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The Wye Valley, Vale of Usk and the Brecon Beacons National Park are all areas of outstanding and unique beauty that you are unlikely to find Kids by the riveranywhere else in the country, and on this page we hope you will find some inspiration to explore and enjoy this beautiful part of the country that we call home.


Humble by Nature - TV presenter and writer Kate Humble and husband TV producer Ludo Graham are enthusiastic smallholders who run courses in Rural Skills and Animal Husbandry from their working farm that will teach you everything from how to keep happy, healthy animals to how to lay a hedge, make amazing sausages or turn honeysuckle into sorbet!

Kather's Kitchen - Kather is an experienced and accomplished cook and runs informative, fun, one-day farm-inspired cooking courses based at Humble by Nature (see above). Whether you’re a keen novice wanting to kick start your new passion for cooking or someone who cooks regularly but needs some fresh ideas, she will inspire you with a range of fabulous food using top quality ingredients with a seasonal bias. And if that doesn't get us invited round for dinner again, we'll just turn up anyway.

Study Sculpture (Abergavenny) - Simon Cooley has been teaching for 30 years and is and always has been a working sculptor. Along with his wife, Anna, he runs these hugely popular sculpting courses which have, at their roots, skills which are traditional yet contemporary. Most are suitable for complete beginners and come highly recommended by our guests.

Chapel Cottage Studio & Gallery at Llanddewi Rhydderch, Abergavenny, NP7 9TT 01873 840282 www.chapelcottagestudio.co.uk run many Art classes, Workshops and Events just a few miles away.


Folly Farm (Kilgetty) - This is a bit of a drive from The Old Rectory but well worth it. Folly Farm has everything - farm animal and exotic creature displays, an enormous indoor funfair with every vintage ride imaginable, a HUGE indoor play area with super slides, netted overhead platforms, themed play areas and refreshment stands, multiple outdoor adventure playground areas featuring a go-karting circuit, working mini-JCBs with cranes, wooden pirate ships, shows, children's activities, entertainment - the list goes on and on. Awarded 'Top Day Out in Wales 2005' by the Welsh Tourist Board. Telephone 01834 812731 .

Falconry visitBlack Mountains Falconry Centre (Abergavenny) - Flying displays featuring more than 50 birds of prey from all over the World (eagles, falcons, hawks, buzzards, owls and many, many more). There is also an Animal Pet Corner, where the kids can cuddle goats, the Shetland pony, Guinea pigs, etc. Telephone 01873 850 377.

Kingdom Come (Abergavenny) - Children's Activity and Soft Play centre in Abergavenny. This is the closest indoor play centre to the Old Rectory. Ideal for those cold, wet windy days. Telephone 01873 858174.

Greenmeadow Community Farm (Cwmbran) - Greenmeadow Farm has a pets corner featuring a wide variety of animals for young visitors to meet, including sheep, goats, cattle, tortoises, deer and chickens. Children can watch the cows being milked and feed the lambs with a bottle. There are also tractor and trailer rides, an adventure playground, an expansive free play area and acres of ground to explore (including a woodland walk and a ‘Wild Workout’ trail). Telephone 01633 647662.

Big Pit National Coal Museum (Blaenafon) - Big Pit is a real coal mine and one of Britain's leading mining museums. In addition to the exhibition there is an exciting multi-media tour of a modern coal mine (complete with virtual miner) and a World-famous real underground tour that goes 300 feet underground (with a real miner!). Experience what life was like for the thousands of men who worked at the coal face. An exciting and informative family day out and a real must on your visit to Wales. Telephone 01495 790 311.

Caldicot Castle and Country Park (Caldicot) - Children will love exploring the mediaeval towers of Caldicot whilst the adults take in the breath-taking views over the parklands and surrounding area from the battlements of this, one of Wales' best kept secrets. Lovingly restored to much of its original condition, Caldicot is exceptionally well cared-for by its present owners, who have now opened it to the public. A beautiful setting amid tranquil Caldicott Castlegardens and a wooded country park, with plenty for the the kids to do all year round. Telephone 01291 420241

Zoopadoopa (Cwmbran) - Cwmbran's Premier Childrens Activity Centre, housed within the exciting new leisure development in Cwmbran town centre, Zoopadoopa offers children the chance to play, interact, learn, and explore in a fun, safe and stimulating family environment. Zoopadoopa features a fantastic multi-level zoo themed play frame (suitable for the over fours) as well as a 'Toddler and Baby' area, multi-purpose sports court and a role play car track. Telephone 01633 861916.

