Clytha short circular walk
Ramble through this timeless estate in Monmouthshire and take in all the lovely views, rich history and stunning wildlife.
Clytha riverside car park SO361085
From the car park, go through the gate next to the interpretation panel and continue for 200m before turning right to follow the waymarked path alongside the River Usk. After about 600m, go through the second gate on the right (with the stone counterweight) and head up the hill and across the field to the metal wicket gate leading onto the road.
Carefully cross the road to the wooden gate. Go through the gate and past the remains of an old milk churn dock on your right, and through the gate on your left. Follow the route across the field and past the back of Rose Cottage and continue following the waymarked signs through the woodland. The path follows the course of Clawdd Brook before passing close to the A40 and heading back into the woodland. Continue to follow the way-markers past the back of Chapel Farm to a gate at the edge of a field.
Clytha's veteran trees
Around 100 veteran trees are dotted around Clytha Estate, including oak, sweet chestnut and beech. Many are tucked away out of sight, but as you reach point 2, you'll see a split veteran oak tree, hundreds of years old and a rich habitat for dozens of species. As you continue around the back of Chapel Farm, shortly before point 3, you will find two more veteran oak trees. The sweet chestnuts and lime trees near Clytha Castle are also worth looking out for.
Follow the way-marked route south through several fields and gates. Cross through a paddock and over a couple of stiles to reach a metal gate near the road. To your left is the Clytha Arms pub drive and over the road are several steep steps up to the top of a bank where the walk continues.
As you cross through the fields, you will pass a number of stones on your left. These are the ruins of St Aeddan's Chapel - Capel Aedan - founded in 1188 by Aedan of Gwaethfoed. It was still in existence in the 14th century, but later ruined. By 1957, it was just a heap of stones with some architectural features. Surrounding Capel Aedan is the site of a deserted medieval village (DMV), where it's suggested the original Klytha Manor stood.
Carefully cross the road and climb the steps. After passing through the gate at the top, keep right and continue following the waymarkers over a couple of stiles into a field on a hill. Follow the line of lime trees diagonally down to the track. These trees used to be the avenue leading to Clytha Castle. When you reach the track, turn right and follow it up, taking the right fork up to the castle.
Considered one of the outstanding 18th-century follies of Wales, it was designed by John Davenport and built by William Jones of Clytha House, with the purpose of 'relieving a mind afflicted with the loss of a most excellent wife'. It's owned by the National Trust and leased to the Landmark Trust who rent it out for holidays.
After stopping to admire this remarkable property, follow the wooden signs to Clytha, which head into the trees and round the back of the building. Pass through the gate, following the way-marked posts along the grassy ridge above the trees, and then left back under until you reach a small metal wicket gate by the road. Pass through the gate, turn left and walk along the road for 20m and then turn right back into the car park where you started your walk.
Clytha riverside car park SO361085
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