TWO leading Gwent tourist attractions have been included in a list of the top Welsh sites by a leading travel guide publisher.
Blaenavon's World Heritage site and Tintern Abbey were included on Rough Guide’s itineraries for Wales published yesterday.
We say there could have been ten Gwent attractions. At least. So here are eight more sights in glorious Gwent.
1. Raglan Castle
Raglan Castle dates from between the 15th and early 17th-centuries and the imposing castle was fought over during the English Civil War. With its hexagonal keep Raglan Castle is one of Gwent's most dramatic, which explains why an episode of BBC's Merlin was filmed here.
2. Tredegar House
Tredegar House is one of the architectural wonders of Wales and one of the most significant late 17th-century houses in the whole of the British Isles. It also hosts Newport's weekly Park Run, so you could get some exercise while taking in the sights of its beautiful 90 acre park.
3. Transporter Bridge
A Grade I listed structure, Newport's spindly, 242-feet tall 'trannie' is one of only eight in use worldwide. The crossing over the Usk was designed this way as the river banks are low at the crossing point and a conventional bridge would need a very long approach to get enough height to let ships pass under.
4. Chepstow Castle
One of Gwent's oldest, Chepstow Castle was built from from around 1067. Its doors are among the oldest in Europe, stretching back 800 years. Your uPVC would struggle to get near that without at least disclouring.
5. Fourteen Locks
Fourteen Locks is a series of locks on the Crumlin arm of the Monmouthshire Canal at Rogerstone. Built in 1799 the flight of locks raises the water level by 160 feet in just 800 yards making it one of the steepest and most dramatic rises for a UK canal.
6. Newport Wetlands
This vast wildlife reserve south-east of Newport has been teeming with bird-life since its creation in 2000 to mitigate losses of wildlife habitat when the Cardiff Bay Barrage scheme was started. Feathered residents include lapwings, redshanks and oystercatchers with widgeon, shovelers, teal and shelduck among the visitors. And if you want bitterns, hen harriers and short-eared owls, they've got them too.
7. Caerleon Roman amphitheatre
The impressive remains of Caerleon's Roman amphitheatre are the most complete in Britain. The town is the site of the Roman legionary fortress, Isca Augusta and the amphitheatre was started in AD 90 outside the fortress walls. If you wanted to see gladiators sizing up to eachother or large, fierce animals - this was the place to do it.
8. Abergavenny Food Festival
Founded in 1999, Abergavenny's annual festival is described as being to food "what Cannes is to film". Attracting up to 35,000 people over a weekend every September, it has grown to be one of Wales' premier tourist attractions, boasting names like Keith Floyd, Matt Tebbutt, Antonio Carluccio, Anthony Bourdain, Clarissa Dickson Wright and Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall. If you want food and foodies - they're here.
Here's what they said about the two Gwent attractions they did include:
9. Blaenavon Industrial World Heritage Centre
Blaenavon was included because of the “the evocative ruins of the Ironworks” and Big Pit, while Tintern Abbey was described as a “wonderful roofless ruin... by the placid River Wye”. Blaenavon Industrial World Heritage Centre was awarded UNESCO World Heritage status in 2000.
A spokeswoman for the Blaenavon Industrial World Heritage Centre centre said: “It is fantastic to be recognised. We have worked for 13 years establishing the destination. It is an acknowledgement of what we have done over those years.”
It has been visited by about 250,000 people since it first opened.
10. Tintern Abbey
Tintern Abbey, maintained by Cadw, was the second Cistercian foundation in Britain. It has inspired the poems Lines Written a Few Miles above Tintern Abbey by William Wordsworth and Allen Ginsberg’s Wales Visitation.
A Rough Guides spokesman said writers are sent in teams to a particular part of the world and visit tourist attractions. They then decide whichever attractions are placed on their lists.