Above the entrance to the valley from the low end where the River Honduu empties into the Wye . The road becomes increasingly narrow as one progresses up into the valley.
The “Vale of Ewyas” as it is called did indeed seem secretive and remote when we first went there in the early seventies. Now it is not so secret with many more visitors, especially in the summer and on weekends. I don’t blame them, the area is beautiful walking country with airy views on top of rounded glacial hills over a patchwork quilt landscape below.
In the 12th century this area was all deeply wooded and very remote. Around the year 1100 Norman nobleman Walter de Lacy came upon a ruined chapel to St. David (the patron Saint of Wales) in this location and was inspired to devote himself to solitary prayer and study. It became one of the great buildings of Wales until marauding Welshmen forced the retreat of the monks to safer nearby Gloucester. The monastery fell into ruin after the “dissolution” by Henry the Eighth and sat that way for many centuries but now an inn is flourishing within the remains of what was once the tower and cellars.
From the inn pathways lead up the hills.
Above in 1986 in almost exactly the same spot.
Above– In 1977 the dog from the Priory followed us up the path to the top.
The views from the edge over into England and the border country are spectacular.
In 1971 Alan Ginsberg came and wrote a poem called Wales Visitation.
Above the view from Gospel Pass coming into the valley from the top via Hay On Wye.
Above-A view over Golden Valley
Below an aerial view of the old priory
Speaking of poets. We visited our own hermit, poet and friend Chris Torrance who has lived remotely and quietly since the early seventies in this cottage in Wales.
He writes at length about his life, local myths and history as well as world mythology in general from his chair surrounded by books strong beer and a radio.
Below- He lives beside The Glen of Mercury– an apt place for this man of words.
Church of St Mary and St David at Kilpeck
Photo Courtesy Philip Halling Wikipedia
Above from the church door toward the village.
Below the extraordinary front door.