Last week I went on a well known walk just north of Chepstow – Lancaut Loop. The focus of the walk are the sheer limestone cliffs on the Gloucestershire side of the River Wye, known as Wintour’s Leap and the ancient settlement of Lancaut.
The cliffs at Wintours Leap, a popular climb, are named after Sir John Wintour. Wintour was a prominent but unpopular land owner and iron master from the Forest of Dean during the English Civil War and the commander of the local Royalists. When pursued by Parliament forces, Wintour supposedly escaped by riding his horse over this 300 ft cliff to the river bank below!
Lancaut is a peninsula of land almost completely surrounded by a loop of the Wye. All that is left of the previous settlement, that may have included a leper colony, is the ruined 11th century church of St James. Today most of the area is a nature reserve.
The walk is well worthwhile as the views are great. The route down from Wintours Leap to Lancaut is well define and easy to follow but it is overgrown in places and there is one section where a rock fall has to be crossed; its quite safe although care is required and my dog didn’t like it.
The Forest of Dean and Wye Valley Tour Guides organises guided walks for groups thoughout the area.