Usk Valley Walk

Guided Trail

Code: BRLUV

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Activity types:

  • Central location
  • Meadows & hills

Level

  • Medium
More information

Difficulty indicator

Difficulty is measured on many factors such as distance, ascent/descent, terrain, weather and more. There's no magic formula, but from our experience we use yellow for easy, orange for medium and red for hard. Challenger holidays require a high level of fitness and stamina.

More about difficulty levels

From £599.00 - 7 nights

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Prices are per person

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Holiday overview

We follow the Usk Valley from Caerleon to Brecon. On the first two days, the riverbank forms the core of the route and for the final three days, the towpath of the Monmouthshire and Brecon Canal. It was opened in 1812 with diversions into the foothills of the Brecon Beacons providing variety of scenery and landscape. The canal is rich in industrial history. 

Holiday Highlights

  • Walking from Caerleon, the main Roman fortress in South Wales, to Brecon
  • The beautiful valley of the River Usk; a green artery through the Brecon Beacons National Park
  • Meandering along the riverbank, or the delightful Monmouthshire and Brecon Canal with its distinctive lifting bridges
  • Superb views of the Black Mountains and Brecon Beacons

What’s included

  • 7 nights’ Full Board en-suite accommodation with all meals
  • The services of an experienced HF Holidays’ guide
  • All transport to and from the route is provided on walking days
  • Social activities in the evening

Accommodation

Visit Wales 4 star guest accommodation logo at HF Holidays

Nythfa House is a charming Country House, located on the edge of the market town of Brecon. Spacious public rooms, attractive gardens and indoor swimming pool make it a popular and relaxing place to stay.

 

Bedrooms

Nythfa House has 28 bedrooms. Most are located in the main house, with others in garden annexes.

Our classic bedrooms offer comfortable accommodation and an en-suite bathroom with bath or shower. They also have TV, hairdryer, and tea and coffee making facilities. Single rooms are available for an extra £8 per night.

You can enjoy extra space or exceptional views plus additional facilities including a towelling robe and complimentary slippers when you upgrade to a premium bedroom. Premium rooms are available at just £5 extra per person per night.    

If you are travelling with your family, we have a selection of 3 and 4-bedded family bedrooms. These have all the facilities of our classic rooms plus full sized twin or double beds for adults and bunk beds or occasional beds for children.

A limited number of value twin rooms are available at a discount of £8 per person per night and value single rooms with a £5 per night discount. Our value rooms have the same facilities as our classic rooms, but bathroom facilities are nearby rather than en-suite.

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Facilities

All our Country Houses are tailored to walkers and outdoor enthusiasts and have excellent boot and drying rooms and laundry facilities.

In the main house there is a large upstairs lounge, an attractive dining room and a spacious bar. The ballroom is suitable for dancing, evening talks and also for some of our indoor leisure activity holidays. This links with the pleasant conservatory which looks out onto the garden. Free WiFi is available in some public rooms.  There is also a range of board games and books.

A separate building houses the indoor swimming pool.

The house is surrounded by extensive gardens that contain a putting green and croquet lawn.

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Food

All holidays at our Country Houses are Full Board with all meals included, from dinner on arrival to breakfast on the day of your departure.

Start your day with our extensive breakfast. Choose from a wide selection on the cold buffet and/or a full cooked breakfast. Maybe enjoy a lighter option of fruit and yoghurt followed by scrambled egg, go for porridge followed by a full Welsh breakfast, or select something in between.

Choose from our famous self-select picnic lunches - everything you need to keep you going on a day outdoors. Your own choice of sandwiches is prepared to order, and you can add crisps and snacks, fruit, nuts, chocolate bars, sweets and biscuits as you wish.    

Our house-based Leisure Activities include an in-house lunch (generally soup, sandwiches etc).   

