Up a tight valley to the Chartist Cave in the limestone uplands of Mynydd Llangynidr, return along the rim of the Crawnon Valley.
21.9 km (13.6 mi). Cumulative ascent/descent: 752/655m. For a shorter walk, see below Walk options.
Start: Llangynidr Village Hall Bus Stop Finish: Bwlch All Saints or Llangynidr Village Hall Bus Stops.
Llangynidr Village Hall Bus Stop, map reference SO 155 196, is 14 km south east of Brecon, 218 km west northwest of Charing Cross and 123m above sea level. Bwlch All Saints Bus Stop, map reference SO 148 220, is 2.5 km north of Llangynidr and 223m above sea level. Both are in Powys, Wales.
|Toughness||9 out of 10. Time: 6 ½ hours walking time.|
Llangynidr is served by line 43 (Abergavenny – Brecon) with 4-5 buses a day Mon-Sat only. Bwlch is served by line X43 (Abergavenny – Brecon) with 7-8 buses a day Mon-Sat and 5 on Sundays and Bank Holidays.
Saturday Walkers’ Club: This walk is doable as a daywalk from London, especially if you have motorised transport, but also if taking a train to Abergavenny to connect to above bus services.
OS Landranger Map: 160 (Brecon Beacons) and 161 (The Black Mountains)
OS Explorer Map: OL12 (Brecon Beacons NP West) and OL 13 (Brecon Beacons NP East)
This walk leads from Llangynidr village up along a tight valley, the Cwm Cleisfer, and onto the open limestone uplands of Mynydd Llangynidr, initially along a lane then through pastures, in the latter stages with some difficult-to-find-and-negotiate paths near the transition to the open moorland. Mynydd Llangynidr is a basically treeless undulating mountain of open limestone uplands with numerous depressions, shake holes and pits, as well as many ancient cairns (burial mounds) dotted across the moorland. You climb to the source of the Cleisfer, a perfect picnic spot, and then across the scarred landscape (map and compass come in handy) to the Chartist Cave, arguably one of Wales' most important historic monuments. The Chartists were a 19th century working-class movement for political reform and this cave is where the local group met and stored weapons before the Newport Rising of 1839.
You cross the top of the moorland hill and descend to a remote road by an active limestone quarry and pick up a former tramway for transporting goods to the Monmouthshire & Brecon Canal to skirt around the rim of the picturesque wooded Crawnon Valley. A stretch along a ridge high above the Talybont Reservoir is followed by a descent through lush pastures back to Llangynidr. To complete the walk, cross the Usk River and ascend to Bwlch on the other side for a return bus.
A detour near the end leads across Tor y Foel, one of the best mid-level viewpoints in the Brecon Beacons.
A variation close to the end follows a narrow path closely along the Usk River for a very bucolic stretch.
A start from Bwlch (with its more frequent bus service) is possible. But as – at the moment – the service to Llangynidr is sufficiently good in the morning, this is unlikely to be needed, and thus is a map-led option.
A Variation on the Cwm Cleisfer route circumvents an often-overgrown stretch with difficult route finding.
An Extension near the end over the Tor y Foel hill adds 250m and 113m ascent.
A Variation of the route near the end through Llangynidr leads along the rivers Crawnon and Usk to Llangynidr Bridge rather than along the canal. This is flood-prone when The Usk is in spate and has some steep and rocky bits.
A finish at the start point in Llangynidr is described but only makes sense if you arrived by car, as the last buses through the village will have left by the time you finish the walk.
|Lunch (off route)||
Tafarn-Ty-Uchaf (Top House) Trefil Road, Trefil, Tredegar,Blaneau Gwent, NP22 4HG (01495 717 690). The Top House is located 1.8 km off route, after 9.3 km/5.8 mi of walking.
The Coach & Horses Inn Cwm Crawnon Road, Llangynidr, Crickhowell, Powys, NP8 1LS (01874 730 245). Open all day every day. Food served 12.00-14.00 (-15.00 Sun) and 18.00-21.00. Located 3.1 km from the end of the walk.
