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Canal Holidays Guide to the Monmouthshire and Brecon Canal

Canal lovers often agree that the Monmouthshire and Brecon is one of the most beautiful canals in Britain, with outstanding scenery and the ideal route for a relaxing holiday at a sedate pace.

Although only 35 miles long, this canal has the challenge of six locks, five lift bridges, a tunnel and several aqueducts.

A relaxed week's cruising from base 58 near the village of Goytre will cover the whole navigable length of canal.

Cruising the canal

For most of its length the canal is in the Brecon Beacons National Park, an area of such outstanding scenery that it is often tricky to keep your eyes on the 'road'.

From the new canal basin in Brecon, the canal follows the river Usk along its valley through a true contour-following route, through just six locks (five of them in the award-winning flight at Llangynidr) to the new end of navigation at Five Locks, Pontnewydd. This makes for the most relaxed cruising imaginable.

Routes in a Google Map
Monmouthshire and Brecon Canal Location

Distance, Time, and Locks

about 28
  • Usually covered in a week.
  • Short breaks are available.

Bridge near Gilwern
Goytre Wharf

Places of interest

The National Park provides a perfect opportunity for many leisure activities including walking, pony trekking, bird watching, photography and coarse fishing.

Brecon is an historic market town with a cathedral, museums and quaint shopping centre. August is a good time to visit, when the annual Jazz Festival and County Show are held. There is a new indoor leisure centre, new theatre and a market of Tuesdays and Fridays.

Llangorse Lake
The largest natural lake in south Wales, just over three miles from the canal, north of Talybont. Activities in this area include sailing, windsurfing, fishing (pike, roach, perch), canoeing, trekking and picnicking.

This is the 'Gateway to the Brecon Beacons', a market town with eleventh century castle remains, good shops, museum of childhood and is one mile from the canal.

Goytre Wharf
Near Llanover, British Waterways Visitor Centre, restored limekilns.

Torfaen Museum Trust
Canal museum in the old toll cottage at Pontypool.

Mon Brec canal

Customer Comments

Read what some of our previous clients say about the Monmouthshire and Brecon Canal.

"Recommend the Ashford Tunnel as a contributor to a steep learning curve on how to steer a 20-ton steel narrowboat in a straight line! Great fun, if you don't mind picking up the fallen crockery, and don't forget to duck at the lowest section. Good canal side shops and pubs, excellent itinerary information pack on board. This canal being rural is mostly unspoilt by development; it is pretty and pleasantly quiet to chug along at a sedate 3 mph."

"We rated the unspoiled beauty and discovery visits to small villages and pubs second to none."

"The boat yard has a quality product and their narrowboat standards are high. A complimentary bottle of wine was a nice touch to the start of the week. The owner was prompt in dropping off a TV aerial that had been omitted from the boat on start. Very good service!"

"It's a good type of holiday for meeting other people. We laughed ourselves up and down the canal despite the weather."