Canalathon, involving canoeing, cycling and running to cover the 35mile canal course, takes place every September.
Further south is Llangynidr, a village in Powys about nine miles south- east of Brecon, known for its scenic five locks, wildlife and picnic areas and, of course, its canal- side inn. The Green Man Festival takes place in the neighbouring Glan Usk Estate in August, an event that attracts visitors from all over Britain.
At Llangattock you can view the impressive lime kilns with the new picnic area on top offering views of the surrounding hills and mountains and look out for the gigantic redwood tree near bridge 113. Crickhowell is an enchanting market town nestling in the beautiful Usk Valley to the south of the Black Mountains, the eastern range of the Brecon Beacons National Park and is well worth a visit. A settlement has existed here since the Iron Age, when settlers built a fort on top of Crug Hywel also known as Table Mountain. The town has independent shops, historic inns, the remains of a Norman castle and what is reputed to be the longest stone bridge in Wales. In spring there is a Walking Festival and an Art Trail and in autumn a Literary Festival. Pony trekking is available at the nearby Riverside Riding Centre.
Located in the heart of the Brecon Beacons National Park, Govilon
is a small Welsh village situated between Llanfoist and Gilwern. Local activities include walking, cycling, riding, fishing, hang gliding, pony trekking, canoeing, climbing and caving. From the arduous to the sedate, all are within easy reach of Govilon.
Abergavenny is considered to be the gateway to Wales. Life began in this market town as a Roman fort, then the Normans added a castle. St. Mary’s Priory Church, formerly a Benedictine Priory and now over 1,000 years old, has been described as the Westminster Abbey of Wales. It attracts many visitors who come to view the historic monuments and medieval carvings. The town has a bustling high street, an internal market and independent shops. There is a Cycling Festival in July and a Food Festival in September that has grown in popularity. Goytre means “home in the wood” and has an impressive wharf and is a natural stopping point on your journey. The wharf has a heritage and activity centre, lime kilns, a cafe and a children’s play area. Once famous for its rugby front row, Pontypool offers a shopping centre, leisure centre with a swimming pool, a dry ski slope and a museum.
Many visitor attractions also exist on the unnavigable stretch of the canal. This currently runs from its terminus at Five Locks, Pontnewydd to Newport and from the Crumlin Arm down to the Fourteen Locks at Rogerstone. Tow paths are still well used by walkers and cyclists alike.
Wherever you travel on the canal there’s always plenty to see and do. Recently, actors Prunella Scales and Timothy West filmed their journey on the Monmouthshire and Brecon for the Channel 4 series Great Canal Journeys. It was meant to be a big secret, but news was soon out. At journey’s end, the canal basin next to Brecon’s Theatre Brycheiniog, they were greeted and serenaded by the Aberhonddu Male Voice Choir. Apparently, just before they departed that night, they let slip that the Monmouthshire and Brecon Canal was one of the most beautiful journeys they had ever undertaken. Who amongst us would want to disagree?
The landscape around the market town of Abergavenny.