The Wye Valley, along with the rest of Monmouthshire, was finally recognized as part of Wales in the local government reorganization of 1974. Before then, the county was officially included as part of neither England nor Wales, so that maps were frequently headlined “Wales and Monmouthshire”. Most of the rest of Monmouthshire is undoubtedly Welsh, but the woodlands and hills by the meandering River Wye have more in common with the landscape over the border. The two main centres are Chepstow, with its massive castle, and the spruce, old-fashioned town of Monmouth, sixteen miles upstream. Six miles north of Chepstow lie the atmospheric ruins of the Cistercian Tintern Abbey.

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