The relaxed dinner is a highlight of any stay at our Country Houses. With tables seating up to 10 and no seating plan, it offers a great opportunity to get to know your fellow guests. There is always a choice of dishes for every course, featuring good British cooking and often local specialities. A vegetarian option is always available.

All our Country Houses have a well-stocked bar serving local beers, wine and spirits.

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Evening

Guided Walking: enjoy a glass of wine or local beer in the bar before a talk about the next day's walks. After dinner there will be an activity or entertainment which you will be welcome to join. These vary from week to week but could include a talk on local wildlife from a local speaker or a team quiz. Alternatively if you prefer, feel free to just relax in our lounge or bar.

Leisure Activities: many of our Leisure Activities holidays continue into the evening with programmed sessions. Other holidays will have the evenings free, and you will be welcome to join in other social activities that may be happening in the house.

Family holidays: our activity leaders are on hand to organise children’s activities and games for younger children before dinner. These could include rounders, outdoor games, or crafts. After dinner there are further activities for the whole family.

Self-Guided Walking: there may be evening social activities happening in the house during your holiday, and you will be most welcome to join in. However, not all self-guided holidays will have evening activities available – if these are important to you, please check before booking.

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Accessibility

Arrival & Car Parking Facilities

  • There is ample, free car parking available (tarmac / gravel)
  • Two disabled parking spaces available close to the house (by the second entrance)
  • The driveway to the house is tarmac (4m wide) with speed bumps
  • It is possible to load and unload cars directly at the front door
  • Assistance can be provided with luggage

Main Entrance & Reception Area

  • Access to the main front door of the house is via a 7.5 cm step and an inward opening standard width door
  • The second entrance has 2 steps (6cm and 17cm height, followed by a 3cm to the floor level) with double doors providing a 121cm wide entrance
  • The well-lit ground floor corridor is part carpeted, part quarry tiles
  • The entrance hall gives level access to the dining room, bar, ballroom, conservatory, office, public toilet and 4 ground floor bedrooms. Seating available in the entrance hall
  • There is no lift

Public Areas - Hall, Stairs, Landing, Corridors etc

  • Most public areas are carpeted. The ballroom has wooden floor and the conservatory has quarry tiles
  • Minimum corridor width is 130cm
  • The main stairway has 18 steps. Each step is 16cm high, 26cm deep and 90cm wide. There is a hand rail
  • There is no lift
  • Good standard lighting throughout the house

Public Areas - Sitting room, lounges, lobbies etc

  • The lounge (1st floor) measures 7 x 10m with a large landing. There is a large number of arm/tub chairs, stools and coffee tables. All furniture is easily movable
  • The lounge is fully carpeted and has a mixture of wall and ceiling lights
  • Coal effect gas fire with guard rail and an electric fan heater on a hearth
  • The guest internet computer is located in the lounge

Public WCs

  • There is a single public WC on the ground floor
  • The door width is 75cm, floor space 200 x 190cm
  • The toilet seat is 42cm high and the wash basin is 83cm high

Restaurant / Dining Room, Bar & Bar area

  • The fully carpeted dining room is on the ground floor. It is L-shaped and measures 10 x 8m and 2 x 9m
  • It has 2 Welsh dressers, 6 round, 4 legged tables, each seating up to 9-10 people. The tables are 73cm high
  • Seats have no arms, 50cm high, with 86 cm backs
  • Waitress service both at breakfast and dinner times
  • White / cream crockery, clear glassware. Standard cutlery
  • Special diets catered for, but should be advised pre or on arrival
  • The carpeted bar area is situated adjacent to the dining room. It has various seating for up to 24 guests. There are 8 chairs with arms. Seat height 45cm, the seat back is 84cm. Round tables are 70cm high

