167b Newport to Peterstone Wentlooge

I spent most of this morning walking along urban roads, and so it comes as a jolt of surprise to meet a tractor and realise I am now in a rural area.

 tractor on track, Ruth somewhere south of Newport, Wales Coast Path

Newport industry is not far away. To my left is the narrow Ebbw River, its water  hidden between steep banks, with the cranes of the Newport Docks beyond.

 Newport Docks, Ruth walking the coast path

As I continue walking along the farm track, the view of the docks gives way to a view of the two Uskmouth power stations. I was walking in the shadow of those chimneys yesterday. Considering all the miles I’ve done since then, I don’t seem to have travelled very far!

Uskmouth Power Station, Ruth walking the Wales Coast Path

The track ends in a flat area of wasteland. There are some vans parked and I keep my distance. Men in vans in the middle of nowhere? I don’t want to know what they’re up to.

The Wales Coast Path follows a raised bank and veers round to the right. Despite being higher than the surrounding fields the bank is very, very muddy – and covered in cow pats. I can hear the mooing of cows coming from a nearby dairy farm. I’m just grateful they are locked up.

The River Ebbw and River Usk have combined at this point to form a wide river mouth. On the other side I can see the Newport Wetlands Nature Reserve with its squat lighthouse, where I walked yesterday.

across mouth of River Usk, across River Severn to Avonmouth, Ruth Livingstone

And this bank has its own lighthouse too, the West Usk Lighthouse. The light has been decommissioned and the building is now a B&B. I stop to take a photo and spot something odd. A blue box.

West Usk lightouse with Tardis, Ruth walking the Wales Coast Path

Yes. It’s the Tardis.

Just beyond the lighthouse I stop again, to take a photo of the view across the low-lying  fields to the hills in the distance. The signpost informs me the Wales Coast Path follows the track at the bottom of the bank. But I don’t want to walk down there. I prefer to stay up on the higher ground where I can look over the river.

Wales Coast Path signpost, Ruth walking the coast

I make rapid progress. The only thing that slows me down is the mud, but at least there are no more cow pats. The bank stretches ahead, curving slightly as I leave the mouth of the River Usk behind and begin following the course of The Severn.

 looking forward along bank, into the sun, Ruth walking the Wales Coast Path

With the sun bright and low ahead, photography is difficult. But when I turn round, I take a photo that captures the spacious feel of this wide, marshy landscape. I’m elated because I’ve left the urban sprawl behind me and am walking through a space filled with so much light and air.

 looking back along bank, Ruth walking the Wales Coast Path

After a mile or so of bank walking, I begin to see people strolling around near the shore. I must have reached a place called Lighthouse Park, near to the village of St Brides Wentlooge. Here there is a caravan park and a pub.

looking over River Severn to Somerset, Ruth's coastal walk

It’s 1:30pm, and I stop for lunch at the pub, as planned.

I was determined not to repeat my mistake of yesterday, when I found the only pub for miles around was closed. So I  checked in advance and made sure this pub was open and serves food. But you can’t plan for every eventuality. When I ask for the menu the landlady apologises. The cook has called in sick. There is no food today.

the Lighthouse Inn, St Brides, Ruth walking the Wales Coast Path

Disappointed, I fall back on my usual ‘make-do’ lunch. A packet of crisps and a packet of peanuts. To cheer myself up I order a pint of cider instead of a half and take my meal outside. It may be the beginning of November, but I’m warm in the sunlight.

I have the garden to myself, and am just feeling nicely relaxed when my lunch is interrupted. A man from the BBC has arrived and wants to launch a drone from the garden to do some filming of the coast path.

the drone, interrupting Ruth's lunchI’m moved round to the front porch, but that area is in the shade and I begin to feel chilly.  To add insult to injury, the man starts setting up the drone on my recently vacated and sunny table.

Hurriedly, I finish my crisps and leave, but I hang around on the bank for a while. If the BBC wants to film the coast path, I might as well be in the shot, looking like a proper walker.

But nothing much seems to happen and I decide I better get on. The sun is sinking lower and I have another couple of miles to cover before the end of my walk.

Out in the Severn Estuary the tide is coming in. The mud makes dramatic patterns, with its furrowed ripples thrown into sharp relief by the slanting light.

mud on banks of Severn, Ruth's coastal walk

While inland some Welsh sheep are making the most of the last few hours of this sunny day. At least they get to eat uninterrupted.

agricultural land and welsh sheep, Ruth's coastal walk

A little further on and I meet some cows. There isn’t much room on my narrow strip of land that runs between fields and river mud, and the cows have spread out to cover both the bank and the track below it. Oh dear!

I screw up my courage and walk between them.

They have enormous horns and shaggy coats. Are they Highland Cattle? In Wales? Despite their fearsome appearance, they are surprisingly small in stature and don’t show any interest in me. This one has a fine young calf.

 cattle with pointy horn, Ruth on Wales Coast Path

The path bends inland to navigate an inlet, called Peterstone Gout on my map.

