BRECON AND RETURN FROM GOYTRE THROUGH THE BRECON BEACONS
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Cruise through the spectacular Brecon Beacons in the National park, follow the River Usk & its pretty valley as the canal clings to the hillside in this mountainous region. Brecon Beacons is a National Park of over 519 square miles of mountain and hill country, and virtually all the canal is in the Park, a rich diversity of wildlife and walks.
There is a restaurant and bar in the marina.
Read our cruising notes to help you plan your canal boat holidayRead our cruising notes.
Going north from the marina the canal twists and turns through the beautiful Welsh countryside but does not pass any civilisation until the small village of Llanover on your left. The canal clings to the side of the hills, with small aqueducts taking the mountainside streams down to the valley below you. To the west the hills are very steep, rising to over 1800 ft, at times almost vertically away from the canal. The village of Llanellen is to the east from Bridge 92, there is a PO & stores here.
There are traces on the hills of the old 19th century tramways that used to carry the coal down from the hills, and as you approach Llanfoist look out for the old tramway by the Boat house. The old wharf buildings were originally built for the tramway, there is a lovely walk along the old tramway into the mountains.
You can moor up in Llanfoist for the 1st night, close to the Boatyard bridge if possible.
It is 2.25 hours cruising from Goytre marina.
There is an Indian restaurant in Llanfoist – Exotic East tel 01873 850509, or you can walk across the boatyard bridge into Abergavenny, about a mile away.
Abergavenny is a picturesque town situated in the South Eastern corner of Wales, only 20 miles from the English border. It lies beside the fast flowing River Usk & is steeped in history and enjoys an enviable position bathing in the beauty of the Brecon Beacons national park- Sugar Loaf, Blorenge & the Skirrids overlook the town. The museum & castle are in Castle street, the mound of the castle dominates the town. It was built in the 11th century and now houses the museum which tells the story of the town from prehistoric to modern times.
In addition to High Street stores there are loads of local shops selling a huge range of individual gifts as well as local arts &crafts. Plus, Abergavenny is still very much a market town with a recently refurbished market hall hosting Antiques & Collectors Fairs, Local Produce Markets and more.
With a wide variety of pubs, take-aways & restaurants in Abergavenny there is bound to be an establishment to cater for your your culinary tastes.
Still heading north you start off towards Govilion, which cannot really be seen from the canal, but steps by the aqueduct lead down to it. There is a PO & stores here & the Bridgend Inn is below the aqueduct. Tel 01873-830177. There is also the Lion Inn in the village tel 01873 830404.
Gilwern is soon reached – the canal turns sharply before the Wharf. There is a useful well stocked gift shop at bridge 103, and a PO & stores in the village, pubs are the Bridgend Inn & Navigation Inn canalside at bridge 103 or Beaufort Arms just down the hill from the bridge.
The approach to Llangattock is through flatter country, the village is best approached from bridges 114/115, Llangattock wharf is a busy mooring site, and there are a range of old limekilns by the stone wharf buildings. There is a pub called the Horseshoe Inn to the east of bridge 116.
Through the village of Llangattock, about a mile from the canal, is the lovely town of Crickhowell. To the south the town is bounded by the River Usk which has a 16th century 13 arch bridge across it , to the north are the Black Mountains, the eastern range of the Brecon Beacons national park, this area is a good base for exploring the Brecon Beacons. There are opportunities for caving in the surrounding hills, and easy or strenuous walking, also horses can be hired from Golden castle Riding stables in Llangattock.
There are 2 challenging mountain bike trails starting from Crickhowell, and bikes can be hired locally. There are a variety of shops & pubs in the town. The Bridgend Inn Tel 01873 810338 is well worth a visit, and the Bear Hotel has won many awards for its excellent food tel 01873 810408.
It is 3 hours cruising from Llanfoist wharf to here.
The canal continues its north westerly route along the River Usk valley and you can moor up near bridge 129 which is the best access point for Llangyndir. The Red Lion pub is in the village.
The Llangynidr flight of 5 starts just after bridge 132. By bridge 131 there is a useful shop.
The locks mark the beginning of the short climb to Brecon, and thick woods surround the final three, the locks should always be left empty with the bottom gates open when you have gone through them. There is a pleasant picnic area in the shade of the woodland.
Canalside at bridge 133 is the Coach & Horses, an attractive pub in the small hamlet of Cwmcrawnon, tel 01874-730245.
Just before Talybont on Usk there is a short tunnel of 375 yards, you can moor near the bridges, there are 3 pubs in the village and a Po & stores at bridge 144. Talybont is a quiet holiday centre with facilities for fishing, pony trekking, mountain biking and hill walking, details of which can be obtained from the Talybont Venture centre in the village. The large wharf overlooks the village, which is clustered around the Caerfanell aqueduct.
It is 7.5 hours to here from Llanfoist.
At the end of the village is an electronic lift bridge, instructions are clearly posted. There are 3 lift bridges on this section, which are sometimes fixed in the open position to stop livestock crossing, they should always be left as you find them.
The journey to Brecon takes you through the village on Pencelli where the mound of the old castle
dominates the village. There is a canalside pub by bridge 153 – the Royal oak.
The canal starts on a long horseshoe bend that carries it through flat wooded country before it crosses the Usk on the Brynich aqueduct. You can access the village of Llanfrynach by bridge 158
the White Swan is a 300 year old pub in the village. In 1775 mosaics & a villa bathhouse were uncovered dating back to the 5th century, parts of which are on display in the national Museum of Wales in Cardiff.
North of bridge 163 is the Three Horseshoes pub. On the final mile into Brecon the canal is high on the hillside, with the River Usk below.
The entry into Brecon is attractive with many pretty houses & gardens flanking the canal.
The canal ends in the Theatre Basin, where you can moor, or turn your boat.
Brecon is a busy market town, with a fine 13th century cathedral. The Cathedral New heritage centre is in the beautiful cathedral close and houses n exhibition on cathedral life. Brecknock museum in Glamorgan street includes a large archaeology from pre-roman to medieval times. The South Wales Borderers museum is housed in the Barracks, and gives a history of the 2 famous regiments over 200 years.
In the Theatre basin overlooking the canal, is the Theatre Brycheiniog, which plays host to many touring productions.
It is 4 hours from Talybont to here.
After lunch it is time to head south back to the marina, perhaps stopping at Pencelli as an overnight stop which is 3 hours cruising from Brecon.
It is about 11.5 hours back to the marina, so you will need to head south for as far as you can today, perhaps stopping after Llanfoist and then giving yourself about an hours cruising on the last morning.
NB: This route has been provided as a guide only. Information may become inaccurate or out of date. You should always check with the marina that the route is possible within your time frame, current weather conditions and canal stoppages etc.
Maps and Guides
Sorry, we have no pub guide for this route currently.