Walks around Abergavenny An Online Guide by Paul Benham New Table Mountain
Ordnance Survey Maps:
Outdoor Leisure 13 (Scale 1:25,000) or Abergavenny and the Black Mountains, Sheet 161 (Scale 1:50,000)


Pen-y-Heol farm, St Mary's Vale


Abergavenny from the road to the Sugar Loaf car park
34KB enlargement


Looking from the Rholben across the Deri to Skirrid (Ysgyryd) Fawr


The Brecon Beacons National Park /Useful Publications /The Walks/To print the routes

I hope this on-line guide will be a useful resource for anybody planning to visit the Abergavenny area who enjoys walking but has not yet obtained one of the available printed walking guides. A guide is not absolutely necessary for there are many well marked public footpaths in the area and, with an OS 1:25,000 map, you are free to make your own plans. However, if you would like some suggestions for particularly enjoyable routes, and a little information about them, then read on. I have included walks that I enjoy (I also enjoyed writing about them) and I have tried not to duplicate routes included in the usual guide books. Where possible I have chosen lesser frequented paths. As I lived on the side of the Sugar Loaf, Mynydd Y Fal, for many years I shall start with routes on this easily accessible mountain.


Abergavenny, in Welsh Y FENNI, is a small market town in Monmouthshire (formerly Gwent) in south east Wales, at the confluence of the Rivers Gavenny and Usk and on the edge of the Brecon Beacons National Park. The strategic nature of this site, guarding a main valley corridor between the Black Mountains and the Brecon Beacons into South Wales, was recognized by the Romans, who built the fortress of Gobannium, and by the Normans, who built an 11th-century castle. The town that grew under the castle's protection was attacked at various times over the next 500 years. Abergavenny held important cattle and horse fairs in the 18th and 19th centuries and developed some flannel making; it never participated in the industrial growth of the coalfield towns to the west. Now a service centre and attractive holiday resort, it has also become a residential base for commuters employed in South Wales and nearby England. Abergavenny can be used as a base for many delightful walks in the Brecon Beacons National Park.

The Brecon Beacons National Park

Welsh PARC CENEDLAETHOL BANNAU BRYCHEINIOG was designated a national park in 1957. The park occupies 519 sq mi (1,344 sq km) of mountains, moors, forests, pastureland, lakes, and the broad Usk valley. The easternmost highlands in the park, lying between Abergavenny and Hay-on-Wye, are the Black Mountains (old red sandstone) - highest point Waun Fach (2,660 ft [811 m]). Centrally located within the park, south of Brecon, are the Brecon Beacons (old red sandstone) including Pen-y-Fan (2,906 ft [886 m]), the highest peak in the park. To the west lies the Black Mountain (chiefly millstone grit). The park offers a considerable variety of scenery and recreational opportunities, including hill walking, caving, pony trekking, sailing, and angling.


Useful books and publications


ISBN 1 872730 02 7 (C) Chris Barber Blorenge Books 5.25

  • The Seven Hills of Abergavenny by Chris Barber (1992)
  • Exploring Gwent A walker's guide to Gwent Land of History and Legend by Chris Barber (1984)
  • Exploring The Brecon Beacons national Park by Chris Barber (1980)
  • Portrait of the Past by Chris Barber & Michael Blackmore (1996)
  • Stone and Steam in the Black Mountains by David Tipper (1985)
  • Walks in Cordell Country by Chris Barber (1996)
  • The Clydach Gorge Industrial Archaeology Trails in a North Gwent Valley by John van Laun (Produced by the Brecon Beacon National Parks Committee) (1979)
  • A Glimpse of the Past by The Wales Tourist Board (1981)
  • Rape of the Fair Country by Alexander Cordell (1959)
  • Welsh Place-names and Their Meanings by Dewi Davies (no date)

    Many of the books by Chris Barber (publisher Blorenge Books) are available locally, for example WH Smith in Frogmore St, Abergavenny.



  • Route times: Times are for round trips, do not include any allowance for stops, and require a reasonably purposeful pace. They are calculated times not the times I took when I did the walks. I have used Naismith's rule: 3 map miles (5km) per hour plus 30 minutes for every 1000 feet (300m) of ascent. In the hills around Abergavenny this usually equates to about 2 miles per hour.


    The Walks
    1. The Sugar Loaf - Starting Points

    2. Skirrid Fawr

    3. The Clydach Gorge

    4. The Blorenge

    5. Table Mountain and Pen Cerrig-calch

    6. Monmouth - Kymin Tower and Naval Temple



    To print the routes The routes in this on-line guide may be printed from this text file
    if desired Route Text File


    Last updated 7 January 2000