Sugar Loaf Circular from Abergavenny walk

Ascent of the iconic Sugar Loaf along quiet paths: lush pastures, ancient oak woods, grassy ridges, heather and gorse. Tea at a vineyard.

Sugar Loaf from Pandy Inn Walk SWC Walk 334 - Sugar Loaf (Abergavenny Circular)

Sugar Loaf from Pandy Inn Walk

SWC Walk 334 - Sugar Loaf (Abergavenny Circular)

04-Apr-19 • thomasgrabow on Flickr

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Sugar Loaf from Deri SWC Walk 334 - Sugar Loaf (Abergavenny Circular) [taken by Jenny P]

Sugar Loaf from Deri

SWC Walk 334 - Sugar Loaf (Abergavenny Circular) [taken by Jenny P]

26-Sep-21 • thomasgrabow on Flickr

swcwalks swcwalk334 banner 51536021794

Trig Point on Sugar Loaf with Pen Cerrig-calch and Pen Allt-mawr in distance SWC Walk 334 - Sugar Loaf (Abergavenny Circular)

Trig Point on Sugar Loaf with Pen Cerrig-calch and Pen Allt-mawr in distance

SWC Walk 334 - Sugar Loaf (Abergavenny Circular)

12-Apr-19 • thomasgrabow on Flickr

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Descent Route down Mynydd Llanwenarth with Usk Valley beyond SWC Walk 334 - Sugar Loaf (Abergavenny Circular)

Descent Route down Mynydd Llanwenarth with Usk Valley beyond

SWC Walk 334 - Sugar Loaf (Abergavenny Circular)

12-Apr-19 • thomasgrabow on Flickr

swcwalks swcwalk334 walkicon 47625254742

The Skirrid/Ysgyryd Fawr SWC Walk 334 - Sugar Loaf (Abergavenny Circular)

The Skirrid/Ysgyryd Fawr

SWC Walk 334 - Sugar Loaf (Abergavenny Circular)

15-Sep-19 • thomasgrabow on Flickr

swcwalks swcwalk334 walkicon 48765481542

St. Mary’s Priory Church Interior, Abergavenny SWC Walk 334 - Sugar Loaf (Abergavenny Circular)

St. Mary’s Priory Church Interior, Abergavenny

SWC Walk 334 - Sugar Loaf (Abergavenny Circular)

11-May-18 • thomasgrabow on Flickr

swcwalks swcwalk334 33800535228

St. Mary’s Priory Church Interior, Abergavenny SWC Walk 334 - Sugar Loaf (Abergavenny Circular)

St. Mary’s Priory Church Interior, Abergavenny

SWC Walk 334 - Sugar Loaf (Abergavenny Circular)

11-May-18 • thomasgrabow on Flickr

swcwalks swcwalk334 40711792933

Length

19.0 km (11.8 mi), with 622m ascent/descent. For a shorter or longer walk see below Walk Options.

Toughness

6 out of 10, with 5 ½ hours walking time. For the whole outing, including trains sights and meals, allow at least 12 hours.

Walk Notes

From the pretty town centre of Abergavenny walk up the iconic Sugar Loaf mountain, initially steeply up through lush pastures and ancient oak woods to Twyn-yr-Allt, a former settlement on one the lower foothills of the Black Mountains. From there continue along the mildly undulating treeless plateau tox Deri hill, covered in whimberries, bracken and gorse before turning steeply up the barren easterly flank of Sugar Loaf through the upland heathland, to the summit ridge of the southernmost peak of the Black Mountains, with superb panoramic views (in good weather) across South Wales and South West England.
Descend gently down the heather and gorse-covered flanks and continue along the gentle ridge of Mynydd Llanwenarth to descend more steeply through the large ancient oak wood of Deri Fach into St. Mary’s Vale and along the spring-fed Nant Iago (stream) to tea at the superb Sugar Loaf Vineyard’s Café and Tasting Room, before re-tracing the outbound route through the town centre.

