If you’re an avid wildlife spotter, then a visit to the Monmouthshire & Brecon Canal is a must-visit. Better known as the Mon & Brec Canal, the park is one of the most beautiful with peaceful waterways. The canal is one of the best locations in Britain for spotting wildlife. The canal passes through the Brecons Beacons National Park and remains home to UK’s rarest animals. This is another reason to visit the area.
While this area in South Wales underwent an Industrial Revolution, the upper section of the Mon & Brec Canal did not experience much commercial success. The beauty of the area saw some restoration done in the 1960s. It is now one of the best and beautiful cruising waterways in the UK. You can easily cruise through the canal without much traffic even at the height of the season.
The canal covers most of its route in the Brecons National Park where you enjoy the outstanding natural beauty. The 35-mile canal follows tree-lined courses of the River Usk. This location is a heaven for wildlife spotters, walkers, nature-lovers, and cyclists. There is a lot to explore and enjoy.
What you can expect to see on your holiday in Mon & Brec Canal ?
There are rare birds in the canal making this location an exciting choice for birders. Some of the birds to see include the herons, moorhens, mallards, kingfishers, and swans. If you’re lucky, you can even spot the rare lapwing. The lapwing breeds and roosts on the farmland, grassland, and moorland. The lapwing is easily spotted by the iridescent green coloring on the back, head, and crests. It also produces a distinctive peewit call.
However, be sure to carry a birding binocular to experience these birds from your kayak or boat. There are just a wide array of bird species to watch in this beautiful location.
There are also beautiful insects flying by the canal banks. Among the insects to see include the dragonfly and butterflies. You can also be lucky and spot the rare Marsh Fritillary buttery.
Amphibians and fish
The Usk River is also a habitat for fish and amphibians. You can see frogs and toads on the river bank. Along the hedges and log piles, you can spot crested newts. You might also be lucky and see the white-clawed crayfish. There is a lot to see whether on a boat or simply walking by the banks of the river.
Lastly, you can be sure of seeing some of the rarest mammals along the canal. Otters are easily seen along the river banks. The otters are easily spotted in River Usk with just a short walk. You can also see an otter track which has a five-toed paw print.
Near the river grasslands, you can see the rare brown hares. As you walk along, you can also spot the yellow-orange furred dormice. However, be sure to watch from a distance and never disturb them. This area is also blessed with one of Britain’s endangered species, the water vole. Sometimes, sightings are rare but worth it if you’re lucky.
This is not the end when it comes to viewing mammals. If you happen to be a bat lover, then the Usk Valley is your perfect location. You can also see noctules, greater horseshoe bats, and tiny pipistrelles.
Other interesting scenes to see in Mon and Brec Canal
Apart from wildlife, there is a lot more to see and enjoy in the Mon & Brec Canal. While the Canal is fairly short, it is full of engineering ingredients. There are many fine stone bridges, a fine four arch masonry, and a number of lift bridges along the route. You can also enjoy some short tunnels giving you lasting memories.
In some of the places, you can see places where the feeder narrow gauge tramways bought their limestone, coal, and iron ore. This is a canal full of wildlife, amazing scenes, and rich history. The disused lime kilns are clearly visible down to the canal wharves. There are several canal lifts that were built when the canal was undergoing restoration. You can even ride in an electrically powered lift bridge.
Activities to do in the Mon & Brec Canal
Apart from spotting wildlife and enjoying the great scenes, there are several activities to do in the area. You can hire a bicycle for a great day of biking. Cycling as a group is a fun activity to enjoy in the area and one cycling lovers must try. You can also enjoy some horse riding and a kayak or boat ride.
Visiting the region also gives you a chance to explore nearby communities and enjoy some local diets. There are also excellent eateries and entertainment spots nearby to have a great time. Walks along the canal are common with canal side pubs, craft centers, and museums.