Abergavenny: shopping, heritage and a stroll in Castle Meadows
Spend the day combining town and country pleasures on a visit to beautiful Abergavenny, the gateway to the Brecon Beacons National Park.
With an impressive 19th Century Market Hall and some excellent shops in town, the morning will fly by quite happily. The main market day is Tuesday – but there are alternative markets many days of the week – check with the Visitor Information Centre (01873 853254)
For those who like to take some culture with their lunch, a visit to the recently restored 12th Century Tithe Barn and Food Hall and adjacent St Mary’s Church might hit the spot. The Food Hall prides itself on its tasty, locally sourced, contemporary Welsh cuisine and you could follow coffee with a wander around the free exhibition which houses a tapestry that was hand stitched by Abergavenny residents to commemorate the millenium in 2000..
After lunch, a gentle riverside walk in Castle Meadows is always an enjoyable way to spend the afternoon. The river Usk has been designated a SSSI and teams with wildlife. If you are lucky you may even see one of the resident kingfishers, but providing the weather is on your side, fantastic views of the Sugarloaf and Blorenge mountains’ are guaranteed.
Next take a tour around St Mary’s Church and see the unique ‘Jesse figure’ carved from a single piece of oak in the 15th Century, it’s the only one in the UK and probably the world.
St Mary’s also has the second largest single collection of medieval monuments in a parish church in the UK, extending from 13th Century to about 1510 in wood alabaster and freestone.
11.00 Arrive at the Visitor Information Centre, park and walk through the Tithe Barn grounds at the top end of the car park into town.
13.00-14.00 Enjoy lunch at the Tithe Barn or lunch in Abergavenny.
14.00-14.45 Explore the historic Tithe Barn and St Mary's Church.
15.45 Take tea in Abergavenny or depart for home.
Where is it?
The Visitor Information Centre
Swan Meadow, Monmouth Rd, ABERGAVENNY, Gwent NP7 5HL
Tel: (01873) 853 254 is situated on the south side of the town and is accessed from the roundabout where the A4042 Pontypool road meets the A465 Heads of the Valleys road. From the roundabout follow the signs for the town centre along Monmouth Road. The Visitor Information centre and bus station car park are together and on the right hand side just before the town centre.
The Tithe Barn, Food Hall and St Mary’s Church are found by the exit at the top of the car park
To reach the start of the walk cross the A40 in front of the Visitor Information centre, take a few paces to the right and then enter Mill Street. Join the brick lined path and then follow a slight gradient down towards the self closing gate which will take you into Castle Meadows.
Further details of the walk can be obtained from the Visitor Information Centre.
Facilities & Access
The Tithe Barn Food Hall is open 9.00 to 17.00 Monday to Saturday and 11.00 to 15.00 on a Sunday.
The exhibition is open 10.00 to 16.00 Monday to Saturday and closed on a Sunday. The Food Hall is on ground floor level and is fully accessible. The Tithe Barn exhibition is on the first floor accessed via a staircase and a lift. Admission to the exhibition and church is free but voluntary contributions are welcome.
St Mary’s Church is open 11.00 to 15.00 Monday to Saturday and 14.00 to 16.00 on a Sunday.
Castle Meadows offers a walk on fairly level ground, much of which could be undertaken in a pushchair or wheel chair. Dogs are welcome but you will need to carry a lead as cattle and ponies often graze there in the summer months. The walk is on the flood plain of the river Usk and can therefore be wet and muddy in periods of poor weather. Suitable footwear is therefore advised.
By Train the nearest station is Abergavenny – the Visitor Information centre is just less than 1km walk.
By bus: Stagecoach (www.stagecoachbus.com). Beacons bus service on Sundays and bank holidays throughout the summer.
Tel: 01873 853254 visit www.travelinecymru.info for more information.
By bike: NCN 46 runs close by.