Monmouthshire & Brecon Canal

The Monmouthshire & Brecon Canal is one of our most beautiful and peaceful waterways, a true hidden gem and a favorite with walkers, cyclists and nature-lovers. Yet we still have some way to go to restore this well-loved canal to its former glory.

Sneaking through the Brecon Beacons National Park for much of its length, the isolated Monmouthshire & Brecon Canal must rate as one of the prettiest to be found anywhere on the waterway system. The towpath is a wonderful way for walkers and cyclists to explore this stunning area at an easy pace. The northern section forms part of the Taff Trail Long Distance Footpath.

Find stoppages, restrictions and other navigational advice for this waterway.

Download Monmouthshire & Brecon Canal towpath guidance for cyclists

Days out

Take a boat trip, spot wildlife and explore the Taff Trail with a family day out to Brecon Basin, one of our hidden gems.

Download your free guide to Brecon Basin

Download your free guide for Mon & Brec

History of the Mon & Brec

What is nowadays popularly referred to as the Mon & Brec started life as two separate canals: the Brecknock & Abergavenny Canal, and the Monmouthshire Canal. The navigable section seen today is mostly the former. In the 1790s, the Monmouthshire Canal Company received its Act of Parliament at the same time that the Brecknock & Abergavenny was being planned. Following discussions, it was decided to link the two at Pontymoile.

The Monmouthshire Canal, including a branch from Malpas to Crumlin, was opened in 1799 with the Brecknock & Abergavenny extending from Brecon to Gilwern by 1800, finally reaching Pontymoile by 1812. Both canals were supported by horsedrawn tramroads that were mainly used to bring coal, limestone and iron ore from the hillsides. In 1880 the Monmouthshire & Brecon Canals, as they were then known, were taken over by the Great Western Railway. Within 35 years, commercial carrying had all but ceased.

The Mon & Brec under threat

Throughout the 20th century various parts of the Monmouthshire Canal and its Crumlin Arm were filled in for road construction. The line was all but obliterated through Cwmbran, and was effectively unnavigable further north. It’s fair to say that this beautiful part of our canal network came close to disappearing altogether. But vigorous campaigning by canal enthusiasts heralded a new dawn for the canal, and in 1968 restoration work from Brecon to Pontymoile began in earnest.

Restoration

Restoration was not without its setbacks. Following a major breach at Llanfoist in 1975, it was a further six years before the line from Brecon to Pontymoile was reopened. More recent developments have included a complete regeneration of the terminus at Brecon, and various works to reclaim the navigation between Pontymoile and Newport.

Part of the Crumlin Arm has also been restored, and the Fourteen Locks Canal Centre is open regularly.

The Mon & Brec today

This peaceful and almost entirely rural waterway is a must-see for nature-lovers. The Llangattock escarpment is designated as a Special Site Of Scientific Interest (SSSI), and is the entrance to an extensive cave network.

The canal passes through a World Heritage Site, which contains industrial landmarks such as the Big Pit Mining Museum. The Cefn Flight of fourteen locks has also been recognised as being of international significance, and is on Cadw's list of Scheduled Ancient Monuments.[18]

As the Mon & Brec is not currently accessible from any other waterway, most boaters cruise it on a hire-boat. There are several fleets based on the canal.

Camlas Mynwy ac Aberhonddu

Mae Camlas Mynwy ac Aberhonddu’n dod â phobl, natur a hanes ynghyd. Mae’r gamlas hon, sy’n llifo drwy ardal ogoneddus Parc Cenedlaethol Bannau Brycheiniog, yn denu pawb sy’n caru byd natur. Mae hefyd yn arwydd o dreftadaeth ddiwylliannol yr ardal wrth iddi groesi Safle Treftadaeth y Byd Blaenafon.

Mae bryniau gwyrdd serth, coetiroedd trwchus a gweunydd gwyllt i gyd yn rhan o’r olygfa. Yma ac acw, fe welwch chi’r gamlas fry yn y bryniau uwchlaw Afon Wysg.

Mae’r llwybr tynnu’n ffordd wych i gerddwyr a beicwyr grwydro’r ardal yn hamddenol. Mae’r rhan ogleddol yn rhan o lwybr Taith Taf.

