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Day 1 Get to know your surroundings

The flat tow path is perfect for gentle strolls, dog walks, running and cycling. There are 22 miles between the cottages and the northern end of the canal at Brecon, and 13 miles if you head south to Pontymoile. Accessible by wheelchairs / scooters / buggies, the 1.5 mile loop from the cottages is great for all ages: walk down Church Lane, cross the main road and turn left onto the former railway line; after roughly ½ mile take a zig-zag path on your left to reach the towpath, then turn left and head back to your cottage.

For a walk with a delicious café stop, leave your cottage and turn right onto the towpath. After about an hour, you can leave the towpath at Llanellen for The Gardeners Kitchen or carry on for another ½ hour to reach Hummingbird Coffee Shop at Llanover.

The Canal & River Trust’s guide shows the highlights along the Mon & Brec (as locals call it), and there are carved oak benches and interpretation panels at various points, explaining the waterway’s heritage.Younger ones will enjoy the Canal & River Trust’s free activity guides on fishing, nature and ducks.

Day 2 Be active

Right on your doorstep are mountain climbs, riverside routes and towpath trails. You’ll find maps, walking routes and suggested refreshment stops in your cottage. A short drive west further into the Brecon Beacons National Park are splendid waterfalls and Pen y Fan - at 886m - the highest peak in southern Britain.

If you wish, you can walk a new route every day of your holiday, without even using your car to get to the start. Perhaps you’d like to try one of these

 

The mountain behind Llanfoist Wharf is called the Blorenge (rhymes with ‘orange’). There’s a steep route up the front of it directly from the cottages, from where you can reach the beautiful Punchbowl lake. For a challenge, try one of these energetic trails on or near the Blorenge or trek into Abergavenny and up the Sugarloaf on the opposite side of the Usk valley, with lunch at the Sugar Loaf Vineyards. A super selection of walking routes can be downloaded from Visit Monmouthshire and Brecon Beacons.

 

Day 3 Go back in time

A short drive up over the Blorenge mountain takes you to Blaenavon World Heritage Site which is rich in assets from the Industrial Revolution. Go underground with former coal miners at BigPit, take a trip on Blaenavon Heritage Railway, and discover Blaenavon Ironworks.

 

Day 4 Explore a castle

Wales has over 600 castles – more per square mile than anywhere else in the world – with grand Raglan Castle being one of our favourites. A 19-mile circular walk links the three fortresses of Grosmont, Senfrith and White Castle. Not to be missed is Tretower Court & Castle, and the majestic ruins of Llanthony Priory and Tintern Abbey. Further afield is the gothic fantasy of Castell Coch, and Caerphilly Castle, second only to Windsor Castle as the largest in Britain.


Day 5 Head into town

Take the 20-minute stroll into Abergavenny and you’ll be rewarded with amazing views from the castle ruins, medieval treasures in the church, independent shops, picnic places in Linda Vista Gardens and a splendid choice of cafes and pubs. Go on market day (Tuesday) and browse around the eclectic range of stalls. Alternatively, drive to Crickhowell (about 15 minutes)or Brecon (about 35 minutes) for riverside walks and a range of independent shops and cafés.


Day 6 Discover Cardiff

Less than an hour away - drive or take the train from Abergavenny - is the culturally-rich capital city of Cardiff. It’s home to a famous rugby stadium, a castle set in stunning Bute Park, world class art and natural history in the National Museum and performances galore in the iconic Wales Millennium Centre in Cardiff Bay.


Day 7 Enjoy the canal

To explore a different stretch of the Mon & Brec hire an electric day boat, pedal boat or canoe from Beacon Park Day Boats at Llangattock. Alternatively, relax by your cottage with a good book or a fishing rod, and watch the ducks and boats on the canal.

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