There are not many walks which offer myth and legend along the way. A family walk that offers this – and more – is one which my children and I recently took in Chepstow.
We sought out Devil’s Pulpit, a limestone rock which juts out over cliffs and which offers amazing views out onto Tintern Abbey in Monmouthshire.
Devil’s Pulpit is named thus, as according to legend, as this was the spot at which the devil would stand to preach to the monks of the abbey below, luring them away from their holy calling and into his evil clutches.
A walk to Devil’s Pulpit has been my favourite walk so far. It was about half an hour: the perfect length for me (I love walking but not so keen on hiking!) and it really was beautiful and quite unlike any walk I have taken before.
It’s an interesting little walk too, which starts with a winding, rocky little lane leading through heathland with many beautiful trees and where you can often see Exmoor ponies. We were lucky enough to chance upon some ponies grazing, much to my daughter’s delight.
This lane eventually opens out onto a vast expanse of peaceful green fields, the only sound being the gentle breeze weaving and whispering through the long grass. What with the azure blue sky with its fine powder puff clouds above us, it was absolutely beautiful.
There is then another little winding lane to take, a little woodland tunnel of trees leading you deeper and deeper into the woodland; listen out for the creaking tree along the way, creaking forlornly in the wind.
Follow this lane through and you will come to the Devil’s Pulpit itself, along with its heavenly views down onto Tintern Abbey.
Just below the Pulpit, there are some some little steps leading down deep into the woodland to some rocks and an ancient yew tree which my boy enjoyed climbing. There was a friendly little bird down there who greeted him and chattered away to him; I have never seen anything quite like it.
At this point we decided to head back to the car park and then homeward-bound.
However, if you would like, you could also continue past Devil’s Pulpit, along the trail towards Offa’s Dyke; do let me know if you decide to do this, I would love to know what this part of the walk was like.
Our walk to Devil’s Pulpit would not be suitable for pushchairs as it is rocky in places and also has a kissing gate to navigate your way through. However, it is a perfect little walk for slightly older children, as it is interesting, not too lengthy and quite unique.
Devil’s Pulpit – and the surrounding area – is a designated Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty and for good reason, too.
Although the the pulpit itself – with its views – is great, the journey itself is just as good. The old adage, “it’s not about the destination, it’s about the journey” springs to mind.
There is something almost magical about Devil’s Pulpit and its surrounding heathland and woodland; it has an aura of myth and legend and times long past and it’s a walk well worth doing.
Devil’s Pulpit, Tidenham, Chepstow NP16 J7R.
Start at the Forest Enterprise car park (grid ref ST 558992) which you can find on the B4228, near Tidenham Chase, on the Offa’s Dyke National Trail.
Follow the wooden sign in the direction of “Devils’ Pulpit” and “Offa’s Dyke” and enjoy.
You might also enjoy some of the other family walks I have written about on the Walks & Woodland page on Bristol Mum.