We’ve started our motoring tour in Abergavenny, but the route is circular, so you can start wherever you like or wherever happens to be most convenient for you! Many of the points of interest marked on the map make great outings on their own, in which case there’s no need to do the whole route. Turn the page for various points of interest and possible stops.
To begin the tour, take the A40 out of Abergavenny towards Brecon. After Crickhowell, take the A479 signposted for Builth Wells. At the Talgarth roundabout, take the first exit; the B4560, signposted for Llangorse. Continue through Llangorse and on to Blwch. At Blwch, turn left onto the A40. The B4560 continues via a left turn after the village. Take this turn, signposted for Llangynidr. Cross the narrow bridge at Llangyndir. Turn left onto the B4558 signposted Crickhowell. Continue to Llangattock & Crickhowell, where the road becomes the A4077. Continue through Gilwern, Govilon, and into Llanfoist. Go over the roundabout and back into Abergavenny.
1 Tretower Court & Castle
Tretower Court is a medieval fortified manor house adjacent to Tretower Castle.
For over 900 years the Court and Castle have been altered, adjusted and adapted. Much of this was done to keep up with style, fashion and the tastes of the time.
A suite of rooms has been created as they may have been in 1470. Discover a sophisticated way of life: from intricately carved furniture right down to the pots and pans of a working kitchen.
Like all good castles, Tretower also houses its very own ghost!
Visit www.cadw.wales.gov.uk for information, opening times and admission prices.
2 Pwll-y-Wrach Nature Reserve
This is the Brecknock Trust’s most visited nature reserve and comprises 17.5 hectares of beautiful ancient woodland. Near the eastern end of the reserve, the river plunges over a spectacular waterfall into a dark pool below, which is known as the ‘Witches Pool’. According to local legend, this pool was once used to judge local women suspected of practicing witchcraft.
Finding the reserve: From the junction in the centre of Talgarth, with the Tourist Information & Resource Centre on your right, turn right. The road passes over the River Enig and then take the sharp left turn which leads into Bell Street. After 50 metres, turn left opposite the Bell Hotel and follow the minor road up a hill for about 1 mile. A short distance after the last houses of Talgarth, the main reserve car park and entrance is on the right where you will find an information panel.
3 Talgarth Mill
At the heart of Talgarth, powered by the flow of the River Ellywe, you will find Melin Talgarth Mill, a fully restored, 18th century flour mill.
There is an onsight cafe – The Bakers Table – which serves a range of delicious seasonal food and offers something delicious for everyone.
During your visit, you can enjoy a guided tour, which takes in the restored mill wheel, or a walk in the riverside gardens. Children can have fun on the Nature Trail, and there is a gift shop where you can purchase stone ground flour from the mill itself, as well as lovely local craft items.
Visit www.talgarthmill.com for more details and opening times or call 01874 711352
4 Llangorse Lake
Llangorse Lake or Lake Syfaddan is the largest natural lake in South Wales. It has a circumference of five miles and is a mile long. It is fringed with over 10 hectares of reed beds, grassland and woodlands dominated by Alder and Willow.
The lake has the only example of a ‘crannog’ in Wales. A crannog is an artificial island, built in the water. The Llangorse crannog is constructed of massive planks of oak behind which was built a dwelling platform formed from layers of stone, soil and brushwood. It was investigated by archaeologists between 1989 and 1993. Finds included a high quality textile and a bronze hinge from the 8th–9th century.
Just outside the crannog is a sword embedded in a stone. This is a bit of fun for the family to enjoy. We couldn’t pull the sword from the stone on our recent visit…can you?
Rowing boats, kayaks, Canadian canoes and pedaloes are available to hire on the lake from the Lakeside Caravan Park. The lake contains pike, perch, roach, bream, tench and eels. Fishing boats are available to hire, but there are very specific rules governing angling on the lake, so we recommend you visit www.llangorselake.co.uk for further information and rules.
5 Gilwern Garage
The General Store at Gilwern Garage is a great place to pick up some groceries on your way home, and refuel the car after your journey
Abergavenny Focus Walks
This map can also be used as a handy reference for some of the walks we’ve published in previous issues. Some of you may have kept back issues of the Focus, in which case you can cross reference the walking map icons shown on this map, to the start of a Focus walk in a previous issue. The number next to the name of the walk relates to the magazine issue number in which it appears, shown on the front cover of all issues of the Focus.
Alternatively, you can see all the walks here