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Mon & Brec Canal

The Monmouthshire and Brecon canal is quite unlike any other waterway in Britain. For a start it’s not joined to the main canal network, so it’s quieter with fewer boats. Its navigable length is just 36 miles and there are only 6 locks. In fact, for 25 miles the canal remains on one level, one of the longest lock-free stretches in the UK’s inland waterway system and a marvel of contour canal engineering.

Unusually for a canal, the Mon & Brec (as locals call it) rises high above the valley floor, offering amazing views, with the stunning landscape going up on one side of the canal and falling gently away on the other. Located entirely in the Brecon Beacons National Park, it also passes through the fascinating Blaenavon World Heritage Site. The canal’s riches include a 375-yard tunnel, an aqueduct over the river Usk, 5 lift bridges (including one where the traffic stops for you!), quaint stone bridges, historic lime kilns and pleasant wharves.

There are pretty villages to discover along the entire waterway, most with canalside pubs. Walks are plentiful from all mooring locations and further afield are mountains to climb, castles to explore, craft centres, museums and all manner of outdoor activities. You can’t help but relax when you’re on the Mon & Brec. There’s a real sense of tranquillity here. A sense of slowing down and getting away from it all.

Towns and villages