A mainly downhill walk that starts in the village of Gilwern and finishes in Abergavenny, which has bus and train links. It starts alongside the Brecon and Monmouthshire Canal but soon leaves this to continue along the community path that follows the line of the old Merthyr, Tredegar and Abergavenny Railway.
1. From the bus stop, keep the Post Office to your left and walk up the main street to the Bridge End Inn, where you can turn left onto the canal tow path. Now follow this easily, with the canal on your right, until at a bridge in Govilon, you are forced to cross the waterway and continue with it to your left.
Did you know?
The village of Gilwern sits at the foot of the impressive Clydach Gorge, one of the hidden gems of the National Park. The Clydach River rises up on the moors above Brynmawr and cuts itself a deep channel that runs almost directly beneath the line of the Heads of the Valleys road. It doesn’t look much from above but a good footpath leads from Gilwern along the banks of the stream and reveals some wonderful waterfalls and cascades.
2. From the bus stop, keep the Post Office to your left and walk up the main street to the Bridge End Inn, where you can turn left onto the canal tow path. Now follow this easily, with the canal on your right, until at a bridge in Govilon, you are forced to cross the waterway and continue with it to your left.
Continue like this for a few paces and then leave the canal by a path that leads up onto the community path at a bridge, waymarked Govilon Line. Turn right onto this and follow it past Govilon Wharf and on to its end at Llanfoist Crossing.
3. Walk through the car park and turn left to drop down a lane, past the village hall, and through a gate to walk through an underpass beneath the A465. Continue up the hill and around to the right to walk past the cemetery and down to a junction close to the River Usk.
3. Turn left to cross the bridge over the river, then turn right, through an elaborate gate that leads into Castle Meadows close to the River Usk. Follow the riverside path until it bears left and heads away from the river and through a gate beneath the castle. Keep straight ahead (not left towards the castle) and a short section of path delivers you onto Mill St and then onto the Monmouth Road, where you’ll see the bus station on the other side. Footpaths then lead along the River Usk…
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In places, this walk follows the Govilon to Abergavenny Community Route which follows the line of the old Merthyr, Tredegar and Abergavenny Railway. In some places, this actually follows the line of the much older (1820s) Bailey’s Tramroad, which linked Crawshay Bailey’s Ironworks at Nantyglo with Govilon Wharf, which is actually passed on the walk. The initial construction of the railway, which originally stretched between Abergavenny and Brynmawr, was started by the Merthyr, Tredegar and Abergavenny Railway Company but this was then acquired by the London and North Western Railway, who were keen to gain a foothold in South Wales, where they saw the immense profit potential of the ‘black gold’ as coal was often known. They extended the line all the way to Merthyr Tydfil. It eventually opened in 1862 and finally closed in 1958.
View looking southwest from Cwmdu Evidence suggests that…