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Monmouthshire Brecon Canal

Five of our favourite short walks around Abergavenny

Autumn is a beautiful time of year to be outdoors and there are numerous benefits to walking. Physical activity can help boost your mood, reduce stress, improve sleep, and sharpen your focus — benefits that can be especially important during these stressful times. To help you with this, here are five of our favourite short walks around Abergavenny, the gateway to the Brecon Beacons. Five great ways to explore the local area and enjoy Monmouthshire’s fresh air and wide open spaces, to boost serotonin levels and ward off any autumn or winter blues. These walks are guaranteed to lift your spirits.

This is the first in a series of blogs about local autumn walks in Monmouthshire. The descriptions include tips from our knowledgeable countryside colleagues on the types of wildlife to look out for on each walk. We've also included the Welsh names of the species in brackets because they're so lovely.

Swan Meadows and the river Gavenny

2.7 mile walk following the River Gavenny up and downstream, starting and finishing at Abergavenny Bus Station. The stone circle at Swan Meadows may look prehistoric but dates from 1912. It was erected for Gorsedd of Bards ceremonies relating to the National Eisteddfod held at Bailey Park in August 1913. The woodland path on the east bank opposite Swan meadows is a great place to see and hear woodland birds. Look out for Dipper (Bronwen y Dwr) on the river. Dippers are rounded, short-tailed, wren-like birds almost thrush-sized, recognisable by their large white bib against an otherwise dark plumage.

Abergavenny to Little Skirrid – one of the seven hills overlooking Abergavenny

A 3.4 mile walk from Abergavenny to the top of the Little Skirrid (Skirrid Fach). This route crosses the A465 behind Abergavenny railway station and continues on to the wooded slopes of the Little Skirrid. Look out for Red Kite (Barcud), Hobby (Hebog yr Ehedydd), Hawfinch (Gylfinbraff) & Cuckoo (Cog) on the upland section. In terms of flora, species to look out for include Moschatel (Mwsglys), Wood Anemone (Blodyn y Gwynt), Spindle (Piswydden), Bluebell (Clychau'r Gog) and Yellow Pimpernel (Gwlyddyn Melyn Mair).

A steep path delivers you to the cleared summit for breathtaking views over Abergavenny and the surrounding hills. Forestry tracks take you down the back of the hill and you return through fields skirting the hill.

Castle Meadows and Linda Vista Gardens

A 1.6 mile walk around Castle Meadows and Linda Vista Gardens. Castle Meadows is a large area of floodplain next to the River Usk in the centre of Abergavenny, easily accessible from the town centre with bordering trees, small copses, streams and ponds. Beautiful views of the River Usk, the Blorenge and of Abergavenny Castle and town. The meadows are managed traditionally, being left to grow through spring and early summer, before a hay crop is taken. Through the second half of the year cattle graze the meadows.

Look out for birds such as Kingfisher (Glas y Dorlan), Dipper (Bronwen y Dwr) and Cuckoo (Cog) and mammals including, hedgehog (Draenog), Otter (Dyfrgi) and  numerous foraging bats (ystlum)!

Llanfoist Canal East Walk - Dog Friendly Walk

A 1.6 mile walk for two legs and four along the Monmouthshire & Brecon canal and return by path and minor road. A moderate walk with one steep flight of steps to reach the canal. There are good views north across Abergavenny and the surrounding hills. One point of interest is Llanfoist Wharf which was built to transfer pig iron arriving on the tramway from Blorenge onto the canal for shipment to Newport Docks and thence around the world. Now holiday canalboats ply the waters in this area.

Look out for Kingfisher (Glas y Dorlan) and Dipper (Bronwen y Dwr) along the canal.

Llanover and Out!

A 7.8 mile walk around the village of Llanover. The route heads through fields to Llanover Church, then crosses Llanover Park where the tree-lined drive leads you out to the village. From here you head up into the foothills of the Brecon Beacons and Upper Llanover. Look out for Hen Harrier (Boda Tinwyn), Peregrine Falcon (Hebog Tramor) and Firecrest (Dryw Penfflamgoch) on the upland section. On reaching the Goose and Cuckoo public house on the Blaenavon mountain road the path crosses the valley and descends by some delightful hidden woods and streams to the Monmouthshire & Brecon Canal.

Local cafes and tearooms

Enjoy a cup of tea and a hard-earned slice of cake at one of our local cafes and tearooms.

Penelope's Cafe at Goytre Wharf

Penelope's cafe sits alongside the Monmouthshire & Brecon canal in the heart of Goytre Wharf. We offer Barista style coffee, cakes, hot and cold snacks and ice cream.

Afternoon Tea at the Angel

The Angel Hotel is a member of the prestigious UK Tea Guild having previously held an ‘Award of Excellence’ since 2008. Only nine hotels outside of London have achieved this.

Kitchen at the Chapel

We serve everyday, simple and delicious food.

Hummingbird Coffee Shop

A contemporary and stylish coffee and gift shop with a tutoring service. Hummingbird is located on the Llanover country estate, within the heart of the beautiful Usk Valley.

Fig Tree Espresso

Fig Tree Espresso is an independant coffee shop run two young people with a passion for delivering high quality coffee using beans that have been roasted locally.

Welsh Dragon