The Canal Side
The Monmouthshire and Brecon Canal
The Monmouthshire and Brecon Canal is a small network of canals in South Wales. For most of its 35-mile (56 km) length it runs through the Brecon Beacons National Park, and its present rural character and tranquillity belies its original purpose as an industrial corridor for coal and iron, which were brought to the canal by a network of tramways and/or railroads, many of which were built and owned by the canal company.
The “Mon and Brec” was originally two independent canals – the Monmouthshire Canal from Newport to Pontymoile Basin (including the Crumlin Arm) and the Brecknock and Abergavenny Canal running from Pontymoile to Brecon. Both canals were abandoned in 1962, but the Brecknock and Abergavenny route and a small section of the Monmouthshire route have been reopened since 1970. Much of the rest of the original Monmouthshire Canal is the subject of a restoration plan, which includes the construction of a new marina at the Newport end of the canal.
The Llangollen Canal
The dizzying Pontcysyllte Aqueduct, which carries the canal over the River Dee, is a must-see. This remarkable feat of canal engineering is 125 feet high, and the canal is unprotected on one side, giving the impression of a sheer drop from a narrowboat. The structure is deservedly a World Heritage Site. Elsewhere, the rural
Llangollen Canal is also popular with walkers, particularly at beauty spots such as Horseshoe Falls and Blake Mere. Following the canal to the Llangollen end will take you into the rolling foothills of Snowdonia.