Leisure Facilities

  • Swimming pool / art studio building is situated near the entrance gates (some 150 yards from the main house)
  • There is a single step on the entrance. The height of the step is 7cm and the width is 140cm
  • Open plan changing rooms with showers are on the ground floor
  • The tiled swimming pool with a tiled surround is raised from ground level and is reached by 5 tiled steps. The pool measures 10 x 5 yards, and is sloping with the depth varying from 1.05m to 1.6m
  • There are no disabled aids
  • The water temperature is set to 32°C
  • There are 2 toilets in the pool building. The toilet in the foyer has a door width of 73cm, toilet seat height of 44cm, wash basin height of 80cm and the approx floor measurement of 2 x 1.5m. The toilet between the changing rooms has a door width of 91cm, toilet seat height of 44cm, wash basin height of 79cm and the approx floor measurement of 2.7 x 1.7m
  • There are 14 steps to the 1st floor studio. The steps are 19cm high, 26cm deep and 86cm wide. Wooden parquet flooring

Bedrooms

  • All bedrooms have fitted carpets and standard modern furniture. All except one of the bedrooms are with en-suite shower or bath
  • Bedrooms are either single, twin or double bedded
  • Kettle in each room with supplies of tea, coffee, sugar etc available
  • All rooms are carpeted and well lit
  • All furniture, including beds is movable
  • Room 17 is directly off the ground floor corridor. There are 2 beds, each 59cm high. The approximate room size is 5 x 4m. The door width is 84cm

Bathroom, Shower-room & WC [en-suite or shared]

  • All except one of the bedrooms are en-suite with either a shower or a bath. 1 bedroom has WC only
  • The bathrooms either have a nonslip or lino flooring
  • All showers are electric, single shower cubicle with hinged door and normal ground-level shower tray
  • All baths are standard size with standard twist & turn taps
  • No disabled aids available
  • Room 17 has a shower room. Electric shower. The shower room door width is 68cm, the shower door is 60cm wide, a hinged single glass door. Shower tray measures 70 x 70cm and is 22cm high. The toilet seat height is 43cm and the wash basin is 82cm high. The flooring is non-slip vinyl

Grounds and Gardens

  • The grounds around the house are level or slightly sloped, mainly laid to lawns with flower beds
  • Seating available
  • Gravel footpaths (some with raised edging)
  • No lighting during the night

Additional Information

  • Fire procedure is displayed in each room and explained to guests on arrival. Guests requiring assistance at an evacuation are identified at this time and door hanger cards are issued on request. An under-pillow vibrating pad is available on request
  • A fridge is available in the first floor lounge for storing medication
  • Good signage for fire escape routes
  • One bedroom key issued per room (second key available on request)
  • Assistance dogs accompanying visually or hearing impaired guests are welcome; dogs must be kept on a lead or harness at all times
  • Information can be provided in large print
  • Staff has had disability awareness training

Holiday itinerary

Planned Itinerary

Caerleon to Usk

We begin amid the ruins of the Roman fortress of Isca with impressive Roman Baths and amphitheatre, before crossing the ancient bridge over the tidal Usk to the official start of the trail. We pass through the Celtic Manor golf course, traverse Kemeys Graig through the western edge of the former Wentwood hunting forest, pass the mansion of Bertholey House and drop down into the valley near Newbridge on Usk. We ascend Cefn Hill for wonderful views of the Usk Valley, before returning to the Valley bottom at Llantrisant, from where we follow field paths and lanes to the small historic market town of Usk.  12 miles (19km), with 1,210 feet (363m) of ascent.

Usk to Llanellen

From Usk we head upstream to Estavarney Estate, which was worked by Cistercian monks from Tintern Abbey during the 13th – 15th centuries. We cross the unusual Chain Bridge to the east bank of the river, passing below Coed y Bwnydd (topped by an Iron Age hillfort), by the imposing mansion of Bryn-derwen and through the National Trust’s Clytha Estate. After a short section of road, our route continues through riverside fields, with ever improving views of Skirrid Fawr, Sugar Loaf and Blorenge. Re-crossing the river brings us to Llanellen, where some of Cromwell’s soldiers are buried in the small churchyard. 13¼ miles (21km), with 425 feet (127m) of ascent.

