April 2022. Wye Valley Greenway, Gloucestershire/Monmouthshire.

In April last year, Tidenham Tunnel was opened as the finishing stage of a multi-use trail from Tintern to Sedbury (east of the River Wye from Chepstow), which uses the trackbed of the former Wye Valley Railway (WVR). During the autumn and winter period (1st October to 31st March), when the tunnel is closed to protect its bat population, engineers from Balfour Beatty carried out an ‘inspection’ during which they brought down masonry from the tunnel roof in several places. The engineers were working for National Highways and its Historical Railways Estate subsidiary, which has raised questions (as yet unanswered) about how and why this damage was caused. At the Tintern end of the Greenway, trail users leave the old WVR and take to the ‘Wireworks branch’ to reach the village; this section provides a good view of Tintern Abbey and includes a bridge over the River Wye at grid reference SO 530003. Refurbishment of this bridge is due to start at the end of June this year and will take about 9 months to complete. While the bridge is closed, users of the Greenway will be able to reach Tintern using public footpaths and bridleways via the village of Brockweir, which is upstream from Tintern, but the diversion will add over two miles to their journey, and may not be suitable for cyclists. (James Winstanley)