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A TOUR

OF

SOUTH WALES AND MONMOUTHSHIRE

INTRODUCTION.

GENERAL OBSERVATIONS - À SKETCH OF WELCH HISTORY — ANCIENT BUILDINGS.

SECT. I.

IN making the Tour of South Wales and Monmouthshire, the Admirer of picturesque bcuuty dwells with peculiar pleasure on a tract of country comprising the greater part of Monmouthshire, and bordering the Severn and Bristol channel, to the western limits of Pembrokeshire. In this enchanting district, a succession of bold hills, clothed with wild forests, or ornamental plantations and delightful valleys, present themselves in constant va

riety:

B

riety: many fine estuaries and rivers, pice turesque towns, and princely ruins, also adorn the scene, whose charms are inconceivably heightened by the contiguity of the Bristol channel, which washes the coast ; in some places recoding into capacious bays; in others, advancing into rocky promontories of the most imposing grandeur.

The Statistical Enquirer finds equal subject of gratification, in the uncommon fertility of sereral valleys, and the woody treasures of numerous hills, bearing myriads of oaks, and other first-rate timber-trees. The mineral wealth of the country, and its convenient coast for traffic, are likewise subjects of higly consideration; and, while the statist applauds the late rapid strides of manufactures and commerce in this district, he may discover sources hitlerto latent for their increase.

The Historian cannot fail of being interested while treading on the ground where Britons made their latest and most vigorous efforts for independence, against successive invaders ; nor the Antiquary, while traversing a country replete with Monuments of the Druidical ages; military works of the Romans, Britons,

Saxons,

1

Šaxons, and Normans; and the venerable relies of numerous religious foundations.

Beyond this stripe of country, from ten to twenty miles in width, forming the southern extremity of Wales, and an intermixture of rich

scenery (particularly in the neighbourhood of Brecon), with prevailing dreariness on the eastern frontier, South-Wales exhibits a tedious extent of hills without majesty, valleys over-run with peat bogs, and unprofitable moors.

Beside the superb ruins of St. David's, the course of the Tivy near Cardigan, and the scenery about the Devil's Bridge, it has little to entice the attention of the tourist : the towns, for the most part, are miserably poor, and travelling accommodations very uncertain; the roads, too, are wretched beyond any thing that a mere English traveller ever witnessed. It is, therefore, a subject of no small gratification, that the chief beauties of South-Wales are found in a compact route ; abounding with good towns, respectable accommodations, and very fair roads. This part of the country may be explored in a close carriage, though the better mode of travelling is, certainly, on horseback. The pedestrian 'may claim peculiar

advantages

B 2

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