Rest Day

A day without any walks programmed, giving you the opportunity to explore the local area independently

Llanellen to Crickhowell

Leaving Llanellen, we ascend to the Monmouthshire and Brecon Canal and follow the towpath, passing Llanfoist Wharf, where Hill’s Tramroad, constructed in about 1825 from the ironworks at Blaenavon, comes around the side of Blorenge and down four inclined planes to join the canal. (To picture the scene as it was in the early 1800s, read Alexander Cordell’s novel “Rape of the Fair Country”). With Abergavenny and the River Usk below us we continue through Govilon to Gilwern, once the Canal Company headquarters and a busy tramroad terminus. The Usk Valley narrows and the scenery becomes more mountainous across to the Black Mountains. We continue to Llangattock wharf with its impressive lime kilns and tramroad terminus, and then walk down through the village and across the picture postcard bridge over the Usk, to finish our walk at Crickhowell. 10¼ miles (16.5km), with 295 feet (88m) of ascent.

Llangattock to Talybont-on-Usk

From Llangattock we enjoy views to Table Mountain and pick out Gwern Vale Manor, the birthplace of Sir George Everest, Surveyor-General of India, whose name was given to the world’s highest mountain. Passing the quaint hamlet of Dardy, we ascend a steep track with views of the Llangattock Escarpment. We cross fields, looking down on the Glanusk estate and up the Rhiangoll Valley towards Mynydd Troed and Mynydd Llangorse. Another steep ascent brings us to one of the walk high points, about 1,000 feet above sea level, before we return to the canal, passing the medieval manor of Pen-y-bryn. The canal meanders along and on to the hamlet of Cwmcrawnon, with a flight of five locks. We continue on the tree-lined towpath to the 375 yard long Ashford Tunnel. There is no towpath through the tunnel and we walk over the top. In the days before powered boats, the horses would be led over the top and the boatman would lie on his back and “leg” the boat through the tunnel by pressing his feet against the roof. Our destination is Talybont-on-Usk, with its interesting canal artefacts and canal-side inns or tearoom. 10 miles (16km), with 985 feet (295m) of ascent.

Llandetty to Brecon

From Llandetty church we rejoin the footpath at the canal. We continue upwards, across fields, to a viewpoint above Talybont Reservoir where we can look across to the Central Beacons. We descend across fields and down the 1815 Brinore Tramroad. We are now in the Caerfanell Valley, crossing over the line of the former Brecon to Merthyr railway, before ascending on field paths to the edge of the Talybont Forest. We return to the canal towpath at Pencelli, and easy walking brings us to Brynich where a four-arched stone aqueduct, built by Thomas Dadford in 1797, takes the canal across the River Usk. The towpath crosses to the west bank at Brynich, where we also pass the last lock. Soon we are on the outskirts of Brecon and the canal ends in the attractive Theatre Basin. The canal is fed by water from the River Usk which flows through a culvert under the streets from a weir half a mile up river from the basin. The official route finishes in the town centre but a short walk to view the weir is worthwhile. 13 miles (21km), with 1,280 feet (384m) of ascent.

The itinerary may be subject to change at the discretion of the leader with regard to the weather and other external factors 

Local area

During your stay at Nythfa House you may enjoy visiting the following places of interest, either in your free time, or on your journey to and from Brecon:

Brecon is a quaint market town at the foot of the Brecon Beacons; an area of sweeping high moorland, and beautiful green valleys. The town has a good  range of facilities including shops, supermarkets, post office, chemists, banks, pubs and cafés. During your stay you may enjoy visiting Brecon Cathedral or take a scenic cruise from Brecon along the Monmouthshire and Brecon canal. www.breconcathedral.org.uk or www.dragonfly-cruises.co.uk

Big Pit Mining Museum
Travel underground at the excellent Big Pit museum in Blaenavon and discover the life of a South Wales coal miner. Blaenavon is around 45 minutes' drive from Brecon. www.museumwales.ac.uk/en/bigpit

Hay-on-Wye
The quaint small town of Hay-on-Wye is about 30 minutes' drive from Brecon, and can also be reached by bus every 2 hours. The town is now famed for its annual literary festival, and extensive selection of second-hand book shops.

