Brecon Beacons by bus: X43/43 Abergavenny - Crickhowell - Brecon

Follow the banks of the River Usk aboard the X43/43 bus service from Abergavenny, home of the famous food festival. The bus travels through Crickhowell with its cafes and art gallery; go back in time at the fascinating fortified manor house of Tretower Court, or just relax in one of the canalside pubs in Talybont-on-Usk. There are two services to choose from, the X43 which travels more directly to Brecon along the A40; and an alternate service, the 43, which winds its way through the villages alongside the river.

Day 1 Morning: Abergavenny

Food stalls inside Abergavenny Market Hall

Abergavenny Market Hall, Vale of Usk by Ianto73
Abergavenny was originallly named Gobannium (place of the ironsmiths) by the Romans. Explore its history by visiting Abergavenny Museum, located in a restored early 19th century hunting lodge in the grounds of Abergavenny castle. You might also visit the 12C Tithe Barn, which houses an exhibition centre showing 1000 years of the town’s history from 1087, along with a food-hall and shop.

The very popular Abergavenny Food Festival takes place mid September every year at locations all around the town. A farmers’ market is held in the Market Hall on the 4th Thursday of each month. A perfect spot for a picnic is Linda Vista Gardens, home to rare orchids and with stunning views to the Blorenge or next to the river at Castle Meadows in the shadow of the castle. Call in at the Tourist Information Centre, based in the bus station, for advice on  walks to The Blorenge, Skirrid Fawr, or Holy Mountain and for details of the historic town trail 'Wigs, Flannels & Romans'.

Travel notes

Nearest bus stop: Abergavenny, bus station. Other public transport links: Abergavenny rail station, about 15 minutes walk from the town. Why not spend the night at the Hopyard Courtyard Cottage?

Afternoon: Crickhowell

Stone bridge crossing the Usk River at Crickhowell with the Table Mountain in the background

River Usk passing Crickhowell, Brecon Beacons by Chris Aylward
As the X43 heads towards Brecon you come to the town of Crickhowell, situated beneath Table Mountain or Crug Hywel, site of an Iron Age hill fort. The grounds of the 12C Norman castle ruins are a good place to stop for a picnic, as are the Bullpit Meadows next to the River Usk, crossed by a 16C bridge.

The town hosts a walking festival every Spring. The staff in the Crickhowell Information Centre can advise you on the best local walks and much more besides. There’s an art gallery upstairs and an Arts Trail is held over the Spring Bank Holiday when local artists open up their studios to visitors. It’s a great place to stop, with plenty of independent shops, including chocolate makers and a delicatessen, several good pubs and cafes to linger in over lunch.

Travel notes

Journey time from Abergavenny: 20 minutes. Nearest bus stop: Crickhowell, Square.

Day 2 Morning: Tretower

Tretower Castle, Brecon Beacons

Tretower, Brecon Beacons

 by Cadw
If you’re using the direct X43 service to Brecon, the village of Tretower is a short distance from Crickhowell along the A40. A short walk of around 500m from the nearest bus stop will bring you to the ruins of Tretower Castle and the newly refurbished Tretower Court, one of the best examples of a fortified manor house in Wales. One Sunday a month you will discover costumed guides who can tell you all about the history of this fascinating building.

Travel notes

Journey time from Abergavenny: 23 minutes. Nearest bus stop: Tretower, Gilfaes Turn.

Afternoon: Llangattock Beechwood

The alternative village service (43) turns off the A40 at Crickhowell to Llangattock. Here you’ll find a circular walk in Llangattock Beechwood. Although there are no longer any mature beech trees as its name suggests, keep your eyes peeled as you follow the route for several wooden sculptures carved by Neil Gow to depict the different plants and animals found within the wood. 

Travel notes

Journey time from Abergavenny: 23 minutes. Nearest bus stop: Llangattock, School. 

Day 3: Talybont-on-Usk

The Monmouthshire and Brecon Canal at Talybont on Usk

Monmouthshire and Brecon Canal, Talybont, Brecon by Paula J James
The bus continues on through the village of Llangynidr, following the Monmouthshire and Brecon canal until it reaches Talybont-on-Usk. The canal is a great place to spot wildlife including kingfishers. They nest in tunnels in the riverbank and are often heard before they are seen. Other spectacles include many species of dragonfly. Talybont is a pretty village where you can see the remains of lime kilns on the canal, follow the Canal Food Trail and spend time at one of the pubs, cafe or restaurants. Explorers can stroll the Henry Vaughan Walk, or hike or bike part of the Taff Trail, a 55 mile walking and cycling route from Brecon to Cardiff. If you’d like to stay overnight, Coity Bach Holiday Cottages (Gold GTBS) have two comfortable cottages in the grounds of a farm.

Travel notes

Journey time from Abergavenny: 46 minutes. Nearest bus stop: Talybont-on-Usk, Canal bridge. The bus ends its journey in Brecon at the Bus Interchange for onward connections including Cardiff, Swansea, Newport and Hereford.

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