As part of our Cadw Challenge we check out the Chepstow Port Wall, we talk about its history and walk along the bits that you can still get to.
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Chepstow Port Wall – Cadw Challenge #2
Hello people of the Internet!
Ian and Jo here and this is the Something Vloggy Cadw Challenge!
We are attempting to visit and film all 130 properties in the care of Cadw in one year.
Today we are visiting Chepstow Port Wall.
What is Chepstow Port Wall?
There are two things of which you can be certain- death and taxes and we can be certain that the people who built this wall in the 13th century, are all now long dead, and that, in part, they built this wall in order to collect taxes on the goods that passed through its gate.
It was also used for defence; the wall was 1100 meters long, two meters thick, and 4.6 meters high.
It had least a dozen circular towers, and a dry moat that ran alongside the outside of the wall.
Who Built the Port Wall?
It was largely built by the Earl of Norfolk- Roger Bigod II, because obviously Roger Bigod the first was so impressed with his name.
The town gate was rebuilt during the medieval period. The current gate dates largely from the early 16th century as it was restored in 1524 by Charles Somerset, the first Earl of Worcester.
This gateway was the only entrance to the town and tolls were collected on all cattle and goods that passed through for sale at the market within.
What’s Left of the Wall Now?
There is a surprising amount of wall left intact despite the fact that it goes through the middle of the town.
Unfortunately, when they put the roads in they whacked some whacking great big holes through the port wall.
You know, I suppose they didn’t want to go round and there was only one gateway, and it was really small as you’ve just seen.
So it’s not surprising, I mean otherwise they’d have to build bridges over the top or tunnels underneath, and I can’t imagine they had the budget for that.
Anyway, onwards with our walk, we’re going that away.
Walking along the Port Wall
You can walk quite a substantial length of the port wall.
You can’t walk all of it because some of it turns out is the back wall of somebody’s back garden, and I think they might get slightly upset.
When I say somebody’s, I mean lots of different people. It’s not all the same person because that would be one hell of a garden. It’s a nice feature to have.
What you do get, lots of funny little footpaths like this that run through the wall, so you can get to quite a bit of it without getting totally trapped one side or the other.
You get a nice bit of shade.
Oh, and you get meowed at by pussycats.
*pirrips* oooh who gets the belly rubs.
What’s the walk like?
I’m quite enjoying it as a walk. I mean, the town bits are obviously quite noisy but it’s only really when you’re crossing the roads that you have to worry about it.
And if you’re going through the town you can always stop for a coffee, which is always nice.
Lots and lots of walls to look at.
Lots and lots of wall.
It’s like walking through formal gardens I have to say.
It is, it’s all nicely looked after as well.
Yeah, recently pruned.
Which is always good.
The problem is you find that you can walk bits and then you find you’re cut off as we are here.
Ian So, we’ve come walking around this corner, and that bit over there that bit there is where it stops.
And there is no path.
So what we’re gonna have to do, daft as it may seem, is walk back the way we do we’ve just come, and then walk around the other side of it for a bit.
But at least we get to see plenty of it. We’re not really walking next to the port wall anymore, but we’ll get there.
Unfortunately, you can’t follow the port wall all the way but, if you follow a zigzag path it leads you straight back to it and that’s where we’re heading now.
In fact, I can see it.
Because it forms part of people’s back gardens you can’t go any further.
End of the Wall, End of the Walk
So this is the second of our Cadw Challenge films, and also the end of the Chepstow Port Wall Walk because this is the end of the Chepstow Port Wall.
It literally ends over there, which is not where it used to end because it used to end at the river. But when they put the train line through they had to chop the end of it because… well, trains and a wall probably don’t mix particularly well.
No, I should imagine not.
You’ll be able to join us for our next Cadw Challenge film.
Number three is going to be Chepstow Castle.
It is, join us next time for Chepstow Castle.