Hereford
Hereford is an attractive city, around an hour's drive from Brecon, whose cathedral houses the famous Mappa Mundi, a 12th century map of the world. www.herefordcathedral.org

Dan yr Orgof Caves
An impressive show-cave, one of the largest in Europe, with fine stalactites and stalagmites. The caves are around 30 minutes' drive from Brecon. www.showcaves.co.uk

Tretower Court
Located near the village of Crickhowell, about 20 minutes' drive from Brecon, Tretower Court is a fine Medieval fortified manor house. www.cadw.wales.gov.uk

Cardiff
The vibrant Welsh capital of Cardiff is also around 40 miles or 1 hour’s drive from Brecon. A visit could include the St Fagan’s National History Museum, Castell Coch, or the National Museum. www.visitcardiff.com

Travel

Nythfa House, Brecon, Powys, LD3 7NN

By train: The most convenient railway station is at Abergavenny. For train times and general rail enquiries visit www.nationalrail.co.uk or call 03457 484950 (from outside the UK call +44 20 7278 5240).

By taxi: The 20 mile journey from Abergavenny railway station takes approximately 45 minutes. Taxis cost approx £35 per taxi. Every year we negotiate a pre-booked rate for these journeys. Details of our current recommended taxi company and rates will be sent to you with your booking. We recommend pre-booking your taxi and the taxi company will arrange shared taxis wherever possible. The return taxi journey can be arranged on your behalf by the Nythfa House Manager.

By car: Most guests approach Brecon via the A40 from Abergavenny or the A470 from the northwest. These two roads converge at a roundabout on the Brecon bypass. At the roundabout follow the B4601 into Brecon. Pass the army barracks on your right, then turn right at the mini-roundabout (B4601). Continue ahead at the second mini-roundabout. Turn right at the traffic lights (B4602), then take the first left into Bell View Gardens. Take the next road on the right, then at the next T junction turn left. The drive to Nythfa House is ahead on the right. Look out for our sign. A car park is available in the grounds with free parking.

To help you plan your journey, use www.traveline.info

Reviews

Date & Rating Customer Review HF Holidays says
11 Jul 2016, 11:21 a.m.

Service rating:

++

Product rating:

+

Service review:

As usual.

Product review:

Excellent manager and support staff. Poor signposted trail which did not add to the enjoyment of the holiday. Accommodation only adequate.
8 Jul 2015, 4:31 p.m.

Service rating:

++

Product rating:

++

Service review:

The best provider of walking holidays in the UK

Product review:

Excellent accommodation and friendly staff. Good food, perhaps too many vegetables which must have been thrown away.

Walk leader very professional and able to respond to any circumstances.

Organisation of the holiday was excellent
Thank you for leaving feedback following your recent Guided Walking break to Brecon. We're so glad you think we're the best provider of walking holidays in the UK, we aim to please. We look forward to welcoming you back again soon.

HF Holidays Ltd.

Dates & Prices

Date Description Nights Brochure price Buy today for Book
16 Jun 2017 BRLUV - Usk Valley Walk 7 £839.00 £669.00 Top offer £170 off pp Book Now
6 Oct 2017 BRLUV - Usk Valley Walk 7 £769.00 £599.00 Top offer £170 off pp Book Now

Prices are per person

Information

  • Standard single room: (2016) £8 per night; (2017) no supplement
  • Premium single room: £15 per night (2017 only)
  • Premium twin/double room: (2016) £5 per person per night; (2017) £10 per person per night
  • Non-member associate fee: (2016) £5 per person; (2017) £10 per person

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