New Quay or Peterstone Gout, Ruth walking the Wales Coast Path

Here is where water drains from the Wentlooge Levels and into the Severn. I walk past some big pipes and around pools of water.

deep slurry warning, Ruth on Wales Coast PathA fenced off area of land has yellow triangle warning signs. Deep Slurry!

 friendly horse, Ruth walking the Wales Coast Path, near Peterstone WentloogeThen I walk through a field of horses. I’m less frightened of horse than I used to be.

This one follows me, breathing down my neck. I feel a tug on my rucksack. It’s trying to eat me. When I turn round to confront it, the animal seems to shrug, as if to say, “What? It wasn’t me.”

I’m relieved when I reach the fence at the end of the field and climb over a stile. But it’s not a proper obstruction. The fence on either side of the stile has collapsed. My companion pushes through and continues to follow me. Two other horses join us and we make a fine procession down the bank. I’m just beginning to wonder if I’ll be accused of stealing the damn animals, when they seem to lose interest and turn back.

The low sunlight makes the landscape glow golden. On the other side of the river I can see Avonmouth docks and Portishead.

evening light on Severn Estuary, Ruth on the Wales Coast Path, Peterstone Wentlooge

I meet more cows. This one is definitely a bull, I think.

definitely a bull, Ruth walking in Wales

The sun is very low now and I take a photo looking down the Severn. I wonder if I am still walking along a ‘river’, or if it has become an ‘estuary’.

 sinking sun, Peterstone Wentlooge, Ruth's coastal walk in Wales

I reach a footpath leading inland to Peterstone Wentlooge, my destination for today, where I wait for my husband beside the church. The church seems odd. It has ‘Private, Keep Out’ signs and a locked gate. Not very welcoming. Later I learn it was deconsecrated and is now a private house.

When my husband arrives on his bike he is in need of rehydration. Sadly, the only place we can find open for refreshments is the local pub!

cider in Peterstone Wentlooge, Ruth walking the Wales Coast Path


hubby with a pint, Peterstone Wentlooge


Miles walked today = 11 miles (18 kilometres)
Total since start of coastal walk = 1649.5


About Ruth Livingstone

Walker, writer, photographer, blogger, doctor, woman, etc.
This entry was posted in 12 South Wales and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

14 Responses to 167b Newport to Peterstone Wentlooge

  1. Marie Keates says:

    You seem to be having some very bad luck with lunch. I think I’d be inclined to pack sandwiches. The horses mad me laugh. I’ve had a few New Forest ponies that are way too friendly. They scare me.

  2. We have those Highland cattle here on Arnside Knott and despite their fierce looking horns they seem to be quite benign. My route was more inland, and largely on roads. The Wales coast path had not been opened so I was not aware of the embankment route which is not shown as a public footpath on my OS map – it looks a much better route than mine. I continued mostly on roads to Cardiff, but I suspect your route will be better.

  3. Leslie says:

    Hi Ruth, my husband and I are starting our SWCP journey at the end of March (2015). We are taking 8 weeks and hiking the entire thing! Is there much camping along the way? Any idea how weather is in April and May? Thanks for any tips you can offer! – Leslie

    • Hi Leslie and I know you will enjoy your adventure on the South West Coast Path. I’m afraid I didn’t do any camping, so didn’t really take any notice of the availability of camp sites, but please see Conradwalks offer of help below. The weather is a lottery. When I walked through Plymouth in April 2013 it was freezing cold. Last year (2014) I was on the north coast and it was surprisingly warm. It’s pot luck really. Anyway, I hope it all goes well for you and I know you will enjoy yourselves, whatever the weather 🙂

  4. Hi Ruth – I hope you don’t mind me jumping in here to offer some help to commenter Leslie.

    Leslie – I walked the section from Poole Harbour to Torquay last year between 3rd September and 12th September (after that I continued on the Two Moors Way across Dartmoor and Exmoor). I took a tent but stayed mainly in b- and-bs etc, but you will see from the blog that I have done a lot of long distance backpacking using the tent. Feel free to contact me if you want – conrob@me.com

    There is a day by day account on my blog – conradwalks.blogspot.com which you can access from the chronological post list on the left of the opening page.

  5. I love the sight of all the hills and mountains that fill the background. I had to drive out to Chepstow last weekend (to help a friend) and the views are so inviting, I know I’ll have to start exploring Wales soon!

    It’s kind of reassuring to know that someone else has been attacked by a horse! 🙂

    • I thought I was going to be accused of stealing those horses – they followed me for ages! I wouldn’t really recommend the coast walks in this area, Olly, but I did follow Offa’s Dyke for a section and I imagine that is lovely once you get up into the hills.. Or you can walk up the river from Chepstow – following the Wye Valley Walk – which sounds lovely too.

  6. Pingback: 167a Newport | Ruth's Coastal Walk (UK)

  7. Anthony Wilkinson says:

    Great read and lovely photos, Ruth. One small correction – the river west of Newport is the Ebbw (ends in ‘w’, which is a vowel in Welsh). Happy plodding!

  8. Karen White says:

    The horses made me laugh. I expect it was your rucksack that attracted them. Certainly the forest ponies have learned that bags are likely to contain food!

I welcome your views

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s