Nid yw’r gamlas wedi’i chysylltu â gweddill y rhwydwaith dyfrffyrdd, ond mae’n dal i fod yn hynod boblogaidd ymhlith pobl sy’n llogi cychod. Mae gan nifer o gwmnïau gwyliau gychod ar y gamlas. Does dim llawer o lociau ar y gamlas, sy’n ei gwneud hi’n llwybr hwylus i ddechreuwyr. Mae’r gamlas yn dawel ac yn wledig ar y cyfan, ac eithrio pan ddaw i ben ei thaith yn nhref farchnad hanesyddol Aberhonddu.

Gydol 2012, bydd y gamlas a’r cymunedau cyfagos yn dathlu daucanmlwyddiant cwblhau’r gamlas gyda chyfres o ddigwyddiadau a gweithgareddau.

Hanes Camlas Mynwy ac Aberhonddu

Gan fod rhan fawr o Gamlas Mynwy ac Aberhonddu yn llifo drwy Barc Cenedlaethol Bannau Brycheiniog, dyma un o’r camlesi prydferthaf ar y system ddyfrffyrdd. Mae’n dilyn dyffryn yr Afon Wysg yn agos, sydd hefyd yn cyflenwi d?r i’r gamlas, ac yn cwrdd â rhannau diffaith hen Gamlas Mynwy ym Mhont-y-moel.

Dechreuodd Camlas Mynwy ac Aberhonddu fel dwy gamlas wahanol: Camlas Brycheiniog a’r Fenni, a Chamlas Mynwy. Mae’r rhan y gellir teithio arni heddiw yn cynnwys rhannau o Gamlas Brycheiniog yn bennaf. Yn y 1790au, fe dderbyniodd Cwmni Camlas Mynwy ei Ddeddf Seneddol ar yr un pryd yr oedd Camlas Aberhonddu a’r Fenni yn cael ei chynllunio. Yn dilyn trafodaethau, penderfynwyd cysylltu’r ddwy ym Mhont-y-moel.

Agorwyd Camlas Mynwy, yn cynnwys cangen o Falpas i Grymlyn, ym 1799 gyda Chamlas Brycheiniog a’r Fenni yn ymestyn o Aberhonddu i Gilwern ym 1800, ac yn cyrraedd Llanfihangel Pont-y-moel erbyn 1812. Roedd y ddwy gamlas yn cael eu hategu gan dramffyrdd a ddefnyddiwyd yn bennaf i ddod â glo, calchfaen a mwyn haearn o’r bryniau.

Ym 1880 cafodd Camlesi Mynwy ac Aberhonddu, fel yr adnabyddir hwy bryd hynny, eu meddiannu gan Reilffordd Great Western – cwmni oedd ag enw da am ei reilffyrdd ond nad oedd wedi arfer ariannu camlesi. O fewn 35 mlynedd, roedd cludo masnachol wedi dod i ben mwy neu lai.

Gydol yr 20fed ganrif cafodd rhai rhannau o Gamlas Mynwy a Braich Crymlyn eu llenwi er mwyn adeiladu ffyrdd. Roedd y llwybr drwy Gwmbrân bron wedi’i ddileu yn llwyr, ac felly roedd hi’n amhosibl teithio ymhellach i’r gogledd. Ond wedi ymgyrchu mawr gan gefnogwyr y gamlas daeth cyfnod newydd i’r gamlas, ac ym 1968 dechreuwyd ar y gwaith adfer rhwng Aberhonddu a Phont-y-moel. Ond cafwyd problemau gyda’r gwaith adfer. Yn dilyn toriad mawr yng nglannau Llan-ffwyst ym 1975, fe gymerodd chwe blynedd arall cyn i’r llwybr rhwng Aberhonddu a Phont-y-moel ail agor. Mae datblygiadau mwy diweddar yn cynnwys adfer terfyn y gamlas yn Aberhonddu, a gwaith amrywiol er mwyn gallu teithio rhwng Llanfihangel Pont-y-moel a Chasnewydd.

 


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