Hardeep Singh Kohli encounters the live issues of identity, language, and a turbulent past, as he journeys down the wiggly border between Wales and England.
Hardeep Singh Kohli begins the second half of his journey at the site of a famous battle where Welsh forces routed the attacking English sent by Henry IV. This was the Battle of Pilleth, a battle recorded in Shakespeare’s Henry IV part I. The castle at Hay-on-Wye, straddling the Border, also saw combat, but is now home to the largest second-hand bookshop in Europe. Its international book festival attracts the literary glitterati, as well as BBC Radio 4.
From Hay the gentle Border landscape heads into the Black Mountains and the Brecon Beacons. Here Hardeep comes across the Offa’s Dyke Path, a 177 mile long trail that links the remaining chunks of Offa’s Dyke and winds its way down the whole length of Wales. If Hardeep were fitter he might have attempted it, but the next stop on his journey offered a visit to one of the vineyards in Monmouthshire, a date which was slightly more attractive.
David Davies is MP for Monmouth and hears at first hand some of the problems of today’s Border people. Separate Health and Education policies can be confusing, and the coming referendum may make separation more evident.
There is one area though that has offered beauty and inspiration since the 18th century - the Forest of Dean and the Wye Valley. Poets like Wordsworth and Coleridge, and writers like Tolkien and JK Rowling were captivated by forest, woodland and river, now designated as an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty. Hardeep makes a final nod to the Norman conquistadors at Chepstow Castle, before succeeding in walking the final half mile of the Offa’s Dyke Path. He ends his journey at the mouth of the Severn, reflecting on a Border which has seen the marks of history and is now heading towards a future in which more history will be made.
Hardeep Singh Kohli – presenter
Peter Hood – B&B owner
Richard Booth – self-proclaimed King of Hay on Wye
Diana Jones – Hay on Wye Information Office
Jim Saunders – Writer & photographer
Joy & Richard Morris – Ancre Hill Vineyard
David Davis MP – MP for Monmouth (Conservative)
Kate Biggs – Wye Valley Conservation
Rick Turner – Inspector, CADU