Church Road, Gilwern, Monmouthshire NP7 0EW

Out and About

Here are just a few suggestions which we hope might help in framing your visit. 

We are in the Brecon Beacons National Park & the perfect place to explore it from.  Every outdoor activity imaginable is available in some of the most beautiful countryside anywhere.  Impossible to list all options here, so do check out Home – Brecon Beacons National Park, Wales  – or simply breathe out & walk from here.

The well preserved Brecon & Monmouthshire Canal runs through Gilwern and passes about 200 yards below the house.  In times gone by, Gilwern was a major trading station on it and The Clydach Wharf (known locally as The Gilwern Basin) remains very evident.  These days, of course, the many barges are for leisure & they do make a fine sight. Most of the possible circular walks from our front door, that we can suggest, take in the canal to a greater or lesser degree.  It has the obvious virtue of providing a passage of flat walking!   The canal towpath is also great for careful cyclists.  But just simply mooching around absorbing & imagining its history is many people’s thing & for those with an eye on opening times, a short hike takes you straight to the aptly named Towpath Inn, one of the pubs in the Village.   

A long (but flat) walk of 4 miles from the front door along the canal (easier cycle & much easier drive!)  sits Crickhowell which has been described as the perfect small town. Whatever your means of transport from us, you will cross a famous old bridge across the fast running river Usk to reach a bustling high street made up entirely of independent local shops, delis, great pubs & an ironmonger that seems to sell everything.

The larger historic market town of Abergavenny is 4 miles from us, in the opposite direction.  It is known as the Gateway to Wales.  Its indoor markets & shops provide loads of retail therapy. The Castle and the museum inside it are well worth visiting.  There are many restaurants and pubs & at its heart is the Angel Hotel – the Afternoon Tea is wonderful.   

Visit The Big Pit ( c6 miles) Big Pit National Coal Museum | Museum Wales – part of the UNESCO World Heritage Site at Blaenavon ( a destination in itself ) & be prepared to be lowered in the lift cage 300 feet down the mine shaft to the coal face.  Visitors wear the same kit – helmets & lamps etc as the miners did.  A truly unforgettable experience.  

Should your visit need to encompass Cardiff, we are well within range by direct train (c 40mins).  It is a Capital City well worth exploring.  Magnificent public buildings, famous little retail arcades, the rugby stadium right at its heart & a fantastic castle. Edinburgh eat your heart out!

If Castles are your thing, Wales has loads of them, large and small, & many are within very easy range. Some are brilliantly preserved ruins. Each has a fascinating history.  Always a long & hard fight but with sieges the defenders normally lost – & very violently – in the end.

If you stay with us, you will likely discover that most sport is in our soul & sadly that includes Golf.  There are many courses within easy range.  Abergavenny (also known as The Monmouthshire) is our closest & is underrated with four heartbreakingly difficult par threes.  We defy anyone to play an inland course with better scenery or views than Cradoc, near Brecon.  The Rolls of Monmouth, (so named because it was built on the Estate & surrounds the main House of some guy who was rather better known for his cars!), also receives great reviews from those who play it.  Further afield are the great links of Royal Porthcawl (1 hour drive) & many others on the coast as well as Celtic Manor (30 minute drive) which hosted the 2010 Ryder Cup.