Beacon Park Boats (Abergavenny) - Day boat on the canalExperience the magic of the Monmouthshire & Brecon Canal with Beacon Park Boats. Whether you're interested in a fortnight-long canal cruise, a day trip up the Usk to Talybont or Pencelli, or just want to spend a relaxing hour or two at the tiller of your own exceptionally quiet electric narrowboat, Beacon Park Boats will have something to suit you. No better way exists to discover the incomparable beauty of the 'Mon & Brec'. Telephone 01873 858277.

Brecon Mountain Railway (Merthyr Tydfil) - There are few better ways to enjoy the beautiful scenery of the Brecon Beacons National Park than sitting in an all-weather coach being drawn behind a vintage steam locomotive on this, one of the most popular narrow-gauge railways in Wales. Telephone 01685 722988.

Cantref (Brecon)
- Cantref doubles as a riding centre but also happens to be the UK Farm attraction of the year, and it's easy to see why. The admission price includes everything - live farm animal shows every half hour (including lamb feeding, sheep shearing, pet handling etc), trailer rides, paddle boats, electric tractors, pig-racing, an indoor play zone (with two big slides) and Europe's longest sledge ride (very popular with the adults too) - a fun packed day out for the whole family. Telephone 01874 665 223.


WalkingAbergavenny is the gateway to The Brecon Beacons National Park (the major centre for walking in South West Britain) and itself is almost surrounded by mountains and hills (seven of them, to be precise). As an area the Brecons and The Black Mountains offer an entrancing diversity of scenery, from untamed crags and windswept moorland to the gentle rolling farmland of the lowlands and tranquil river valleys. In total there are over 1250 miles of public footpaths criss-crossing the 519 square miles of mountains, moors, forests, lakes and valleys that make up the National Park. Offa's Dyke Path passes close by and the Marches Way, the Beacons Way and Usk Valley Walk (which you can pick up at the foot of our meadow) all pass through Abergavenny, making it a central point for hikers and fell walkers visiting Wales. The Wye Valley and the Forest of Dean are also within striking distance.
Sugarloaf (Mynydd Pen-y-Fâl - 596m), The Blorenge (Blorens - 559m), Skirrid Fawr (known locally also as 'Saint Michael's Mount' or 'The Holy Mountain', Ysgyrd Fawr - 486m), Table Mountain (Crug Hywel - 451m), and Pen Cerrig-calch (701m) are all easily accessible from The Old Rectory, with walking thereon to suit all abilities and tastes. Whether you prefer traversing fast flowing river gorges, tackling rock-strewn mountain ridges or negotiating thickly forested waterfall country, you'll find a walk here to suit you. Just remember to bring a stout pair of boots! For ideas and further inspiration on planning interesting walks in the local area try the Official Walking Wales Website or Paul Benham's excellent online guide 'Walks Around Abergavenny', to be found here.


CanoeingCanoeing is a wonderful way to see and enjoy the Rivers of Wales and the surrounding countryside. The Usk is really only available during the winter months (because of the fishing season) but the river Wye is available pretty much all year round. If you plan on using your own canoe it's a good idea to check on the access requirements and other relevant river information with the river Usk and river Wye Access Officers, or with British Waterways if you plan on canoeing on the Mon and Brec, but there are a host of companies you can turn to who offer a turnkey service, offering canoes and kayaks for hire as well as all the other equipment you will need as well as expert tuition, tips and advice. We recommend Monmouth Canoe and Canoe The Wye.


Live life more adventurously with a day out at Go Ape! in the Forest of Dean - the UK’s number one forest adventure. Navigate a tree- top obstacle course that is both substantial and physically testing or just monkey around in the woods with your friends and family. It's all about taking to the trees, getting close to Nature, challenging yourself, and having fun, so go on, get in touch with your inner Tarzan.


