Canals in Wales - the Monmouthshire & Brecon, Montgomery and Llangollen Canals
Published: Sunday 29th Sep 2013
Written by: The Wales Cottage Holidays Team
Following the scenic Usk Valley, the Monmouthshire and Brecon Canal is one Britain's most picturesque canals; it runs for 35 miles from Brecon to Five Locks, Cwmbran and much of this length lies within the Brecon Beacons National Park. The full length of the canal towpath is a public footpath and passes through villages such as Talybont-on-Usk, Llangynidr, Llangattock, Gilwern, Govilon and Llanfoist with several pubs adjacent to the canal en route. The canal continues to Newport although this section is not navigable. Just outside of Newport, on the road to Risca alongside the Canal, is the Fourteen Locks Canal Visitor Centre, where you can trace the growth and decline of the Canal and its role in transporting commodities from the South Wales valleys down to Newport docks.
The Montgomery Canal was completed in 1821 from Welsh Frankton (the junction with the Llangollen Canal) to Newtown; by 1936 it had been abandoned and finally closed in 1944. It had been built mostly for agricultural use to transport heavy goods to landowners on or near the Canal. Two sections of the canal are currently open to navigation; from its northern end at Welsh Frankton south through Frankton and Aston Locks and an 11-mile section around Welshpool where the Powysland Museum is situated.
The navigable Llangollen Canal crosses the border between England and Wales and runs from Hurleston in Cheshire to Ellesmere in Shropshire and on to Llangollen in north Wales. An eleven-mile section of the canal from near Rhoswiel to the Horseshoe Falls was made a World Heritage site by UNESCO in 2009. This stretch of the Canal includes Pontcysyllte Aqueduct which was designed by Thomas Telford to carry the Canal across the River Dee.