Wales is home to two navigable rural canals, the Monmouthshire & Brecon Canal and the Llangollen Canal. These canals are always a popular choice for people looking to holiday in the UK and both offer unique and awe-inspiring experiences.
Monmouthshire & Brecon Canal:
Dating back over two hundred years, this canal meanders through picturesque Welsh countryside from Pontypool to Brecon town centre, covering 36 miles and 6 locks. The waterway cruises through the Brecon Beacons National Park so there is plenty of wildlife to spot such as kites, herons and kingfishers. Although the Mon & Brec canal is arguably one of the most unspoilt canals in Britain there are also plenty of canal-side pubs to stop at for your evening meal!
The canal offers a very tranquil and laid back boating holiday, ideal for beginners and experienced boaters alike. It’s a great canal to escape from the hustle and bustle of modern life, running along the River Usk and cruising through the peaceful woodland. The canal was originally an industrial motorway, transporting raw materials from nearby quarries by boat to Newport. Relics of the industrial revolution are still visible in many places, with old coal mines, lime kilns and abandoned tram line remains dotted along the waterways. There is also a more decorative historical artefact to visit at Cefn Brynich, a beautiful aqueduct dating from 1812.
Well worth a mention is the boat yard at Gilwern, north of Goytre Wharf. They have started a canal boat revolution by introducing electric boats to their fleet. These super quiet electric motors can cover 18 miles in a single charge. Recharging is simple – there are lots of recharging points along the Canal, at which you can hook your boat up & simply switch the power on.
There are also many treasures to experience on the Llangollen Canal, which crosses the border from Shropshire in England into Wales before finally terminating at Llangollen. The Pontcysyllte Aqueduct, the ‘Stream in the sky,’ passes over the River Dee valley, and is simply a must see if you are cruising this Welsh Canal. The aqueduct is a Grade I Listed structure and World Heritage site. It spans 1,000ft and is 125ft high, giving you the feeling that you’re travelling on a magic carpet ride.
You can also moor up and visit the Llangollen town centre, a little market town surrounded by the River Dee. The railway at Llangollen is a volunteer-run preserved railway, which even supplies taster sessions where you can learn to drive a traditional locomotive! The town is steeped in history and also has a castle ruin that has been abandoned since 1282, named ‘Dinas Bran’. Well worth the climb to check out the view of the attractive town.
You can easily cruise the entire length of either the Llangollen or Monmouthshire and Brecon Canal’s in a week break, a jam packed holiday perfect for all.
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