Client: Monmouthshire County Council (MCC)
Type of works: supplied a seven-foot high feature stone.
Forest Pennant, a natural stone specialist based in the Forest of Dean, Gloucestershire, has supplied Monmouthshire County Council (MCC) with a seven-foot high feature stone to mark the beginning and end of the new, highly-anticipated 850 mile Wales Coast Path. Starting near the Old Town Bridge in Chepstow, the continuous path runs along the coast to Queensferry in North Wales.
Over the last four years, with funding from the Welsh Governments Coastal Access Improvement Programme administered by the Countryside Council for Wales, Monmouthshire County Council has been making improvements to rights of way near the coast.
Explaining why Royal Forest Pennant sandstone was specified, Helen Howlett, coastal access improvement officer, MCC, said: We wanted a local material that would not only stand the test of time but also the Welsh weather. This natural sandstone is ideal. Forest Pennant is just 12 miles away from Chepstow. Its a beautiful blue grey colour that changes when it gets wet and seems to represent the interplay of land and water alongside the Wales Coast Path. Its timeless quality brings historical associations into the present day. Not only is it the geological feature associated with South Wales coal measures but its name comes from the Pennant family which originated in Flintshire.
The original piece of stone, selected by Helen following a visit to the companys quarry in Barnhill, was sawn in half lengthways to create two mirror imaged markers for either end of the path in South & North Wales. Walkers completing the whole stretch of the Wales Coast Path can touch both halves of the stone, giving them added significance and creating a sense of romance. The Forest Pennant masonry team have carved the official coast path logo into the sawn face of both pieces.
Additional markers will also be positioned along the 850-mile stretch to highlight areas of interest, views and notable facts.
Monday 19th September saw the official opening of the Chepstow to Blackrock section of the coastal path by Welsh Government Minister, John Griffiths AM, in Riverside Park, near the Old Town Bridge, Chepstow. This five and half mile stretch leaves the historic town to meet the Severn Estuary where the path then follows the sea defence wall to the Monmouthshire County Council picnic site. Following the ceremony, visitors were invited on a guided walk from Chepstow to the Blackrock picnic site.