Day 6 Bristol to The Forest of Dean

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Another half day, fortunately as it turns out, after an appalling night’s sleep at the YHA.

(For those of you who aren’t acquainted with it, the Youth Hostelling Association is a fantastic organisation, with a fine selection of cheap accommodation right across the country, often in amazing locations. It caters to all age groups now, and is a great way to see the country on the cheap, as long as you don’t mind things a bit rough and ready. However, while you can often book a twin room, you sometimes can’t, and that means you’re in a dorm room.

These generally have two bunk beds in each room, mainly built out of wood, seemingly with the express purpose of making as much noise as possible whenever either occupant moves even slightly.

On top of that, you have no idea with whom you might be sharing your room.

We were in with a farter and a snorer. So it was a noisy, smelly, largely sleepless night.)

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Anyway, we made our way out of Bristol on the National Cycle Network Route 4, which took us along deserted paths on the industrial outskirts of Bristol, to fetch up between the two Severn Bridges.

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We took the older one across the estuary, and it was great to be that close to such a huge piece of engineering. The wind was roaring across the bridge, and you could feel the vibrations on the deck (is that what it’s called?) and hear the wind whistling through the cables. A brilliantly visceral experience, in a way that driving across a bridge rarely is.

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And suddenly we were in Wales. And not just in Wales – but heading up the stunning Wye Valley.

The descent down to Tintern was a perfect bit of road – just the right angle to get a bit of speed up, but with long flowing corners, and a clean, even surface, and hardly any cars. And right at the end of it, the stunning remains of Tintern Abbey.

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Lush, as the locals might say.

From Tintern we carried on to the Forest of Dean where we’re camping for the night. The threatened rain even held off until just as we arrived at the campsite.

A great day.

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