The opportunities for off-road cycling in and around The Old Rectory are second to none. Wales, in particular the Brecon Beacons National Park, is widely held to be one of the top ten mountain biking destinations in the world, with an abundance of varied forestry tracks for wet, Winter rides and more challenging routes over the mountains and fells during the Summer months. If you prefer a more sedate pace, you could spend many happy hours on a roadbike or tourer simply exploring the countless miles of country lanes in and around the area (and the countless country pubs)! For family out, we recommend cycling in the Forest of Dean.
Pedalabikeway (Forest of Dean) - With a wide range of bikes available, from Trail Bikes to Trikes, and Tandems to Trailerbikes and Tagalongs, these guys are THE people to go to if you're planning a day out cycling in the Forest of Dean. Families can take a ride on their easy-going 'family cycle trail', whilst the more adventurous (or mentally unstable) among you can grab a mountain bike and go cross-country or on a more challenging range of downhill routes. They'll even give you a lift to the top of the mountain.
Bike Base (Abergavenny) - for those with a bug for more serious off-road cycling, contact Andy Langston to buy or rent from his wide selection of hard tail or full suspension mountain bikes. Handy route maps are also freely available for download from this website. Telephone Andy on 01873 855999.


The Sgwd yr Eira Ystradfellte waterfall, Brecon Beacons

Wales is waterfall country! The Vale of Neath and the Brecon Beacons in particular boast some of the most spectacular waterfalls you can see in the UK. On your visit to us you must try and take the time to see the Henrhyd Waterfall, Swallow Falls, Aber Falls, and the enchanting Pistyll Rhaeadr waterfall, deep in the Berwyn Mountains, which (at 240ft high) is the UK's tallest single drop waterfall and one of the Seven Wonders of Wales.


Over the years Wales has played host to countless prestigious golf tournaments and boasts numerous championship-standard golf courses. The intensely varied terrain which makes up the very landscape of Wales means there should be a course for every golfer here, so whether your preference is for challenging links, immaculate parkland, lofty clifftops or rolling hills, you should be able to find something here to pique your interest and test your mettle. The courses listed below are all local to the Old Rectory, feature spectacular scenery and should provide a suitable challenge whatever your skill level.

The Celtic Manor Resort (Newport) - In 2010, Wales played host to the biggest golf tournament of them all - the Ryder Cup - and this is where it took place. Also home to the annual Celtic Manor Resort Wales Open, Celtic Manor offers three of the finest golf courses in the UK and has a world-class golf academy, practice range, golf shop, teaching bays and two luxurious golf clubhouses. Need we say more? Telephone 01633 413000.
Wernddu Golf Club (Abergavenny) - Wernddu features an undulating parkland course with magnificent views over Abergavenny and the Black Mountains. A challenging round of golf for golfers of all standards.Telephone 01873 856223.
Monmouthshire Golf Club - (Llanfoist, Abergavenny) - Eighteen-hole course, practice putting green, large practice area and driving nets. Beautiful parkland setting with sweeping mountain views.Telephone 01873 852606.
The Rolls of Monmouth Golf Club (The Hendre, Monmouth) - Championship course set in suberb countryside with spectacular views of the Welsh hills. One of the most outstanding golf courses, not just in Wales, but the whole of the UK.Telephone 01600 715353.
Alice Springs Golf Club (Usk) - An elegant 36-hole course set in the beautiful vale of Usk with spectacular views of the surrounding countryside, Alice Springs is a genuine ALL WEATHER course (they rarely close). Closest to the Old Rectory. Telephone 01873 880708.
Greenmeadow Golf and Country Club (Cwmbran) - an 18-hole, par 70, parkland course that measures over 6,000 yards, with many tree-lined undulating fairways, scenic water hazards and many strategically positioned bunkers. Excellent greens that are are playable all year round. A good test for any category of golfer, in spectacular surroundings. Telephone 01633 862626
Raglan Parc Golf Club (Raglan) - set in the heart of rural Monmouthshire, Raglan Parc features 18 holes of rolling parkland, combining lakes and mature trees with arguably some of the best holes in the region. The course overlooks historic Raglan Castle with scenic views of the Brecon Beacons National Park beyond. Telephone 01291 690077.


