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Friday, 18 May 2012

A Romantic Ruin

I have passed Tintern Abbey many times while driving down the Wye Valley, but haven’t had a chance to explore this picturesque site until very recently. Tintern, of course, has its own story to tell: it was home to the Cistercian order during the twelfth century. It is also legendary for being one of the birthplaces of Romanticism. William Wordsworth, his sister Dorothy, Samuel Taylor Coleridge and Robert Southey all visited the ruins, which inspired one of Wordsworth's most famous poems.

But this beautiful, tranquil valley was also formerly home to thriving metal industries. There was an ironworks here as early as the sixteenth century, a wireworks, and later a railway. The clatter, smoke and din of industry have all long since gone, however. If you walk away from the main road and up along the valley, there is only birdsong to disturb the silence…

Images: Tintern Abbey, Tintern Abbey furnace.   © Sue Wilkes

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