Dec 2021 – Caldicot, Monmouthshire.

Now is the time to examine what remains of the southern section of the MoD Caerwent branch, which is being cleared in order to create a cycle trail between a point north of the mainline at Caldicot Junction and an undefined point in Caerwent. Our correspondent reports that the single line leading to/from the three roads at the main line junction end is now visible, and that a heritage railway has obtained the track which appears to be 95lb rail. The South Wales Argus reported Monmouthshire Council in January 2019 as saying that the redevelopment of about 1.8 miles of the Ministry of Defence Caerwent branch would fulfil ‘long held aspirations’ to promote the county as a walking and cycling destination. According to Tony Cardall of the Great Western Study Group, access is now available as fencing has been removed to facilitate clearance of trees and 16 shrubbery so that the track can be lifted. A quick glance on Google Earth does indeed show that the line, much of which lies in a cutting, is heavily overgrown. Ownership of the branch, presumably as far as the boundary with the Caerwent Training Area, which is still owned by the military, has now been transferred from the MoD to Monmouthshire County Council. At present clearance, and therefore access, is between The Cornfield Project, Portskewett (NP265SP) and Caldicot Castle, at the southern end of the branch. Ultimately it will be cleared right through to Caerwent. The proposal is to provide a cycle path though it is not obvious to see where access would be provided at the northern end. It would be great if the trail could use the extant concrete bridges over the M4 and A48 dual carriageway respectively, but this would take it into Army territory.

(Tony Cardall, Paul Gilson, South Wales Argus)