Fly fishing is available and Mrs Sweet's shop in Usk is where to buy a license. She also sells flies, line and other equipment.


There are few gooAd climbing opportunties close to the Old Rectory, however a number of outdoor adventure specialists in the Brecon Beacons area can provide visitors with taster sessions or climbing tuition on good single pitch faces locally, or guided day outs on the classic multi-pitch climbs and scrambles of Snowdonia or North Wales.
Llangorse Climbing Centre (Brecon) - with a bouldering area, artificial and natural rock climbing walls, rope bridges, log climbs, caving, abseiling and a zip line, Llangorse Climbing Centre offers a variety of climbing activities for the novice and experienced climber alike. Telephone 01874 658584. Caving
Beacon Climbing Centre (Caernarfon) - North Wales' most popular indoor climbing centre, and one of the UK's best, with over 1,000 square metres of 12 metre high climbing area, wiith opportunities for leading, top-roping, and bouldering available. The Centre also boasts a beginners' area with abseil ledge, a training area and more. Telephone 01286 650045.

The Brecon Beacons National Park encompasses some of the most important and complex cave systems in Europe, which draws pot-holing and caving enthusiasts from all parts of the UK and beyond. Systems such as the well known Llangattock Escarpment (which dominates the landscape above the Usk valley heading South from Crickhowell), Clydach Gorge and the Central Northern Outcrop are only a short drive from the Old Rectory, but if you are a relative novice there are many specialists in the Brecons area who offer caving courses suitable for the beginner and the more experienced caver alike. You should be mindful that caving can be a hazardous activity and you should not consider visiting any cave without being accompanied by a qualified instructor or of course carrying the proper equipment. Some of the more extensive cave systems in Wales can only be accessed with the prior permission of local caving clubs and their experience and advice can prove invaluable. Advice, access to caves and membership details may be obtained from any of the clubs listed below.
Cwmbran Caving Club (Cwmbran) - A friendly, family-orientated group of cavers who welcome anyone who is interested in getting into caving or potholing. Based 'on the doorstep' of many of the caves detailed on their website, they have extensive experience of the local caving scene and would be delighted to share it with new members.
Brynmawr Caving Club (Brynmawr) - Another friendly local caving club, with (probably) the second largest membership in South Wales. If you are interested in discovering more about the diverse, often awesome, frequently beautiful, underground world that exists near to Brynmawr, then take full advantage of the wealth of experience this club makes available to their members. Failing that, you could just join them for a beer. They like beer.
The South Wales Caving Club (Penwyllt) - The SWCC Headquarters and caving hut is a converted terrace of 10 small cottages in the upper Swansea Valley, on the southern edge of the Black Mountain. They have 300+ members from all around the UK and overseas, but visiting cavers are most welcome to stay. Directly below their headquarters lies Ogof Ffynnon Ddu and directly across the valley is Dan-yr-Ogof, two very extensive cave systems.


Riding is one of the most enjoyable (and least strenous!) ways of exploring the beautiful countryside and stunning views offered by the Brecon Beacons and The Black Mountains, and there are any number of bridleways that will take you high up onto the steepest slopes or over the gently rolling moors of South Wales. There are a large number of excellent stables in the area, most of which cater for riders of any age and experience. Typically both half or full days rides are available at very reasonable cost, but advance booking is recommended. Here are just a couple of the riiding centres we have used personally and which are available to you during your stay with us.
Golden Castle (Llangattock) - Telephone 01873 812649
Llanthony Riding and Trekking Centre (Llanthony) - Telephone 01873 890359


If you prefer to back horses rather than ride on the back of them, this bit's just for you. Good luck picking a winner.

Chepstow - The closest course to the Old Rectory, Chepstow is situated on the Chepstow to Monmouth road, not far from the Severn Bridge. It plays host to a mixture of Jump and Flat race meetings over the course of the Season, with a variety of weekend, evening, Bank Holiday and midweek fixtures. Also the proud home of the Welsh National. Telephone 01291 622260.

Hereford - situated on the edge of the Cathedral City that forms a natural gateway to the idyllic Brecon Countryside, Hereford Racecourse stages 14 exciting National Hunt race meetings every year. Ladies Day (held every year in June) is the glamorous Pinnacle event for any Herefordian. Telephone 01432 273560.

