The Wye Valley and Vale of Usk, on the border between England and Wales, is a beautiful and varied area which attracts walkers from all over Europe.
Most walks take in a water course for some of their length, whether it’s the canal or one of the rivers originating in the Brecon Beacons. This landscape is dense with long distance paths; many walkers pass through on the Offa’s Dyke Path, the north-south traverse of the border country. Some come to sample the best of the Wye Valley Walk (waymarked with the sign of a leaping salmon). If that sounds too energetic, you can browse a good selection of locally-available leaflets and packs to find walks to suit you, whatever your ability or interest.
The Brecon Beacons National Park is made up of four distinct upland areas:
The Brecon Beacons are the highest range of the group, and are considered the best hills in the southern UK. There are rounded contours of old red sandstone in the central Beacons, giving walking which is open in character, with big skies to complement the big hills. By contrast, in the south of the Park, there are dazzling outcrops of carboniferous limestone, water-worn to form deep gorges, caves and, most famously of all waterfalls.
There are comfortable routes and paths for walkers of all levels, as well as the wild, open spaces for which this Park is known and loved.
The most easterly peaks in the Brecon Beacons are the Black Mountains where you’ll find tiny villages and churches set in a rolling green landscape of picturesque hills and valleys. Don’t mistake the area for the Black Mountain however;
The Black Mountain (singular) is a spectacular wilderness environment in its own right, but the Black Mountains (plural) are a little less demanding for the laid-back walker.
The Black Mountains have long narrow valleys and isolated farms reminiscent of Bruce Chatwin’s novel On the Black Hill, which was based in the Crasswell area near Hay Bluff. The mountains rise above 2000ft. If you don’t want to climb the highest, Waun Fach, you can walk instead along the long, heath-covered ridges that cross the area – all of them have wonderful views.