Spring Walks

There is no better way of seeing Spring coming into season than being outdoors.  All around there will be signs of spring – buds on trees, bulbs and new growth peeking from the soil, lambs frolicking in fields, bluebells and snowdrops starting to appear, bracken starting to unfurl new leaves.  There are lots of places that these signs can be seen and here are a few of my favorite places to visit in spring, and a couple of reasons why thrown in too!

Pontypool Park

Pontypool Park is around 120 acres of park land, with grassy areas, mature trees and the Afon Llwyd river running along one edge of the grounds.  There are lots of different paths you can take that lead to so many different things, like the walk up to the refurbished Nant-y-Gollen ponds where, if you sit quietly, you can see frogs and tadpoles in the water.  There are walks through woodland where you will be able to see new growth appearing on the trees, buds of blossom starting to form and other plant life just starting to emerge.  And if you are feeling energetic, up a short, steep slope lies the Grotto and not too far away is the Folly which to get to, you will need to cross some pasture land and might get a chance to see some lambs in the nearby fields!

Monmouthshire and Brecon Canal

Walking along the canal from Goetre Wharf towards Abergavenny is a lovely walk to do in the spring.  Walking by the water, looking a the reflection of the sky and being able to look at all the animals grazing as you make your way on your journey is a perfect way to spend a few hours on a weekend.  The canal weaves its way through wooded areas, fields and past some waterside houses.  You might be able to spot fish in the water, see ducks and ducklings, swans and cygnets along with sheep and cows and their babies too!  You should be able to spot sings of spring all around you from trees and plants to animals and insects.

Talybont-On-Usk

Talybont-On-Usk is set in the Brecon Beacons and is beautiful to walk any time of the year yet for me there is something magical in seeing this landscape starting to wake after the months of winter.  There are lots of different walks to go on and plenty of things to see along the way, waterfalls, streams, woodland, grass land, and all the wildlife that goes along with it.  You should be able to spot lambs in the surrounding fields and bulbs starting to shoot up as well as see the new growth on the bracken as you walk through the landscape.

Wherever you are planning on walking please adhere to the Countryside Code of Conduct, keep dogs on leads and be careful around baby animals – not only can they scare easily but the parents can be very protective of their young and become aggressive if you approach to closely.

Where are your favorite spring time walks?

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Monmouthshire and Brecon Canal

I am including this as a new series as I wanted to cover some historical points of interest in the walks that I take.  The first walk that I am looking at is the Monmouthshire and Brecon canal walk that can be started in Brecon and will lead you down through the valleys to Pontymoile and further along to Cwmbran where it breaks down and has been built over in places. So, without further ado…

I’m really lucky to live not far from part of the canal that makes up Monmouthshire and Brecon Canal. Taken from the website Canal River Trust the history can be explained as ”

What is nowadays popularly referred to as the Mon & Brec started life as two separate canals: the Brecknock & Abergavenny Canal, and the Monmouthshire Canal. The 35-mile navigable section seen today is mostly the former. In the 1790s, the Monmouthshire Canal Company received its Act of Parliament at the same time that the Brecknock & Abergavenny was being planned. Following discussions, it was decided to link the two at Pontymoile.

The Monmouthshire Canal, including a branch from Malpas to Crumlin, was opened in 1799 with the Brecknock & Abergavenny extending from Brecon to Gilwern by 1800, finally reaching Pontymoile by 1812.

Both canals were supported by horsedrawn tramroads that were mainly used to bring coal, limestone and iron ore from the hillsides. The canal played a significant part in our industrial heritage, connecting Hill’s tramroads to the iron works in Blaenavon and the forges at Garnddyrys.

Though originally constructed to transport coal, lime and agricultural products the canal was used extensively by ironmasters and industrialists as their main transport network, bringing the raw iron ore up the canal from Newport to Llanfoist Wharf and thence by tramroads to the iron works and returning with trams loaded with iron, the finished product. Remains of this heritage can still be viewed along the canal today these include wharfs and lime kilns.

The Blaenavon area and a section of the canal were granted World Heritage status in 2000 in recognition of its historical significance.
In 1880 the Monmouthshire & Brecon Canals were taken over by the Great Western Railway. Within 35 years, commercial carrying had all but ceased.”

I live not far from the Pontymoile part of the canal and this is where I usually join the canal.  You can see lots of different things along the canal including wildlife (different types of birds, fish and insects).  It’s a fab walk for many different energy fitness levels and is flat, tarmacked in many places and easy to navigate!  This walk is best to go on in daylight as much of the canal isn’t lit and can become hard to navigate once evening sets in but weather wise you can do this walk in any weather really, just make sure you are wearing appropriate footwear!!!

Here’s some photos that I have taken in the past of the canal walk!