Cheltenham - it's not strictly speaking in Wales, but if you don't mind a slightly longer drive it really isn't far, and I have to mention it for no other reason than to brag that on one day at the Gold Cup I managed to back not one winner, not two winners, but EVERY winner in every single race. Every. Single. Race. Well, I was impressed.


Monmouthshire (Sir Fynwy) - formerly Gwent - is border country and has a particularly rich military heritage to prove it. It is due to its strategic location that the area has such an abundance of castles and other fortifications, the remnants of wars and struggles in days gone by. There are, in fact, more castles and fortresses to be found in Monmouthshire than anywhere else in the country, from the awe inspiring grandeur of Raglan and Caldicot to the beauty of Usk and Abergavenny Castles, they speak of a less settled time in our nation's history when fierce battles were fought over the Welsh Marches. Old market towns such as Chepstow, Monmouth, Abergavenny and Usk clearly show English as well as Welsh influences, having all swapped sides numerous times during these conflicts.

Grosmont Castle (Grosmont, near Abergavenny) - spectacular views can be enjoyed from the ramparts and tower of this, one of the most strategically important castles built to try and control the volatile Marches area on the border of Herefordshire and Wales. Admission to this Castle is free (open site).

Chepstow Castle (Chepstow) - set high upon cliffs overlooking the River Wye, Chepstow Castle is the oldest surviving stone fortification in Britain, and was in its time without doubt the most strategically important of all the castles built along the English-Welsh border, where it guarded the main river crossing from Southern England into Wales. Telephone 01291 624065.

Raglan Castle (Raglan, Usk) - The closest castle to The Old Rectory, but well worth visiting no matter where you're staying. On the Castlewales website Jeff Thomas writes "If you ever travel to south Wales, make seeing Raglan Castle your number one priority. If necessary, drop all other plans, just don't miss seeing Raglan" We agree. The kids will love it, and adults can enjoy the great views over the Usk Valley from the top of the tower. Telephone 01792 390359.

Oh, I almost forgot, not in any way castle-related, but as you're in Raglan anyway you must go to Neil James (the local butcher), join the queue of savvy locals, and buy some of their award-winning faggots. Yes, FAGGOTS. I know what you're thinking, but trust me. You'll be glad you did.

Caldicot Castle (Caldicot) - explore the mediaeval towers and take in the breath-taking views over the parklands and surrounding area from the battlements of this, one of Wales' best kept secrets. Lovingly restored to much of its original condition, Caldicot is well cared for by its present owners, who have now opened it to the public. Ideal for children. Telephone 01291 420241.

White Castle (Abergavenny) - originally called Llantilio Castle (after Llantilio Crossenny, the mediæval manor which it was a part of) White Castle was one of the 'Castles of the Trilateral' located in the Monnow Valley (modern-day Monmouthshire). Superb views of the rolling countryside surrounding the castle and Skirrid mountain in the distance. Admission to this Castle is free during the Winter months (open site).

Usk Castle - Usk has always had a history of military, strategic and local significance (the Romans established their early Legionary fortress here before relocating south to nearby Caerleon) and Usk Castle has seen significant conflict over the centuries, having changed hands many times. The remains at Usk are quite substantial and well worth a visit. There's a rather good fish and chip shop too! Telephone 01291 672 563.

Abergavenny Castle & Museum (in Abergavenny, funnily enough) - with four-storey towers and impressively tall curtain walls (much of which still stand to this day), Abergavenny Castle enjoyed commanding views over the Usk Valley in its day and must have been an impressive sight (and a rather daunting one, to potential aggressors). Although a ruin, it is still very picturesque, especially against the spectacular backdrop of mountains that surround the town, and now also houses Abergavenny Museum, which presents the story of this historic market town from prehistoric times right through to the present day. The museum also contains an activity Room for children, where there is the opportunity to colour, cut and stick. At certain times they also offer workshops led by museum staff. Admission is free. Telephone 01873 854282.

