To see the countryside’s autumnal colours try the walk from Crickhowell up to the summit of Table Mountain. The historic streets lead to wooded paths which open onto the hillside and amazing views of the Usk valley. In Abergavenny, the wooded St. Mary’s Vale offers a beautiful route to the top of the Sugarloaf mountain (officially called ‘Pen y Fal’ and not to be confused with the highest peak in the Brecon Beacons, ‘Pen y Fan’.)
Wales is jam-packed with historic sites and autumn can be a great time to explore them, after the summer crowds have left. Magnificent Raglan Castle and sumptuous Tretower Court and Castle (both a short drive from the canal) were lived in by Welsh gentry, Abergavenny Castle houses the town’s museum and Gaer Roman Fort at Brecon offers super views of the surrounding countryside.
Markets & food festivals
At harvest time, what’s better than going in search of some delicious local food and artisan products? Farmers’ Markets take place across the region. The closest ones to the canal are in Llangynidr (last Sunday of each month), Brecon (second Saturday of each month) and Abergavenny (fourth Thursday of each month). A little further afield is Monmouthshire Food Festival held in the grounds of Caldicot Castle on 8-9 October and Hay-on-Wye Food Festival on 26 November.
You won’t need to go far along the canal towpath to find ducks, rabbits, squirrels. Listen out for birds in the trees; you may even see a heron looking for fish in the canal. Children love hunting for creepy crawlies in the autumn leaves, spotting sheep, cows and horses in neighbouring farmers’ fields and jumping in the occasional puddle. If you’re visiting the canal for the day, here are some of the best places to access the canal:
Brecon, where there’s a large car park, and it’s a lovely stroll down to Brynich lock
Talybont-on-Usk, with on-street parking, three pubs and a café and great towpath walks
Llangynidr, car park opposite the village hall just east of the village, after a walk up to the five locks call into the excellent pub or the recently-opened café
Goytre Wharf – large car park, café, interpretation panels explaining the history of this large wharf
Hire a luxury electric boat or a Canadian canoe for a cruise along the Monmouthshire and Brecon Canal. Make the most of it now when the autumnal colours are at their best. It’s your last chance before the boats are stored away for the winter (open until 30 October). Best to book in advance by calling 0800 612 2890.