Our Town

Chepstow Town Map 

The historic walled border town and ancient port of Chepstow is a mere two hours’ drive from London yet commands the entrance to the Lower Wye Valley in an area of Outstanding Natural Beauty ensuring its position as a great place to live. The name Chepstow derives from the Old English words "Chepe" and "Stowe" meaning market place and as the name suggests, Chepstow grew and prospered, as a market centre for the local farmers.

A busy port and shipyards contributed to Chepstow's wealth particularly in the 18th and early 19th centuries leaving a rich legacy to the town in the many buildings dating from that period.

The Town boasts many attractions:

 

Chepstow Castle

The ruins of Chepstow Castle have a spectacular setting on cliffs over the River Wye.  This powerful defensive position can best be seen from several points on the English side of the river.  Entered by the Gateway at the lower end of town, its long shape, hugging the cliff edge, shows clearly its several stages of development from its early Norman beginnings.  The castle is open to the public daily throughout the year and ample parking is provided off Bridge Street immediately below the Castle. CADW Welsh Historic Monuments, who act as custodians, have produced a comprehensive guide book for the Castle which is available, together with a wide range of souvenirs, at the Castle gift shop.
See also the website: www.castlewales.com/chepstow.html
Chepstow Castle
Chepstow Museum

Chepstow Museum

Admission is FREE and the Museum is open daily although times vary according to the season. Contact Chepstow Museum, Bridge Street, Chepstow on (01291) 625981.  The elegant late 18th Century town house, at the bottom of the town, opposite the Castle car park is home to the award winning Chepstow Museum.  The museum's exhibits reflect the development of Chepstow, once an important port and bustling market town.  The displays show the growth and decline of the port with its valuable wine and timber trades.  Shipbuilding, salmon fishing and many other aspects of Chepstow’s working life are shown in imaginative settings which recapture an essence of the original scenes.  Pleasures and pastimes are recalled in original photographs, programmes and posters.

The Town Gate and Port Wall

The original Town Gate was built at the same time as the Port Wall during the lordship of Roger Bigod and  many and varied uses - prison, guard room, quarters for the local constable, tailor’s workroom and museum to name a few.  Following the recent restoration, this room was named the Margaret Cleyton room in memory of the lady who had the adjacent Gatehouse rebuilt in 1609.

The Town Gate was entrusted to the custody of Chepstow Urban District Council in 1899 as a bequest from the late Duke of Beaufort and the Gatehouse was presented to the town in 1919.  The building now houses the Town Council and the Citizens Advice Bureau and is available for meetings and functions.

The medieval town of Chepstow was protected on the north and east by the Wye and the town or Port Wall, which was built in the late 13th Century to afford protection on the landward sides.  Access to the Town from the landward side was through the Town Gate only controlled by means of a gate and portcullis.  Although impressive in scale, the wall was built as a means of controlling entry to the town and not for defense.  This type of wall was known as a “Customs Wall.”

Much of the wall is still in an excellent state of preservation and can be viewed today. Particular vantage points include the main car park (off Welsh Street), the main A48 and the Railway Station area.
Town Gate
Portwall
Old Wye Bridge

Chepstow Bridges

Chepstow has three famous bridges:

Chepstow Bridge
(1816), also known locally as the Old Wye Bridge is now the world’s largest iron arch road bridge from the first 50 years of iron construction in world history (1780 to 1830).  The bridge is Grade 1 Listed.

Chepstow Railway Bridge
(1852) was built by Brunel over the River Wye with pioneering design and construction techniques. Brunel’s original pillars still support the bridge but Brunel’s rail deck structure was replaced in 1962

Severn Bridge (1966) is one of the most graceful suspension bridges in the world as it was the first to use a narrow aerodynamic road deck - the bridge is Grade 1 Listed.

The Parish and Priory Church of St Mary

The Norman Priory of Chepstow was founded between 1067 and 1071 by William fitzOsbern, Earl of Hereford, and was built at the same time as the Norman Keep of Chepstow Castle. Benedictine monks were brought from the monastery at Cormeilles in Normandy, now Chepstow’ twin town. The Church is open daily for visitors and private prayer.

Further information is available in the Church and from Chepstow Tourist Information Centre on 01291 623772.
St Mary's

Town Trail

Three walking trails designed to lead you on interesting routes around the town mainly within the old town Portwall. The most popular route is the Town Centre Trail, whilst the one most suited to the less energetic is the Riverside Trail. All routes start and finish at the Castle Car Park and the time taken to cover them is a matter for the individual, but as a guide the full route which starts off with an amble up the Castle Dell, alongside the Castle, takes approx. 90 minutes.

Orchards & Wildlife Trail

Chepstow has 12 mini-orchards which have been planted around the town for the benefit of the community. The trees are for everybody to appreciate throughout the seasons, and the fruit is there for everyone too: please help yourself when it is ripe. Orchards are also important for wildlife, which benefits from the habitats created and the nectar and pollen provided.

Chepstow Town Council initiated the planting of our community orchards and part-fund their maintenance. All planting, pruning and care is done by local volunteers, co-ordinated by Transition Chepstow. Hands-on volunteers can learn skills such as pruning and grafting, but there are other ways you can help! If you would like to get involved please contact us via: orchards@transitionchepstow.org.uk

You can visit some or all of the orchards by following the Orchards Trail which, where possible, will take you away from the main roads and along public footpaths.

Further information on any of the above attractions or other local attractions is available from the Tourist Information Centre, Bridge Street, Chepstow, NP16 5EY, telephone 01291 629772 or visit the website www.visitmonmouthshire.com. The Tourist Information Centre can also help if you are looking for the very best advice on Where to Stay, What to do, What's on or How to get out and about and offer a comprehensive accommodation booking service.