Skenfrith Castle (Skenfrith) - the curtain wall at Skenfrith (Ynysgynwraidd) stands almost as high now as it did in the 13th century, and the remains are still impressive. It also acts as the start point for the popular 'Three Castles Walk', an 18-mile way-marked circular route that passes through rolling countryside to White Castle, then to the ruins of Grosmont Castle. Admission to this Castle is free (open site). Telephone 01874 625515.


St Mary's Priory Church (Abergavenny)
- St Mary's Priory Church serves as parish church for the town and community of Abergavenny. The Church has been described as one of the finest parish churches in Wales. It is certainly also one of the largest, and is home to some superb monuments and sculptures, said to be among the most important collections of any parish church in the whole of Britain. Telephone 01873 853168.

Tintern Abbey (Tintern) - the spectacular ruins of Tintern Abbey sit in a particularly picturesque setting adjacent to the River Wye and surrounded by tree-lined hills, making it an extremely popular destination for tourists and other visitors to the Wye Valley. The inspiration for Wordsworth's 'Lines composed a few miles above Tintern Abbey' it is a must see if you are in the area. Telephone 01291 689251.

Llanthony Priory (Llanthony) - the impressive remains of a partly ruined Augustinian priory dating back to the early 12th century, Llanthony Priory is widely acknowledged to be one of the great surviving medieval buildings still to be found in Wales. It is just seven miles north of Abergavenny, nestled deep in the Black Mountains. Admission is free. Telephone 02920 826185.

Monmouth Priory (Monmouth) - traditionally connected with Geoffrey of Monmouth whose 'History of the Kings of Britain' chronicles the coming of Christianity, the departure of the Romans and the legends of King Arthur. A unique and beautiful building, the Priory has now been fully restored and improved as an amenity for the local community, acting as a centre for hospitality, prayer and study for the entire town of Monmouth. Telephone 01600 712034.


Within a few miles of the Old Rectory there are such a large number of gardens that are open to the general public that we've chosen to list only the very closest (and in our opinion, the best)! A much more comprehensive listing of Open Gardens can be found over at the NGS website.


The Borough Theatre (Abergavenny) - Situated on the top floor of the Victorian town hall building (which dates back to 1870), The Borough Theatre is a 338-seat venue situated in the centre of Abergavenny, the traditional Gateway To Wales. Extensively renovated in the early 1990s, its intimate auditorium affords excellent sightlines and acoustics, succesfully blending historic and traditional features with a modern ambience. The Beatles played here in June, 1963. Telephone 01873 850805

The Riverfront Theatre
- Part of a modern, thriving arts centre, the 493-seat capacity Riverfront Theatre is fully equipped to present the best the arts and entertainment world has to offer, with a diverse live entertainment programme covering comedy, opera, dance, music and drama. Telephone 01633 656679.

Baker Street Cinema in Abergavenny boasts two screens and offers all the latest releases in comfortable surroundings with Dolby Digital Sound - and only £6.50 a seat. It's also wheelchair accesible. If you prefer a multiplex these can be found a little further afield at Cwmbran and Newport.


Monmouth There are any number of bustling market towns within a short drive of the Old Rectory, all of which you will find listed below with links to their respective community internet portals and other websites you may find of interest. Many of Wales’ most charming market towns follow the Welsh border as it snakes its way up from the southern Wye Valley to the North Wales coastline, and the Old Rectory makes an ideal base from which to explore if you are planning an extended tour of this area. You will find whilst driving round Wales that most road signs list town names in both Welsh and English, but just in case we have listed both here for you, with the Welsh town names shown in brackets.

Abergavenny (Y Fenni) - The nearest market town to The Old Rectory is, of course, Abergavenny, the traditional 'Gateway to Wales'. Positioned at the confluence of the River Usk and the Gavenny stream which gives it its name, this historic town is situated just south of the incomparable Brecon Beacons National Park. Abergavenny is almost surrounded by mountains, being shadowed by the summits of Sugar Loaf, Ysgyryd Fawr and the Blorenge. The ruined 11th century Abergavenny castle is probably the most famous landmark worth exploring here, and was the scene of an infamous massacre in 1175. Abergavenny sits in the Usk Valley at the very head of the great South Wales 'Head of the Valleys Road' stretching from Abergavenny in the East all the way through to Neath in the West. Home to the annual Abergavenny Food Festival, which takes place every year in September, the Abergavenny Steam Rally (held every year in May), and the monthly farmers market.

