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All things bright and beautiful in World Heritage Site

It’s not been the brightest of days recently. Nor the driest. But that hasn’t stopped us getting out for our walks. We’ve managed to dodge the worst of the showers, take a flask with us and always look forward to the wood-burner on our return.

Just a stone’s throw away from Llanfoist is the village of Govilon, which is well worth exploring on foot. Many super walks pass through this little village – you’ll find one in almost any guidebook about this area – not least because it has the canal and the old railway line running through it. Some well-described local trails can be found on the Govilon website; it’s not clear if this website is being updated now but the trail descriptions are still fine.

Interestingly, if you know the old hymn ‘All things bright and beautiful’ you may already have heard an accurate description of the stunning views of the Usk valley from Govilon. It is said that Mrs Cecil Francis Alexander was staying at the 16th-century Llanwenarth House (also known as Ty Mawr, Welsh for ‘Great House’) when she wrote this hymn. ‘The purple-headed mountains, The river running by," refers to the heather-clad Sugar Loaf and Blorenge mountains and the River Usk which flows close to the estate’s boundary.

There's a great selection of walking trails that visit the significant locations in Blaenavon World Heritage Site - 33 sq kms packed with more important industrial heritage than you can probably imagine! These trails touch on such diverse topics as the Bronze Age, the Industrial Revolution, the Monmouthshire & Brecon Canal and the landscape that inspired the author Alexander Cordell. Blaenavon World Heritage Site is busy throughout the year with events including history talks, family fun days and classes at an award-winning cookery school. At the moment they’re gearing up for Blaenavon’s Winter Wonderland on Saturday 6th December which includes a traditional Victorian fun fair, covered Christmas Market, children’s craft workshops, carols from Blaenavon Town Band and a visit from Father Christmas. It's delightful to see so much happening on our doorstep to attract tourists. We are so passionate about introducing people to the industrial heritage of this area that we've produced an illustrated book, with local artist Michael Blackmore, describing the significance of the Mon & Brec Canal. Read more here