Monmouthshire and Brecon Canal
Follow the Monmouthshire and Brecon Canal from Brecon to Newport on this super waterside walking and cycling route. Walkers can enjoy the whole route along canal towpaths while cyclists can follow National Cycle Network routes 4, 47 and 49 from Newport to Pontypool. The cycle path is wide and well surfaced so it's a lovely, safe ride. The cycle section runs for about 12 miles.
The whole route runs from Brecon to Newport passing through the beautiful and dramatic scenery of the Brecon Beacons National Park. The first section runs from Brecon to Talybont-On-Usk via Pencelli. It's a 6.5 mile walk with views of the River Usk and the pretty Brynich Lock.
The canal continues to the delightful Llangynidr locks and then on to Crickhowell and Abergavenny. There's an opportunity here to visit Abergavenny Castle Meadows and Linda Vista Gardens with a small detour from the canal.
The next section runs from Abergavenny to Pontypool, passing the noteworthy Goytre Wharf, with its historic limekilns, boat hire, informative heritage centre and on site cafe.
The final section runs from Pontypool to Newport via Cwmbran. This section is open to cyclists. On the way you'll pass the noteworthy Fourteen Locks. The impressive flight of locks date from the 18th century and includes an excellent visitor centre with a wealth of information about the area. The route finishes shortly after in Newport near the castle.
Monmouthshire and Brecon Canal Ordnance Survey Map - view and print off detailed OS map
Monmouthshire and Brecon Canal Open Street Map - view and print off detailed map
Monmouthshire and Brecon Canal OS Map - Mobile GPS OS Map with Location tracking
Monmouthshire and Brecon Canal Open Street Map - Mobile GPS Map with Location tracking
The pretty village of Talybont-On-Usk is a nice place to stop for refreshments on the walk. The White Hart is an historic Coaching Inn which has welcomed travelers for over 300 years. Located near the canal it has an extensive menu and a nice outdoor seating area. The inn is dog friendly so you can bring your pooch. You can find the pub at postcode LD3 7JD for your sat navs.
The Usk Inn is another great option. The old pub was established in the 1840s at the time of the Brecon to Merthyr Railway. It has an enviable position on the edge of the village, opposite the former railway station and yard. There's a friendly welcome and a large garden area to relax in on warmer days. You can find the pub at postcode LD3 7JE.
In the Powys village of Llangynidr you could enjoy another pit stop at the Coach and Horses. This fine old coaching inn has an appealing interior with old beams, oak panelling and flagstone floors. Outside there's a peaceful garden overlooking the canal with stunning views over the local countryside. It's a great place to relax on a summer day after your exercise. You can find them on Cwm Crawnon Road with a postcode of NP8 1LS.
In Gilwern there's The Towpath Inn to consider. It's located in a fine spot, next to the canal so you can sit outside next to the water and watch the world go by. On Friday's they have Street Food pop ups where traders bring their exciting and varied menus with dishes from all over the world. You can also hire ebikes here to explore the area in comfort. The inn can be found at 49 Main Rd, NP7 0AU.
Further Information and Other Local Ideas
Near Cwmbran you will pass Pontypool Park where there's some nice footpaths to follow around the mature trees and open meadowland in the park. The main park starts at Pontymoile Gates near New Inn and Pontymoile Basin and has footpaths leading into the Brecon Beacons National Park. Other highlights include the Italian Gardens and the Nant-y-Gollen Ponds. It's makes for a nice little detour from the canal if you have time on your outing.
At Gilwern near Crickhowell the canal joins with the Clydach Gorge. This steep-sided valley is where the River Clydach flows to the River Usk. There's lovely river and woodland trails here with pretty waterfalls and lots of wildlife to see. Just head south west from the canal at Gilwern and you can explore the gorge.
For more walking ideas in the area see the Brecon Beacons Walks pages.