The Glamorgan-Gwent Archaeological Trust Ltd.

Character Areas

Lower Wye Valley

017 Wye Valley Railway South

View across HLCA016 showing the regular agricultural field pattern.

HLCA 017 Wye Valley Railway South

Communication/transport corridor: major roads; public rail (station buildings and signal box); regular agricultural field pattern: large meadows, and some strips; settlement pattern: dispersed farmsteads; industrial archaeology: metal processing, cider production; ornamental leisure and tourism. Back to map

Historic Background

The historic landscape area of Wye Valley Railway South is a transport corridor defined by the construction of the Railway line. The area consists of a long narrow strip on the west bank of the River Wye, from the station at Tintern Parva in the south, to Lower Redbrook. The railway then crosses the river via Redbrook Railway Bridge, and continues north to Wyesham along the east bank of the Wye as the Wye Valley Railway North, (HLCA039). The character area is bounded by the west bank of the River Wye, and to the east by the line of the edge of the railway. It runs through the parishes of Tintern Parva, Llandogo, and Penallt. Tintern Parva historically belonged to the Herbert family, but by the time of the tithe map (1844) much of had been absorbed into the Beaufort estate. Penallt, and parts of Llandogo, were in the manor of Tellech, while the remainder of Llandogo parish was a manor of the See of Llandaff. Much of the strip of riverbank on which the railway was constructed belonged to the Beaufort estate.

Although the construction of the railway is the most significant event in the area's history there has historically been activity here since the Roman period; pottery, including mortaria, has been found in the area, while finds of heaps of scoriae indicate that iron processing also occurred. Continuity of this industrial activity of the area is demonstrated by other industrial remains of post-medieval date particularly an iron furnace and a cider house at Coed Ithel Farm (Coates 1992).

The Wye Valley Railway was authorised by an Act of 1866, and the line from Chepstow to Monmouth was opened on First November 1876. This section of the Wye Valley Railway runs from Lower Redbrook, where the line crosses the Wye, and re-enters Wales, over Redbrook Railway Bridge, built by the Monmouth and Wye Valley Railway in 1876. The line then follows the west bank and there are stops at Penallt Halt, Whitebrook Halt, St Briavels, Llandogo Halt and Brockweir Halt before it comes to the station at Tintern Parva, where it re-crosses the Wye into England and continues south on the east bank until it crosses the river over Brunel's bridge at Chepstow. The Wye Valley railway remained an independent company until 1905 when it was taken over by Great Western Railways. Passenger services on the line finished in 1959, while goods trains continued until the line was closed in 1964 (

After the closure of the railway, the station at Tintern became a tourist attraction serving as a picnic site, with the station buildings, platforms and several carriages being preserved. The station and its associated features (the name board, signal post, signal box and water tank) are Grade II listed buildings (LBs 24041-24045).

Historic Landscape Characteristics

Wye Valley Railway South is principally characterised as a major communication route, notably the now dismantled Wye Valley Railway; the section from the Wye Crossing at Lyn weir near the station at Tintern to the Wye crossing at Redbrook Bridge. The area also contains part of the route of a major road, the A466, the former Chepstow to Monmouth Turnpike Road of 1829.

The agricultural landscape in this area is characterised largely by river terrace meadows, in the main large regular enclosures; the key characteristic field boundary for this area is of post and wire fencing.

Settlement and buildings in the character area are fairly far and few between, mainly dispersed isolated farmsteads, including Catchmays Court (Coed-Ithel in First Edition OS mapping), Coed-Ithel Farm, and The Holm. In addition there are a number of surviving rail associated features including the station buildings at Tintern Station and the railway cottages east of Tump Farm.