The Monmouthshire and Brecon Canal
The first section of the “Mon and Brec”, as it is often called, was first opened in 1797 and the canal was finally linked through to Newport in 1812. It carried coal, limestone and iron ore to the great iron works in the valley towns and in its heyday it was a hive of activity. Now where there was noise and industry there is a quiet, beautiful canal for you to enjoy.
Our base at Llangynidr is alongside the B4558, easily accessible from the A40 or via the B4560 from the Heads of the Valleys road (A465).
The views from the canal as you cruise along the sides of the hills are breathtaking. You will soon relax into a lifestyle that cannot be hurried, 3 m.p.h. is about as fast as you can go. You will have time to admire the scenery and watch the wildlife that does not seem to be frightened by the approaching boat.
Operating the locks and lift bridges provides an insight into the old world of the canals. How thousands of tons of materials were conveyed many hundreds of feet up and down the hills. The 375 yard Ashford Tunnel and the aqueduct at Brynich are remarkable engineering features and are excitingly easy to navigate.
We provide you with an excellent guide book containing a detailed map of the canal with excellent descriptions of the locality showing you where to find shops, pubs, post offices, etc., also describing walks and places of interest in the locality. There's more about the canal on the Monmouthshire, Brecon and Abergavenny Canals Trust website.
The rural towns and villages along the way contain castles, museums, churches and many interesting buildings, part of the colourful history of the canal. Wonderful walks abound along the length of the canal with many country pubs and restaurants offering good food and drink and excellent hospitality. Our base is ideally placed for a short break travelling to the market town of Brecon, along the way you will navigate the locks, the Ashford Tunnel and a small aqueduct.
Llangynidr to Brecon - North (Up)
This trip takes in 4 locks, the Ashford tunnel and the Aqueduct.
Travelling slightly over 10 miles from Llangynidr to Brecon takes about 7 hours, taking into account the tunnel and the locks, depending on how long you wish to travel per day the trip to Brecon and back can be travelled easily in 2-2½ days or leisurely, with stops, in 3 days. There are pubs and a couple of small village shops within easy walking distance of the canal but do come fairly well stocked for at least 2 days. You should reach Brecon the day after you start or, if you are really taking your time, the next day.
Llangynidr to Five Locks - South (Down)
Only 2 locks and lots of leisurely cruising.
Cruising the 25.54 miles to Five Locks takes approximately 14 hours and travelling to Five Locks and back trip can be completed easily in 4½ to 5 days, or 6 days allowing for plenty of stops along the way. There are three small market towns on the way (although these each involve a 20 – 30 minute walk) there are small village shops but again, stock up for at least a few days if not longer as some of the shops do have a limited range of items.
The canal is never crowded, being isolated from the main system. Even in peak season you can travel for hours without seeing another boat. You can choose to moor up out in the country, miles from anywhere or somewhere near a pub or restaurant. You will be able to stop and enjoy the scenery without worrying about rushing to get back to base.