Walking through the wild in Wales
Meandering through the Brecon Beacons National Park in the heart of the Welsh countryside, the Monmouthshire & Brecon Canal is one of our most charming and peaceful waterways. Affectionately known as the Mon & Brec, the canal is steeped in history and surrounded with natural beauty, boasting some of the most spectacular walking trails anywhere on the network.
With many holiday destinations abroad still difficult to reach, the Mon & Brec is a perfect ‘staycation’. Here, we take you on a tour of some of the wonderful, scenic walks to be found on the banks of this timeless canal.
Starting in the south at Pontymoile Basin, we take a bracing three-mile walk to Five Locks Basin. Along the green, tree-lined towpath, you’ll enjoy breathtaking scenery and some truly historic sights. A mile or so in, there’s time to quench your thirst at the Open Hearth Pub, a popular haunt for railway workers back in the 1800s. A little further on, the Crown Bridge and Solomon’s Bridge come into view. Two stunning examples of the stone-arched railway bridges that line this well-trodden route. The journey concludes with a heart-pumping incline to Five Locks Basin.
Our next trail takes us from Goytre Wharf, near Abergavenny, to the gateway of the Brecon Beacons National Park. Beginning with the historic lime kilns at Goytre Wharf, this two-mile trek along the Mon & Brec takes in some of the canal’s most memorable landmarks. You’ll see plenty of reminders of the canal’s industrial past, with bridges, stone steps and markers. There’s plenty here for nature lovers too, with stunning views, bustling wildlife and sun-dappled waters.
Next, we take an invigorating five-mile round trip through the Usk Valley, near Powys. This one’s not for the faint-hearted, with stiles to clamber over, some steps to climb and one or two shallow streams to cross. But the pay-off is more than worth it. You’ll be treated to amazing views of the Usk Valley, the Black Mountain Range and the glittering waters of the Talybont Reservoir. The return leg is slightly more sedate, following a quiet country road to Talybont village, before re-joining the Mon & Brec for a leisurely stroll along the towpath.
Our final trail takes us deep into the Brecon Beacons National Park. Beginning at Brecon Basin, this two-mile trek is brimming with history. At the half-mile mark, you’ll see Watton Bridge, a unique double-arch stone bridge, and a little further along the trail there’s the Hay Tramway and lime kilns to enjoy. This is an area full of natural beauty and there are plenty of stops along the way to enjoy the magnificent views of the Brecon Beacons National Park. As you reach the journey’s end, walkers are met by the awesome sight of the Brynich Aqueduct, a nineteenth-century engineering marvel, spanning the River Usk.
Wellbeing by water
Like many destinations on our wonderful canal network, the Monmouthshire & Brecon Canal is an ideal spot to get close to nature, absorb spectacular sights and sounds, and improve your sense of wellbeing by water. There’s no better way to relax, recharge and lift your spirits.
Last date edited: 15 September 2021
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