The Brecon Beacons offer fabulous walking country – big skies and wide-open spaces, hills and gorges, waterfalls, woodland, lakes and forests – with loads of trails to suit everyone, whether you’re a serious walker or just fancy a stroll. Brecon Beacons National Park is Wales’ first Geopark and one of only seven Dark Sky Reserves in the world. The Beacons Way walk will give you some of the best views, and you can either do the whole 152km (95 miles) – it takes eight days – or split it up to suit you. Some sections are more challenging than others so make sure you choose the right one. There are also various shorter walks between three and seven miles in length, but even these can have sharp gradients, so wear boots or good shoes.
Abergavenny itself is a good base for walking trips, with open countryside just a short walk from the town centre, and even a mountain overlooking the town to climb. The three main peaks have car parks closer to the summits if you prefer a shorter ascent. The Blorenge offers fantastic views over the town, while the Sugarloaf (the highest of the three) provides views across unspoiled countryside.The Skirrid has a steep initial climb, which then breaks out onto a long ridgeway, with the ruins of an old chapel at the highest point. Pen y Fan, near Brecon, is the highest mountain in South Wales, and the 20th highest peak in Wales. The Offa’s Dyke footpath runs nearby; built by Offa, King of Mercia in the ninth century AD, the dyke formed the boundary between England and Wales, running 182 miles from Prestatyn in the north to Sedbury, near Chepstow, in the south. There are several access points near Abergavenny; a good start (or end) point is Llanthony Priory.
The Brecon Beacons is an ideal place to explore on two wheels, whether just for a day or as long as you can take. The National Park has bike guides and hire companies that can help you set up anything from a day’s bike hire to a complete package with everything included. There’s an amazing variety of terrain to discover, including towpaths, lanes and hillside tracks. The Park Authority Mountain Bike Pack (available online) contains 14 single-track mountain bike route cards. National cycle path (route 42) goes from Abergavenny to Chepstow, or try the Monmouthshire and Brecon Canal towpath, which is nice and flat and runs for miles through some very scenic countryside. The Tumble cycle route takes you up a climb of 6km of steady 10% gradient and the views from the top of the Blorenge are well worth the effort. Unfortunately erosion continues to be a problem on the mountains; the Skirrid, for example, has many signs banning the use of mountain bikes. Please check your route carefully if you decide to go off-road.