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image for Canal item typeMonmouthshire and Brecon Canal


Monmouthshire/Abergavenny/Brecon Canal

Monmouthshire/Abergavenny/Brecon Canal


The Brecon and Monmouthshire Canal is one of the most scenic canal routes in Britain. It runs for 32 miles (51.5 km) through idyllic scenery in the National Park between Brecon and Pontypool. It then continues to Newport.

The canal was built between 1797 and 1812 to link Brecon with Newport and the Severn Estuary. Stone and processed lime from nearby quarries was transported by tramway to the canal and then by barge to Newport. At the time of the construction of the canal, roads were horrendously bad and transportation by water was the cheapest and most efficient way to move goods. From Newport the lime would be transported for sale in various markets often overseas. A major tram road link existed between the canal and the large limestone quarries at Trefil and Llangattock.

The Llangattock escarpment which dominates the skyline in the Crickhowell locality of the National Park is actually an extensive lime stone quarry which developed as a result of the construction of the canal. Today part of it is designated as a special site of scientific interest and it is the entrance to one of the most challenging cave networks in Britain. The iron works in the Clydach gorge transported its products along a tram road linked to the canal at Gilwern. In the village of Talybont on Usk the ruins of the disused lime kilns serve as a reminder of a time when the canal carried processed lime for household and agricultural use.

The canal had fallen into disuse by the 1930s but has been gradually restored by the British Waterways Board with support from the National Park and others since 1968. the canal was reopened to the public in 1970.

Today the canal is used for informal recreation including canoeing, fishing, walks along the towpath (a section of the Taf Trail follows the canal bank for walkers only), and for canal boat holidays. the full length of the canal towpath is a public footpath.

During its passage through the National Park it features six locks and several public houses are to be found adjacent to the canal enroute. there is a short tunnel through which the canal passes near Talybont on Usk and visitor may find it entertaining when in the vicinity of the tunnel to watch novice canal users negotiate their way through. Stone bridges crossing the canal and a common and attractive feature. There have also be few aqueducts one of the finest of which is located 8200 m down stream from the canal lock adjacent to the minor road B4558 at Cefn Brynich (SO 079274). There is an excellent view of this aqueduct from the road bridge at this point on the aforementioned minor road. The Monmouthshire and Brecon canal is a favourite location for the kingfisher to breed.

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Events at this Venue

date event
Sat 9 Sep Canalathon




Brecon - Newport,



Plan route to Monmouthshire and Brecon Canal using Google mapsPlan route using Google maps

Map reference: SO 046281  Lat: 51.94319 Long: -3.38928


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