aber: estuary, confluence, river mouth; afon: river; allt: hillside, cliff; aran: high place; bach: small; ban/fan/bannau (pl): peak, beacon, crest, hill, mountain; big: peak; blaen: source of river, head of valley; bod: dwelling; bre: hill; bron: hill-breast; bryn: hill; bwlch: gap, col, pass; cadair: chair; cae: field; caer/gaer: stronghold, fort; capel: chapel; carn/garn/carnedd/garnedd: cairn/heap of stones, tumulus; carreg/garreg: stone, rock; cefn: ridge, hillside; castell: castle; celli: grove, copse; cerwyn: pot-hole; cist: chest; clwyd: hurdle, gate; clog/clogwyn: cliff; clun: meadow; clydach: torrent; coch/goch: red; coed: wood; craig/graig: rock; crib/cribyn: crest, ridge, summit; crug: mound; cul: narrow; cwm: hangingvalley, corrie, bowl, dale; cyfrwy: ridge between two summits (saddle); ddinas: fort; dibyn: steep slope, precipice; diffwys: precipice, abyss; dim: no; din: hill-fortress: disgwylfa: place of observation, look-out point; dôl: meadow; du/ddu: black, dark; dwfr/dŵr: water; dyffryn: valley; -dyn: fortified enclosure; eglwys: church; eisteddfod: meeting-place, assembly; esgair: ridge; fach: small; fawr/mawr: big; fechan: smaller; ffald: sheep-fold, pound, pen, run; ffordd: road; ffridd: pasture; ffrwd: stream, torrent; ffynnon: spring, well; gallt: wooded hill; ganol: middle; garth: promontory, hill, enclosure; glan/lan: river-bank, hillock; glas: green, when referring to grass, pasture or leaves; or blue, when relating to the sea or air; glyn: deep valley, glen; gors: bog; gorsedd: tumulus, barrow, hillock; gwyddfa: mound, tumulus; gwylfa: look-out point; gwyn/gwen: white; gwynt: wind; hafn: gorge, ravine; hafod: summer dwelling; hen: old; hendre(f): winter dwelling, old home, permanent abode; heol: road; hesgyn: bog; hir: long; is: below, lower; llan: church, monastery; llawr: level area, floor of valley; llech: slab, stone, rock, rock; llethr: slope; lluest: shieling, cottage, hut; llwch: lake, dust; llwybr: path; llwyd: grey, brown; llwyn: bush, grove; llyn: lake; llynwyn: pool, puddle, moat; isa(f): lower, lowest; maen: stone; maes: open field, plain: mawn: peat; mawnog: peat-bog; melyn: yellow; merthyr: burial place, church; moel/foel: bare, bald/bare hill; mynydd: mountain, moorland; nant: brook, stream, dingle, glen; neuadd: hall; newydd: new; ogof/gogof: cave; pant: hollow; parc: park, field, enclosure; pen: head, top, end, edge; penrhyn: promontory; pentre(f): homestead, village; perfedd: middle; perth: bush, brake, hedge; plas: hall, mansion; pont/bont: bridge; porth: gate, gateway, harbour, bay, landing-place, ferry; pwll: pit, pool; rhiw: hill, slope; rhos: moor, promontory; rhudd: red, crimson; rhyd: ford; sarn: causeway; sgwd/rhaeadr: waterfall; sticill: stile; sych: dry; tafarn: tavern; tâl: end, top; talar: headland (of field); tan/dan: below; tarren/darren: escarpment; tir: land, territory; tor: break, gap; tre/tref: settlement, hamlet, town; twlch: tump, knoll; twll: hole, pit; tŵr: tower; tŷ: house; twyn: hill; uchaf: upper, highest; uwch: above, over; waun/gwaun: moorland, meadow; wen/wyn: white; y, yr, ‘r: the; ynys: island, holm, river-meadow; ysgol: ladder, formation on mountain-side/school; ysgwydd: shoulder (of mountain); ystafell: chamber, hiding-place; ystrad: wide valley, holm, river-meadow.
Usk Valley/River Usk (Afon Wysg)
Brecon Beacons National Park
The Black Mountains/Y Mynyddoedd Duon
Shake Holes, Swallow Holes and Limestone Pavements
Chartist Cave and Movement
The Newport Uprising was the last large-scale armed rebellion against authority in Great Britain, when almost 10,000 Chartist sympathisers, led by John Frost, marched on Newport, Monmouthshire. The men, including many coal-miners, most with home-made arms, were intent on liberating fellow Chartists who were reported to have been taken prisoner in the town's Westgate Hotel. About 22 demonstrators were killed when troops ensconced in the hotel opened fire on them. The leaders of the rebellion were convicted of high treason and sentenced to transportation for life (like the Tolpuddle Martyrs around the same time). Testimonies suggest that Newport was to have been the signal for a national uprising.
Chartism was a working-class movement for political reform in Britain that existed from 1838 to 1857, with particular strongholds of support in Northern England, the East Midlands, the Potteries, the Black Country, and the South Wales Valleys. It took its name from the People's Charter of 1838 which called for six reforms to make the political system more democratic, the first five of which have now become law: a vote for every man over 21 years of age, a secret ballot (instead of public voting), MPs to not have to own property, MPs to be paid, equal voting constituencies, an election every year (as a check to bribery and intimidation).
Aneurin Bevan Heritage Trail
Bryn Oer Tramway/Brinore Tramroad
Usk Valley Walk
The Brecon Beacons National Park is in south Wales. It consists of bare, grassy, glacial mountains, with north facing escarpments. Its peaks, just shy of 1,000m (3,000ft), are the highest mountains in the southern UK. The national park is also noted for reservoirs, and the Dan yr Ogof caves. Its 4 mountain areas, from west to east are:
After the walk, we would love to get your feedback
National Rail: 03457 48 49 50 • Travelline SE (bus times): 0871 200 2233 (12p/min) • TFL (London) : 0343 222 1234
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This is just the introduction. This walk's detailed directions are in a PDF available from wwww.walkingclub.org.uk