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Head of Navigation, Monmouthshire Canal

Accessible for local, portable and trailable craft

Silver Propeller Challenge



Visit the outskirts of Cwmbran on the Monmouthshire Canal by boat or canoe.

It has been chosen as a Silver Propeller Location to encourage more boats to explore the full length of this canal as only a few boats head south of Pontymoile, which is the junction of the Monmouthshire and Brecon & Abergavenny canals.  A photo of your boat at the head of navigation or in Five Locks Basin (both on the outskirts of Cwmbran) will be a good proof of your visit.

Complete our challenge by visiting 20 locations from our list, you will receive our exclusive plaque and goody bag.


About the Monmouthshire Canal

The navigable length of what is commonly referred to as the ‘Mon & Brec’ is, in fact, two separate canals: the Monmouthshire Canal and the Brecknock & Abergavenny Canal. The latter runs for 33 miles from Brecon to Pontymoile with 6 locks, much of the canal is along the edge of the hillside and all of it in or adjacent to the Brecon Beacons National Park.  South of Pontymoile, the Monmouthshire Canal linked to the sea at Newport with an arm to Crumlin joining at Malpas Junction.  Only the top 2 miles of the Monmouthshire Canal are navigable, to the start of the heavily locked section through Cwmbran.

Both canals were proposed around the same time but the Monmouthshire Canal was built first.  An agreement to make a connection at Pontymoile benefitted both enterprises.  The canals were built with tramways to link to the various industries along the route as the terrain does not lend itself to branch canals.  The surviving parts of the canals were later owned by the Great Western Railway and were subsequently nationalised.  Restoration began in 1964, although only recently abandoned, as part of the National Parks improvement scheme.  The canal north of Pontymoile reopened in 1970 but the top part of the Monmouthshire Canal had to wait until 1997. The Canals are isolated from the main connected network of waterways in England and Wales.

[Photo: the southern limit of navigation on the connected Monmouthshire Canal  –  by Alison Smedley]

Notes for visitors


Postcode: NP44 1BT

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Boat Dimensions

The maximum size of boat that can navigate the Monmouthshire, Brecon & Abergavenny Canals is:-

Length: 60′ 0″ (18.29m) – Llangynidr Locks
Beam: 9′ 2″ (2.79m) – Llangynidr Locks
Height: 5′ 6″ (1.67 metres) – Ashford Tunnel
Draught: 4′ 7″ (1.39m) Langynidr Locks – but much of the canal is shallower

The navigation authority is Canal & River Trust, and despite being a disconnected waterway it has the same licensing arrangements, with short term visitor licences available.  There are three slipways, at Pencelli Bridge just south of Brecon, at Goytre Wharf and at Pontymoile Basin.

Canoeing, Trip Boats and Boat Hire

Canoeing is encouraged on the Monmouthshire Canal with a Canal & River Trust licence or British Canoeing or Canoe Wales membership.

There are several boat hire companies on the canal.

Challenge Location

The southern limit of navigation

Monmouthshire Canal

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