Sugar Loaf is an immensely popular destination. The chosen route avoids paths from and to popular car parks, preferring quieter paths, while providing for a mixture of environments and views in all directions.

Due to being a conical top distant from any neighbouring mountain chain, Sugar Loaf is very exposed to bad weather. Especially the summit plateau can be unforgiving. Only the very highest bit can be skirted.

A longer descent route and a scenic diversion to a nearby pub at the bottom of the mountain in Llangenny are described, as is an alternative descent through Deri Fach oak wood along more challenging paths.

Walk Options

A start/finish at the Bus Station cuts 730m each way and 30m ascent at the end of the walk. Pick up the directions at the end of the second paragraph.
A taxi ride can cut out the first steep ascent out of Abergavenny to the entrance of Sunny Vale farm at the top of the straight bit of Pen-y-Pound road by a sharp right turn (3.2 km into the walk). The taxi ranks with the best chance of a car being present are at the train station and on Frogmore Street by the Tesco (1.5 km into the walk). Pick up the directions at the end of the first paragraph on page 5.
A Longer Descent Route down the flank of Sugar Loaf adds 2.2 km/1.4 mi and 71m ascent.
A Scenic Diversion to the Dragon's Head in Llangenny adds 4.0 km/2.5 mi and 237m ascent to the longer descent route. From the pub it is straightforward to bail out to Crickhowell, along a signed lane.

Maps

OS Explorer: OL 13 (Brecon Beacons NP East)
OS Landranger: 161 (The Black Mountains)
Harvey Superwalker XT25: Breacon Beacons East/Bannau Brycheiniog Dwyrain
Harvey British Mountain Map: Breacon Beacons/Bannau Brycheiniog

Travel

Abergavenny Station, map reference SO 305 136, is 30 km south east of Brecon, 202 km west northwest of Charing Cross, 74m above sea level and in Monmouthshire, Wales. It is served by the Welsh Marches Line (Newport – Hereford), connecting at Newport to Paddington, with mostly two trains per hour (total journey time from 135 mins). Abergavenny Bus Station is passed early on, bus lines with regular and useful connections are: X3 (Hereford – Cardiff), X4 (Cardiff – Abergavenny), 43/X43 (Brecon – Abergavenny), 83 (Monmouth –Abergavenny).

Saturday Walkers’ Club: Take a train no later than 09.45.

Lunch

Picnic

Lunch (off route) The Dragon's Head Llangenny, Crickhowell, Powys, NP8 1HD (01873 810 350). The Dragons Head is located 2.2 km downhill off the long route, after 12.9 km/8.0 mi of walking.

Tea

The Sugar Loaf Vineyard Coffee Shop and Tasting Room Pentre Lane, Abergavenny, Monmouthshire, NP7 7LA (01873 853 066). Located 3.7 km from the end of the walk.

Plus plenty of options along the route through Abergavenny to bus or train station. See the pdf for details.

Brecon Beacons

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:

  • The Black Mountain (singular!) : Fan Brycheiniog (803m) and the Dan yr Ogof caves.
  • Fforest Fawr : Fan Gyhirych (725m), Fan Nedd (663m), Fan Fawr (734m), and the Henrhyd waterfalls (Sgwd Henrhyd)
  • The Brecon Beacons : Pen y Fan (886m), Corn Du (873m), Cribyn (795m), Fan y Big (719m), Waun Rydd (769m). South of Brecon, north of Merthyr Tydfil.
  • The Black Mountains (plural!) : Waun Fach (811m), Black Mountain (703m). Abergavenny to the south. Hay-on-Wye to the north.

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Version

Nov-21 Thomas G

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Walk Directions  

Full directions for this walk are in a PDF file (link above) which you can print, or download on to a Kindle, tablet, or smartphone.

This is just the introduction. This walk's detailed directions are in a PDF available from wwww.walkingclub.org.uk