We started our walk at the Roman settlement of Caerwent, or Venta Silurum a British Tribal City. The main Roman road from Gloucester to Caerleon passed through the centre of the settlement. When the road was widened in modern times it bypassed Caerwent to the north and is now the A48. The location of the road was deliberate as the advantages of Roman civilisation were paraded to the locals daily along the military supply route. The principle visible remains are the complete circuit of the town walls, in places over 16ft high, the foundations of several houses and shops and a small RomanoBritish octagonal temple. The town’s defences originally comprised a single massive earthen rampart and ditch, enclosing an area of 40 acres. A regular grid of streets divided the town into 20 city blocks of roughly equal size. Several public buildings have been identified in the centre of the settlement. A forum, basilica, public bathhouse and small amphitheatre are all present at the site. The houses in the settlement were generally small and modestly appointed with only a few having mosaic floors. We set off across a maize field towards Brockwell farm. Passing through a golf course which was a bit of a puzzle as the whole course had moved across the road to a new field leaving the original course (which we crossed a few of years ago) overgrown and left to grazing sheep.
i We came across a toilet aptly named ‘Rustic Relief’. The 50ft totem pole still stands proud with symbols of golf – albatross, eagle etc. on it and a dedication ‘to Mummy love Bob’. Bob Davies designed and carved it from a Sequoia tree. We continued westward to a minor road. Four acres of the Tredegar Estate was set aside in 1855 for the ‘labouring poor’, to be used for the benefit of the local people. It was used regularly until the end of 19th century. Part of it was used as a tip in the 1930s and a timber crop worth £25 was taken in 1950s. This is now Rogiet Poorland Nature Reserve, bought by the Gwent Wildlife Trust in 1991. Consisting of lime stone grassland it has thin dry infertile soil promoting the growth of wild flowers. Spring to summer sees a profusion of herbs and a selection of trees have self seeded. Many holes and scratches can be spotted from the rabbit
population introduced by the Romans. Our route took us west through Ifton Great wood. There were kennels for rescue dogs at Minnetts deep in the woods and we had to change our route at this point as the footpath disappeared in overgrown woodland. We stopped for lunch at a car park in the wood, perching on some large rocks acting as a boundary. Heading north we came across a farmer in a tractor, planting seed in a huge open field. As we looked across the field towards Carrow Hill, we peered through the mist which had accompanied us all day creating an atmospheric picture. From here we travelled east through Five Lanes where there were some very nice properties. At the end of the walk we had completed 8.5miles and 500ft, and thoroughly enjoyed our hot drink at Chepstow garden centre. The mist lifted for the first time all day on our return to Wenvoe when the sun broke through for a short while.