Thursday, February 03, 2011

Walking The Mon and Brecon Canal

Gwasted Bridge No 2 and Lock
On Thursday I took Ben for a walk along the section of the Monmouthshire and Brecon Canal which is currently unnavigable although some restoration work is going on. They have restored a lock at Gwasted Bridge No 2 where the canal runs alongside the M4, and a lot of clearing of the channel has been done. Lots of mud around although this section of the canal is regularly used by walkers, dog walkers and cyclists between Malpas Road and Western Avenue. I'd planned to cut through to Tredegar Park but found my way barred by spiked iron gates at Golden Mile View- access was open when we lived in a flat there four years ago when our boat was being built. So a change of route meant a walk around the perimeter of the Gaer Fort or Gollars as we used to call it overlooking the River Ebbw- more info on the link. I finally arrived at my dad's house with a very dirty dog..........who needed a wash!

Just a little bit of history....two canals run north and west from Newport and the towpaths are largely intact from Crosskeys in the west past Fourteen Locks and alongside the M4 to Barrack Hill on the edge of Newport and then north to the outskirts of Cwmbran. The section of the canal is usually called the Crumlin Arm and crosses under the M4 motorway to climb up the famous Fourteen Locks to Rogerstone oy Tydu (in Welsh). In 1799 the Fourteen Locks were built to raise the water 50m in 740 m, the steepest rise in the UK. The system involves embanked side ponds, pounds, sluices and weirs to regulate the water levels. As there are no shared gates it's a flight of locks not a staircase. Lots of information available on this website. The canal running north is currently being restored to meet up the navigatable Mon and Brecon from near Pontypool to Brecon, one of our favourite canals when we had a small cruiser when our children were small too.

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