Brecon (Aberhonddu) - The historic market town of Brecon nestles in the shadow of the majestic Brecon Beacons and enjoys scenery that is both beautiful and stunning. Whether your stay is a long one or a short one, whether you seek peace and quiet or excitement and adventure, Brecon has something to offer. The World-famous International Brecon Jazz Festival is held here every August and attracts Jazz enthusiasts from all over the world. The town also hosts a regular farmers market.

Crickhowell (Crug Hywel) - Crickhowell is a thriving market town in the Usk Valley, nestled between the Black Mountains and the sweeping Brecon Beacons. Just across the striking 17th Century bridge from Langattock, it lies in the shadow of the flat-topped summit of Crug Hywel, the mountain which shares the town's name. Worth exploring whilst you are there are the remains of a Norman Castle within the parkland in the town centre, an interesting 16th Century church (St Edmund's) and The Bear Hotel, a former coaching inn that dates back to 1432. Crick is also home to the Crickhowell Festival, held each year in February and March - nine solid days of fantastic guided walks in the area, ranging from tough all-day treks across the Black Mountains to gentle strolls along quiet valley roads and undisturbed lowland pathways. Visitors to Crickhowell are treated to spectacular views over the surrounding Welsh hills, including Table Mountain to the North. Crickhowell is, quite simply, a delightfully pretty town in what is arguably the most beautiful valley in the entire National Park.

Monmouth (Trefynwy) - Home to the Monmouth Festival, Monmouth is an elegant and historic market town occupying an enviable location at the confluence of three rivers - the Trothy, the Monnow and the Wye. It has bridges over both the River Monnow and the River Wye, indeed the World-famous 13th Century Norman-fortified Monnow Bridge (complete with portcullis and gatehouse) is the only surviving one in Britain. Home to the Monmouth Show, the town also boasts many fine Georgian and Tudor houses (the most prominent of which is Shire Hall, dating back to 1724), a museum of Admiral Nelson memorabilia and the cobbled Agincourt Square, which is itself surrounded by historical buildings.

Raglan (Rhaglan) - The village of Raglan lies in the centre of Monmouthshire, between the two valleys of the Wye and the Usk. Perhaps most famous for its majestic castle (without question the finest late medieval fortress in Britain, dating back to the 15th century), visitors to Raglan today are also drawn to Raglan for its vibrant music and dance festival, the Raglan Music Festival, which takes place every year in June. A variety of concerts take place, from rock, jazz, and blues to classical artists, culminating in star-studded performances each evening at the Beaufort Arms Hotel.

Usk (Brynbuga) - Taking its name from the river which runs through the town, Usk boasts a wealth of antique and arts and craft shops and numerous pubs, hotels, cafes and restaurants to cater for the many thousands of visitors who every year make the journey to this delightfully attractive and picturesque town nestled amidst the Monmouthshire countryside. It boasts many historic features, including the remains of an ancient Norman castle, and hosts the Usk Winter Festival every year in December and a regular and well-attended farmers market.


Newport Transporter Bridge(Newport) - One of the few transport bridges still in existence, and currently closed for repairs, this unique listed structure was built across the River Usk in 1906 and enabled the industrial development on the east bank of the Usk. At the turn of the centurty it was regarded as a milestone in civil engineering, it remains an awe-inspiring and imposing sight to this day. One of Newport's major tourist attractions. Telephone 01633 250322.

Ty Gwyn Cider (Crossways) - Ty Gwyn cider is a Welsh farm cider made from apples grown here in Wales. It is made on their farm in the Monnow Valley where they have been growing cider apples for almost forty years. Their cider has won several prestigious awards including a gold medal at the Leeds Beer, Cider and Perry Festival and a bronze medal from the Welsh Cider and Perry Association. It is sold direct from the farm, in local supermarkets and also in a number of award winning gastro pubs and restaurants including The Bell at Skenfrith and the Felin Fach Griffin. tasting is available on the premises. Telephone 01600 750287.

