The local area – Crickhowell, Brecon, Abergavenny and Monmouth

Llangynidr is positioned neatly between Tal-y-bont  (on the way to Brecon) and Crickhowell, near Glanusk, where the Green Man festival is held in August. Slightly further afield lie the bigger towns of Abergavenny and Monmouth.

For outdoorsy types, such as keen walkers and cyclists, the Brecon Beacons and Llangynidr mountain are close by, and there’s less strenuous walks along the canal to the one of the two pubs in Llangynidr village. For those fond of the water, Llangorse Lake is also nearby offering a range of water-based activities.

And, if you’re more keen on being less active, then the little holiday cottage sits in the Brecon Beacons National Park so you can just sit in the garden and enjoy the view in the daytime, and once night falls you can appreciate her setting in the International Dark Sky Reserve whether you’re a keen stargazer (or just an old romantic).

The bridge into Crickhowell © Crown copyright (2011) Visit Wales

Crickhowell

Crickhowell is a small but very lovely little market town with a variety of proudly independent shops, cafes and pubs that are perfect for whiling away a morning or afternoon. There’s also a ruined castleVisit Crickhowell has lots more information about the town and what to do there, but I would very much recommend a visit to the chocolate shop, the bookshop and a long potter around Nicholls.

Holiday cottage near Brecon

Brecon

Brecon is a pretty and historic  market town, where the internationally-famous jazz festival is held every year. It also has a Norman cathedral. It makes a pleasant spot for wandering, shopping, or taking in some culture at the theatre. There’s a lovely bookshop-come-cafe called The Hours, which is a great spot for book- or food-lovers!

Holiday cottage near Abergavenny

Abergavenny

The gateway to Wales, Abergavenny sits between seven hills. Home to food festivals and a history that goes back beyond the Romans, it’s definitely worth having a wander around. And, if you feel like relaxing a little more, then the afternoon tea at the Angel Hotel comes recommended!

Holiday cottage near Monmouth

Monmouth

The border country town feels more English than a lot of its neighbours. Monmouth is also the birthplace of Henry V, and has the only 13th-century medieval preserved bridge of its design across the river Monnow – is that enough to make you want to visit?

Outdoor activities

The Brecon Beacons National Park and surrounding area is an incredible place for outdoor activities. Choose from walking, climbing, wild swimming, narrow-boating, caving, biking, horse-riding, paragliding, hangliding, or oodles more. The area is not only great for those who like to experience full-throttle outdoor life, but also those who enjoy a more sedate holiday and still want to see the amazing countryside first hand. You can choose and set your own pace, whether that means relaxing, or high-adrenaline, but whatever you do it will be surrounded by the gorgeous scenery of the local area. A good place to start looking is Black Mountain Activities and there are heaps of local activity providers on the Brecon Beacons website too. One thing that’s caught my eye recently is Jacob sheep trekking, which sounds like lots of fun and a great way to spend time outside.

Things for kids

As well as keeping grown ups entertained there are heaps of child-friendly activities too. There’s a train that goes up the mountain, the Brecon Beacons Mountain Railway which is generally adored by little ones. You can also hire boats for the day to go on the canal in Brecon, or if the weather’s looking a little iffy, there’s a playbarn.  There’s outdoor farm-based adventure at Cantref, or pedaloes to hire at Llangorse lake. If your little ones love animals, there are sheep to go on a walk with, or red kites to feed. And if it’s history and excitement that you’re looking for then there’s Big Pit, a coal pit that you can go down into with former miners or loads of castles nearby as well; the huge castle at Raglan, the brilliant round tower at Tretower and the absolutely stunning setting of Carreg Cennen are all definitely worth a visit.

Eating out in the area

The holiday cottage is in an area well served by some great pubs, gastropubs and restaurants – some easier to find than others. Those definitely worth a mention (and lingering over a long lunch) include chef Stephen Terry’s The Hardwick, Foyles of Glasbury is another lovely spot as is The Bell at Skenfrith. Also in the area are the Felin Fach Griffin and the Michelin-starred Walnut Tree at Llanddewi Skirrid. Recent cottage guests have waxed lyrical about the recently re-opened Kestrel on the Crickhowell to Brecon road, which isn’t too far from the cottage either. For a light lunch, then the Baker’s Table at Talgarth Mill is worth a visit, as is No 18 in Crickhowell.

There’s also heaps of other options, whether you’re going out, or staying in for a takeaway.

