Paddle boarding on the Monmouthshire and Brecon Canal

Part #1: Brecon Canal Basin to Brynich Lock

With 35 miles of navigable canal from Brecon to Pontymoile, we decided it would be easier to break the journey down into nice bite-sized chunks!

The various arms of the Monmouthshire and Brecon Canal were constructed over 200 years ago as an Act of Parliament for transporting goods from Brecon to Newport and Monmouth for onward transportation.

Our route starts in Brecon at the Canal Basin in front of the Theatr Brycheiniog, and continues for 3km (although you’d never know it, as you’ll be constantly distracted by the beauty of the scenery!) before reaching Brynich Lock.

Paddling in front of Theatr Brycheiniog

Paddling east takes you on a beautifully scenic, and sheltered route with abundant wildlife; there’s always plenty of ducks, and small fish can be seen darting away in the shallow waters – if you’re lucky enough you might get a close encounter with a heron!

A heron captured flying low to the canal

At 2km, the canal goes under the A40 and you’re treated to a short, exciting 50m paddle through a tunnel under the road – just check there are no other water users coming towards you first! If there are – remember always give way to bigger vessels and pass on the right!

After another 500m, the canal turns south and heads away from the roads, bringing peace, quiet, and a higher level of tranquility to your paddle.

Keep an eye out towards the south and on a clear day, you will be able to see Pen-y-Fan in the distance, keeping its majestic watch over nearby Cribyn and the rest of the Brecon Beacons.

Cribyn and Pen-y-Fan from the Monmouthshire and Brecon Canal

After another couple of hundred meters, you will reach the first lock on the canal at Brynich. If you’re lucky enough to arrive at the same time as a narrowboat, you may get to see the lock in action, raising or lowering a boat to the next section of the canal.

As with all small watercraft, DO NOT try to use the lock! It is extremely dangerous – there is always a path to walk around locks, so use this and carry your board!

Just across the road is the next water access point for the canal. Look out for Part #2, starting at Brynich Lock, paddling across a 200-year-old aqueduct and on towards Pencelli (and the first canal-side pub on this journey!)

If you’re interested in joining us on this guided tour from Brecon to Brynich Lock, click here:

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