Brecon & Monmouthshire Canal
The canal age reached its height in 1793 when 62 canals – half the canal system – were either being promoted, planned or built, including 25 canals for which Acts were passed by Parliament in that one year alone. Currently the canal is a working canal with boat trips from the basin at Brecon Theatre.
This lovely canal in the Welsh borders was built as two waterways; in the Monmouthshire Canal from the River Usk estuary north to Pontypool and authorised in 1792, and the Brecon and Abergavenny Canal, authorised in March, 1793.
Whilst the Monmouthshire Canal was promoted by industrialists to carry coal, limestone and iron ore to Newport Docks, the Brecon and Abergavenny Canal was backed predominantly by local people to carry household and agricultural goods. Both are typical of the South Wales canals in that they were planned and built to connect with tramroad systems, the Act for the Brecon and Abergavenny Canal authorising the building of tramroads up to eight miles from the canal.
The two canals were completed and linked in 1812. However, their prosperity was relatively short-lived, railways soon poaching their trade, and they were abandoned in 1938 until British Waterways took them over in 1963 and began restoration.
Today, the Monmouthshire & Brecon Canal is navigable for 33½ miles from Brecon to south of Pontypool. It clings to the curving hillsides, spectacular views from the tree-clad banks revealing the Usk valley and Brecon Beacons beyond. There are also splendid walks and cycle routes alongside the canal. There are opportunities to see rare and interesting flora and fauna as well as the famous Red Kite and Kingfisher or you may wish to take a journey on a narrow boat along the canal - telephone Dragonfly Canal Boat Trips 07831 685222.