Italian

Prezzo, Abergavenny NP7 5BQ 01873 857390

Pizza Express, Monmouth NP25 3EN 01600 719720

La Brasseria Italiana, Abergavenny 01873 737937

Pizzorante, Abergavenny NP7 5SD 01873 857777

Indian

Red Indigo, Crickhowell (and Hay-on-Wye) NP8 1DL 01873 811175

Masala, Brynmawr NP23 4AN 01495 312057

Cinnamon Tree, Abergavenny NP7 5EW 01873 851 133

Sizzling Balti, Abergavenny NP7 5EX 0333 370 9000

Gurkha Corner (Nepalese):
Abergavenny NP7 5AD 01873 855800
Brecon LD3 7DW 01874 610871

Thai

Boonta Too, Abergavenny NP7 5EW 01873 737757

Drovers Thai, Llandrindod Wells LD1 5PT 01597 822508

Thai Gallery, Hereford HR4 9AR 01432 277374

Chinese

Kongs, Abergavenny NP7 5PB 01873 850320

Sing Lee, Abergavenny NP7 5EW 01873 854917

Red Dragon, Brecon LD3 7LB 01874 611611

Pubs

The Coach and Horses, Llangynidr NP8 1LS 01874 730245

The Red Lion, Llangynidr NP8 1NT 01874 730223

The Kestrel, nr Crickhowell NP8 1SB 01874 731044

The Bear, Crickhowell NP8 1BW 01873 810408

The Dragon Inn, Crickhowell NP8 1BE 01873 810362

Foyles of Glasbury, Glasbury nr Hay-on-Wye 01497 847550

The Angel Hotel, Abergavenny

Michelin stars and other awards

The Walnut Tree, Llandewi Skirrid nr Abergavenny NP7 8AW

The Crown at Whitebrook, nr Monmouth 01600 860 254

The Hardwick, Abergavenny NP7 9AA 01873 854220

The Felin Fach Griffin, Brecon LD3 0UB 01874 620111

The Bell, Skenfrith NP7 8UH 01600 750235

Llangynidr village

crickhowell booklet2

The holiday cottage sits in lower Llangynidr, near the church (completely rebuilt after a fire in 1928, thought to have originated in the early Medieval era) and very close to the Red Lion pub. After a brief 5 minute walk down the country lanes opposite the cottage, you will find the gorgeous Monmouthshire and Brecon canal and a further 5 minutes of walking will take you to the river Usk. In upper Llangynidr you will find the local shop – Walnut Tree Stores, another pub – the Coach and Horses – situated at a flight of locks on the canal. The two Llangynidrs are separated by the showfield, tennis courts and the village hall, where the annual agricultural show is held. There’s also a regular farmers’ market on the last Sunday of the month. The whole village is overlooked by the stunning Llangynidr mountain, and has views towards the Table mountain.

History

Formerly part of the manor of Tretower, Llangynidr village was granted to Sir William Herbert in 1442, which I know thanks to wikipedia. One of my relatives, Dorothea Watkins, also wrote a book on the history of the village, which is called Shadows in the Landscape, available from Amazon (or in my case, my Dad’s bookcase. Thank you Dad!).

To give you more of a flavour of the place, here’s an excerpt from the Crickhowell and district official guide to Llangynidr (published in 1961 and costing 1/6!).

crickhowell booklet

‘Llangynidr is a scattered village in pretty surroundings on the south bank of the River Usk some four miles from Crickhowell. It is more easily approached from Crickhowell by the road on the southern side of the river, but may also be approached from the main Crickhowell to Brecon road by turning left on approaching Bwlch. The southern route follows the line of the river for half of the distance and then the Brecon/Newport canal to Llangynidr, providing excellent views of the valley. While the other route takes the traveller over the old stone river bridge at Llangynidr which provides rewarding views of singular beauty both up and downstream.

From Llangynidr the Duffryn Crawnon and Glaisfer valleys cut deeply into the northern slopes of Mynydd Llangnidr, both providing pleasant walks or drives and giving access to the mountain slopes beyond. Tor-y-foel, a hill which rises prominently to the west of the village, is easily accessible from the road on the north west side of Duffryn Crawnon. The mountain road (easily negotiable by car) from Llangynidr to Beaufort provides a magnificent panoramic view to the north including Llangorse Lake in its beautiful setting. The return journey from this point may be made by a further mountain road which descends to Llangattock, again providing wonderful views of the Usk valley.’