RedDog Gallery (Usk) - Housed in an old converted barn, the RedDog Gallery Shop is surrounded by the stunning countryside of Monmouthshire, selling high quality gifts and artefacts. They specialise in limited edition art and craftwork from both international and local artists and craftspeople, and their cafe serves Organic Fairtrade coffee and tea and homebaked cakes. The brainchild of Marianne Sparrenius-Waters, the Reddog Gallery is the closest arts and crafts gallery to the Old Rectory, and well worth a visit. Telephone 01873 880100.

Blaenavon (Blaenafon) - If you're keenly interested in our industrial heritage you may already be aware that in 2000 Blaenavon Industrial Landscape was inscribed as as a World Heritage Site by UNESCO. Today Blaenavon tells the story of her past in a variety of ways. With the The Blaenavon Workmen’s' Hall and Institute, Pontypool and Blaenavon Railway, Blaenavon Ironworks, Big Pit National Coal Museum, St Peters Church, the Cordell Museum and Blaenavon World Heritage Centre, not to mention the historic town of Blaenavon itself to explore all on this same site, you'd be hard pressed to squeeze it all into a week, let alone one day! Telephone 01495 742333.

Roman Legionary Museum, Roman Baths and Amphitheatre(Caerleon) - Many people believe Caerleon to be the true location of King Arthur's 'Camelot', but what we know for certain is that Caerleon was the site of a notable Roman legionary fortress as well as being an Iron Age hill fort. Visitors to the area can now explore and marvel at the substantial excavated Roman remains here, which include a military amphitheatre, Roman baths and the barracks occupied by the Roman Legion originally stationed on this site. Telephone 01633 423134.

Downey Barn Gallery (Cwmyoy) - Caroline Downey is an award-winning local artist who exhibits and sells her original prints and paintings of the area in a renovated old coach house nestled deep in the heart of the Llanthony Valley. Enjoy a visit, meet the artist herself and capture the rural atmosphere of this charming, traditional 'barn gallery' perched on a hillside amid beautifully landscaped gardens. Telephone 01873 890993.

Abbey Mill Wye Valley Centre (Tintern) - The award-winning Wye Valley Centre acts as a centre for local craftsmen to display and merchant their wares. Visitors to the Centre can see a diverse range of crafts on display from wood turnings to china painting, wirework, needlework, soap design, coal craft and resin jewellery, to name but a few. Every type of hand-crafted product you can think of can be found here, as well as plenty you can’t. Set amidst breathtaking scenery and situated on the banks of the River Wye on the original site of the Tintern Abbey Mill (founded in 1131), Abbey Mill offers a thoroughly enjoyable day out in a relaxed setting, and is open throughout the year. Telephone 01291 689228.

Fourteen Locks (Newport) - Rising over 160 feet in just under half a mile, Fourteen Locks is a impressive series of locks along the Crumlin arm of the Monmouthshire and Brecon Canal close to Newport. Widely regarded as the most unique and remarkable staircase lock system in the country, in its day it was used to transport iron, coal, bricks and mined limestone from the valleys of South Wales down to the ports of Newport and Cardiff. Visitors to the Fourteen Locks can now experience a ‘virtual journey' along the canal, learn about how a canal lock works, even have a go at working a lock itself, all without leaving the Visitor Centre! Outside the Visitor Centre an attractive picnic area and way-marked walks along the tow path await, making Fourteen Locks an enjoyable day out with a difference. Telephone 01633 894802

The Newport Ship (Newport) - The remains of a mediaeval ship discovered on the banks of the River Usk, the Newport Ship is the most complete existing example of a fifteenth century sea vessel in Europe. Described as a cross between a caravel and a Viking longship, and pre-dating even the World-famous Mary Rose, the Newport Ship is wonderfully preserved and well worth a visit. Telephone 01633 215707.
The Court Cupboard Craft Gallery (Abergavenny) - situated on the western slope of the Skirrid Mountain close to the market town of Abergavenny, this is a local gallery for members of the Black Mountains Circle - a group of local people involved in traditional Welsh arts and crafts - to showcase their work. Enjoy a wide range of art and sculpture from local craftspeople. Telephone 01873 852011.

The Old Rectory