Things to doDon’t book this holiday unless you’re prepared to slow down. With an average speed of just 21⁄2 mph, you’ll have little choice. On this holiday you’ll soon forget the time of day but remember the important moments. This change of pace inevitably leads to a fresh appreciation of the people and places around you. You’ll be spoilt with opportunities to get close to nature, without even leaving your boat. Feed the ducks. Spot a kingfisher, a heron, a red kite. Listen to the spring lambs bleating. Watch the cows watching you. Try and hook a carp. Capture it all in a sketch or photograph.
Step onto dry land and you’re in walking country from the gentle towpath to the challenging mountains. Near the canal you’ll also find horse-riding, bike hire and the beautiful river Usk one of Britain’s best salmon rivers. The pretty market town of Crickhowell, complete with castle ruins and independent shops, is just a 20-minute stroll away from our base at Llangattock. Head south towards Abergavenny and you'll come across a number of old villages worth exploring - Gilwern, Govilon and Llanfoist. Head north and you'll come to Llangynidr (with its five locks), Talybont-on-Usk and ultimately the historic town of Brecon, a lively mix of old and new, with its cathedral, military museum and canalside theatre.
Let us share some of our favourite things, which we hope you’ll enjoy, too.
CyclingThe canal towpath offers miles of easy cycling. You can bring your own bikes (no more than two per boat - please call us to discuss) or hire bikes from Hopyard Cycles in Govilon or Bikes & Hikes in Brecon. From Llanfoist to Brynmawr there’s an 8-mile route (almost entirely traffic-free) along the disused railway line, through the beautiful wooded Cyldach Gorge. It’s a steady climb all the way, and a mostly effortless 8 miles downhill on the return journey! For mountain bikers, both Blaenavon World Heritage Site and the Brecon Beacons offer exhilarating routes waiting to be explored.
FishingAnglers need not go far, they can fish from their boat or towpath (a rod licence is available from the Environment Agency for those over the age of twelve). The Usk river follows a similar course to the canal, and is one of Britain’s best salmon and wild trout rivers.
GolfFrom our base at Llangattock, you can walk to The Old Rectory Golf Club. With a quick taxi ride from the canal you can reach Monmouthshire Golf Club near Abergavenny, or Brecon Golf Club and Cradoc Golf Club near Brecon.
Horse ridingWithin a short taxi ride there's Grange Trekking Centre near Abergavenny, Cantref Riding Centre near Brecon and Riverside Riding Centre (01873 810328) near Crickhowell.
WalkingThere is plenty of walking right from your front door. The canal towpath is perfect for a sociable stroll and the mountains offer a range of challenges. There is an abundance of walks throughout the county of Monmouthshire, and guided walks are organised by several organisations, including Blaenavon World Heritage Site, Brecon Beacons National Park Authority and Brecon Beacons Park Society. Start or finish your walk with a trip on the Beacons Bus, which visits all the best places to walk in the National Park. Two recent additions to the annual calendar are walking festivals in Crickhowell and Monmouthshire. And while you’re in South Wales you may want to tackle our highest peak, Pen y Fan (2,906 ft); the shortest route up it starts on the A470 and is a 15-minute taxi ride from Brecon.
Browsing around lovely towns
Abergavenny: A bustling town complete with markets (most days of the week), castle & museum, cinema, theatre, Priory Church, riverside walk and many good places to eat. www.visitabergavenny.co.uk
Crickhowell: Pretty town packed with independent shops and good places to eat. Castle ruins with children’s playground alongside, riverside walk and 17th century bridge over the river Usk. www.crickhowellinfo.org.uk
Brecon: Historic town with markets every Tuesday, Friday and Saturday. Cathedral, South Wales Borderers Museum, Brecknock Museum & Art Gallery, cinema, theatre and a range of cafés and restaurants. www.breconbeaconstourism.co.uk
Some of the darkest skies in the UK are to be found in the Brecon Beacons. You don’t need any special equipment to get a glimpse of the major constellations, bright nebulas and meteor showers. Just lie down or lean back in a deck chair and look upwards on a clear night. To discover even more, there are stargazing events held in a number of locations across the park. The Brecon Beacons National Park has the prestigious honour of being an International Dark Sky Reserve – only the fifth destination in the world, and the first in Wales.
Our very own Sarah here at Beacon Park Boats has been on a workshop to learn more about this growing area of tourism. As a Brecon Beacons National Park Ambassador, Sarah keeps her tourism knowledge up-to-date so she can confidently answer queries from customers and, in turn, make their visits extra special. Since the workshops, Sarah has bought some books on stargazing to put in our two canalside holiday cottages, and intends to purchase some planispheres for the cottages and the canal boats. These maps of the night sky will help guests spot certain stars and constellations in the dark skies around us. (Image: ©Good Day Out & Will Lewis)
EntertainmentColiseum Cinema, Brecon - 10 mins from Brecon Canal Basin
Theatr Bryncheiniog, Brecon - alongside Brecon Canal Basin
Baker Street Cinema, Abergavenny - a short taxi ride
Borough Theatre, Abergavenny - a short taxi ride
The large annual events in the area include:
|February/March||Crickhowell Walking Festival|
|July||Abergavenny Festival of Cycling, Royal Welsh Show|
|August||Green Man Festival|
|September||Abergavenny Food Festival|
|October||Monmouthshire Walking Festival, Brecon Baroque Festival|
|December||Abergavenny Food Festival Christmas Fair, Royal Welsh Winter Fair|