Usk Valley Walk
The Usk Valley Walk runs for 48 miles/77km from Caerleon to Brecon through the Vale of Usk. The Walk doesn’t include the 20 miles or so west of Brecon from the river’s source near the Usk Reservoir on the Carmarthenshire border but, enclosed by hills along its length, it is easy to head off into uplands at almost every point. Though smaller than the River Wye, the Usk is equally beautiful.
There are many relics of the Industrial Revolution on the way but even in the south, the valley is unspoilt and the larger settlements are small market towns with very little modern industrial development.
From the Usk Reservoir, the river itself flows east, quickly becoming larger as it draws water from the many streams draining the Brecon Beacons and Eppynt hills. By the time it reaches Brecon, it’s a good size river and a focal point of the town.
The Usk Valley Walk begins by the theatre at Brecon and Wales Cottage Holidays offer several properties in the area: Danycrug Barn sleeping 6, Danycrug (Ground Floor) and Danycrug (First Floor) both sleeping 4, are all situated on a working sheep farm and on the boundary of the Brecon Beacons National Park.
Turning southeast, the river continues to gather water from the Brecon Beacons and Black Mountains and now runs pretty much alongside the Monmouthshire and Brecon Canal for the remainder of its journey to the Severn Estuary.
The highest point of the Walk (300m) is near the Talybont Reservoir, after which it passes five canal locks on its way to Llangynidr. Until just south of Abergavenny, there are several miles of level walking on the Canal towpath high above the Usk and many remnants of the coal, iron and lime industries on the remaining wharfs, such as lime kilns at Llangattock.
Wales Cottage Holidays properties in the area include Sugar Loaf Cottage, a one-bedroomed cottage on an arable and fruit farm with an 18 hole golf course just 0.5 mile away.
The Walk continues to Usk, largely along the riverbank with short diversions up the hillside, and some of the prettiest stretches of the river are to be enjoyed along this part. South of Usk, the route is level, following the course of the river, before it rises and falls through farmland and woodland and ends at Caerleon.