you plan to walk the local lanes to take in the scenery, you might
like to trace the routes Arthur Machen suggested his friend John
Gawsworth (real name Terence Ian Fytton Armstrong) should take:-
... Now as to your tour in Monmouthshire. The
best train for Newport leaves Paddington about ten to nine a.m.
arriving at 11.30 or thereabouts. Three miles away (train or bus)
is Caerleon. Four miles from Caerleon is Llanthewy Vach Rectory:
no bus. But unless I know how long you propose to stay, and whether
you intend to hire a car, it is difficult to guide you about the
country. However, we will suppose that you put up at the Hanbury
Arms, Caerleon, and have no car.
You first of all go to the Vicarage,
and inspect the Register for March 1863: name Arthur Llewelyn
Jones1. I do not know anything about registers:
the particulars may include the name of the house where I was
born2: if so you will be able to find it - unless pulled
down. This done; set out to walk to Llanthewy; passing through
Ponthir and keeping to the right. You will climb up and up, and
the top of the hill is Common Cefn Llwyn. There is no common:
somewhere to the left is imagined to be the Roman Fort in The
Hill of Dreams.
Down the hill to the level where I used to await the postman with
up again: Llanthewy Church to the right, grave of my father and
mother in the churchyard - approach by lane. Back to main road,
up hill: Llanthewy Rectory on right. You return to Caerleon. The
head of the Faun was in the hall of what is now the doctor's
house. Hardby is the Roman amphitheatre but this is now excavated;
in my time it was all green.
Next day: go over Caerleon
bridge, and passing through Caerleon-ultra-Pontem, take the old
Usk road. Kemeys (A
Fragment of Life)....
on right. Newbridge (5 miles from Caerleon). Turn up to right,
and pass Bertholly (1st Chapter Great
... summer residence of Professor Gregg), and if you will get
into Wentwood, and if you go to the top, I think you will see
the Grey Hills where the Professor was taken by the fairies. But
these you should look out for in the train, after you have come
out of Severn Tunnel on the right ....
N.B. Returning from Llanthewy (1st day), ask at Common Cefn Llwyn
for the lane to Llanfrechfa (f
the ruin was on the left; and if you like to go on, you will come
out of the 'turnpike' road, and can get to Caerleon that
3rd day. Take train from Caerleon to Llantarnam,
and there ask the way to Twyn Barlwm: 3 or 4 miles, but a steep
climb at the end. Mynydd Maen (pronounced Munnith Mayne) is of
the same range, to the north. When you get back to Caerleon, ask
for Pont Sadwrn (Pons Saturni) and you will see the Soar Brook
fall into the Usk.
4th day. Take train from Caerleon to Abergavenny
and returning, get out, if you will, at Pontypool Road Station.
You can wait for the next train, or walk back to Caerleon