The Glamorgan-Gwent Archaeological Trust Ltd.

Character Areas

Lower Wye Valley

039 Wye Valley Railway North

View across the agricultural fieldscape of HLCA039.

HLCA 039 Wye Valley Railway North

Communication/transport corridor: major roads (A466); milestones; public rail (Wye Valley Railway); agricultural field pattern: large regular enclosures, meadows; traditional boundaries; Ancient Woodland; ornamental leisure and tourism (part of the Wye Valley walking route). Back to map

Historic Background

The historic landscape area of Wye Valley Railway North is a transport and communication corridor, which runs in a narrow strip on the east bank of the River Wye from Lower Redbrook to Wyesham where it broadens out to include the flat valley-bottom fields. It encompasses both the fringe of the ancient woodland that lies to the east, and the uncultivated riverbank. The area is bounded by the River Wye to the west, ancient woodland to the east, and to the north and south by bridges, which carry the transport features over the Wye. Historically, it fell within the parish of Dixton, in the manor of Hadnock, and the majority of the land in the area belonged to the Duke of Beaufort.

The area, like the adjoining area of Lord's Grove woodland (HLCA 040) probably existed principally as semi-natural ancient woodland for most of its history, with only minor routes crossing it until several important transport routes were constructed from the nineteenth century.

The present A466, Redbrook Road, follows the line of the Monmouth to Chepstow Turnpike Road. The tithe map (1844) depicts the Monmouth to Chepstow Turnpike Road, which was opened in 1829 and an important nineteenth century development, which provided road access for the first time along the length of the Wye Valley. Two turnpike milestones in this area directly relate to the route, one of which gives the distance to Monmouth as 2 miles, the other gives a distance of 1 mile to Monmouth Shire Hall (both Grade II listed; LBs 85211 and 85212). The road was built and maintained by the Monmouth Turnpike Trust, but this was wound up in 1873 and responsibility passed to the local Highways Board and then to Monmouthshire County Council following the County Council Act of 1888.

The line of the Wye Valley Railway between Chepstow to Monmouth, authorised by an Act of 1866, was opened in 1876, with passenger services operating until 1959, the line finally closing in 1964. The line is depicted on the First Edition OS maps (1887, 1890), running north-south through the area parallel with the turnpike road, and ran from Troy Station on the west bank of the river over a railway viaduct (built in 1861 as an extension to the Coleford, Monmouth, Usk and Pontypool line), to continue south along the bank of Wye, exiting Monmouthshire and Wales at Redbrook and Redbrook Station, before re-crossing the Wye and re-entering Wales via the Redbrook Railway Bridge (built in 1876) and thence to Tintern Parva (HLCA 017).

Historic Landscape Characteristics

Wye Valley Railway North is characterised by the communication and transport links, which run north-south through the area, and includes the line of the former Wye Valley Railway, which runs along the east bank of the River Wye and crosses the river at the south of the area via the now listed Redbrook Railway Bridge (PRN 03267.2g, NPRN 43012, LB 24926). The A466 Road (Redbrook Road), the former Monmouth to Chepstow Turnpike, follows a largely parallel route to the Wye Valley Railway. The area's transport features include two listed milestones (LBs 85211 and 85212).

The area also has an agricultural element to the north, where the valley floor widens out into an area of large regular meadows on the river terrace of the Wye, currently under pasture. Historically this area consisted of smaller fields, as shown by the First Edition OS maps (1881, 1890); these have since been amalgamated. The boundaries here are primarily formed of post-and-wire fences with occasional stretches of hedge.