Discover the Kymin walk
Tread in the footsteps of Lord Nelson and Lady Hamilton, who came here to see the fine views of Wales and England more than 200 years ago.
Admire the Georgian banqueting house at the Kymin
This walk visits two interesting Georgian buildings - the Naval Temple, a monument to Admiral Lord Nelson, and the Round House, a circular, castellated Georgian banqueting house.
The Kymin car park, grid ref: SO528125
From the car park head toward the white building you can see to the north. This is the Naval Temple.
Have a look around this first monument to Admiral Lord Nelson and other Admirals. It was erected during the Napoleonic Wars. Surrounded by a low wall with ornamental iron gates, the Naval Temple is a quirky, important (albeit small) and unique building. Finished in 1801, and built by public subscription, it's Britain's oldest monument to the Royal Navy.
Walk to the Round House 33yd (30m) away. This quirky Georgian building was built by a group of local gentleman who met there to dine. Emerging on your left is a spectacular view over Monmouth and beyond. You may spot buzzards soaring here. You are likely to see Sugarloaf Mountain, which looks like a pointed volcano from this direction. On a clear day you will see Pen y Fan in the far distance, the highest point of the Brecon Beacons.
The Round House
The Kymin was both created for, and inspired by, picnics more than 200 years ago. A group of local gentlemen formed a picnic club and visited The Kymin every Tuesday. Not wanting to stop when the weather grew colder - they decided to club together and build a little picnic house. This gave rise to the Round House, which they completed in 1796.
From the Round House, keep going along the drive. In front of you is Beaulieu Grove, an ancient woodland once used particularly for charcoal burning. Just before reaching the wood, turn right following the drive down towards a stone cottage. This is the Old Stable, which was built at the same time as the Round House, to stable the diners' horses. It is now occupied by the Custodians of The Kymin.
Before the gates for the Old Stable, turn left and follow the path for a few yards to a kissing gate. Go through the gate and take the smaller path bearing to the left, to the fence between the field and Beaulieu Wood. Follow the fence line and look out for some very large ant hills. These are the home of Formica rufa, the red wood ant. If the weather is clear, in front of you through a gap in the trees, you will also see the Malvern Hills.
Some of us don't even notice when a common little ant stumbles across our shoes frantically battling to find his way home. Here at the Kymin we're lucky enough to have a colony of wood ants - the biggest ants in Britain. Queen ants can live for up to 15 years and measure about 12mm long. The other two 'castes' found in the wood ant colony - workers and males - are slightly smaller.
Once you have reached the far left-hand corner of the field, turn right and follow the small path until you reach the opposite corner. At this point turn right and follow the broader, well-worn path leading diagonally back up the field to the kissing gate where you first entered the field. Just before you get back to the kissing gate, if you look left(ish) towards the Wye Valley, you can see the tower of Newland Church, otherwise known as The Cathedral in the Forest.
Go back through the kissing gate, and keeping The Old Stable to your left, walk straight ahead until you come to the Bowling Green. This was landscaped by the same people who built the Round House and is a lovely spot for a picnic or a game of croquet. If you're not stopping, then it's a short walk back along the drive to the car park.
The Kymin car park, grid ref: SO528125
You made it
Following this trail on mobile or tablet? Share your experience.