The Canal

Cruising the Monmouthshire & Brecon Canal

Our Canal Boat Hire Base at Gilwern, close to Abergavenny (SO245145)

You can find our narrowboat holiday base four miles west of Abergavenny. Gilwern (SO245145) is situated approximately mid-way along the canal. We are 20 miles below Brecon and 15 miles above Five Locks. You can thus choose between a cruise to Brecon, incorporating the locks, tunnel, lift bridges and the more spectacular scenery, or the more secretive, peacefully isolated winding waters southward towards Five Locks. Beyond is the now defunct section that drops through thirty(unusable) locks in some six miles to Newport. Whichever direction you choose on your canal boat hire the Mon & Brec will not disappoint!

The journey itself

Those who have enjoyed the best canal boat holidays before will know that as well as providing fascinating ever-changing scenery, the slow pace of cruising is in itself relaxing. The scenery of the Monmouthshire& Brecon Canal as it winds around the hills on its way to Brecon is varied and views are spectacular. These views are sometimes even more dramatic if from time to time you walk at the pace of the boat along the towpath.

Relax aboard on your narrowboat holiday in Wales

Relax in the comfort of the boat and read, listen to music(CD/radio/MP3 is fitted on the boat), paint and draw, play board games or simply enjoy the changing views as the countryside glides past your windows. The Monmouthshire & Brecon canal is a tranquil route that will allow you to relax and take in the beautiful scenery.


There is plenty of opportunity for walking, ranging from the easy level towpath (get on and off as you pass through bridges), footpaths and leafy lanes through to more serious walking amongst the Brecon Beacons for energetic or experienced walkers.

Why not take a shady walk up the feeder stream which joins the canal just below the second lock at Llangynidr. At Llangattock, a walk up the Escarpment will reward you with some spectacular wide views. Walk under the canal through the tunnels at Gilwern, Govilon, Llanfoist or Pontymoile. Climbdown to the Usk from below Brynich Lock to look up at the four arches of the massive aqueduct you crossed earlier.


Explore the six villages on the canal and the market towns of Brecon, Crickhowell and Abergavenny – include a meal or a drink at one of the many hostelries. Try a walk along the old railway to Talybont Reservoir (and over the dam and back along the lane if you prefer a circular route). It is a short walk at Llangynidr down from Bridge 131 to the old packhorse bridge across the Usk, where there is also a walk along the river (a similar bridge can be found linking Llangattock to Crickhowell).


Visit the River Promenade on the other side of Brecon and discover the source of the canal’s water. Brecon also has a cinema, Cathedral, theatre and museums. On the way back from Brecon walk over the top of the tunnel and look down the shaft on your boat as it passes below (and listen to the conversations!)


For those who like shopping visit Brecon, Crickhowell or Abergavenny which all have a good mix of independent retailers, coffee shops, pubs, galleries and food stores. For fish & chips try Brecon, Gilwern or Goytre.

More physical activities

Mountain bike hire is available at Talybont and at Brecon. There is pony-trekking before Llangattock (ask us for details). Pontypool and Brecon have leisure centres with swimming pools and there is a Golf course at Llangattock.


There are plenty of activities to choose from as you meander along the Mon & Brec on your canal boat.

Book your narrowboat holiday in Wales now