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What to do in the Black Mountains of Wales

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Forming part of Brecon Beacons National Park, the Black Mountains of Wales are a group of verdant rolling hills in the southeast of the country stretching across the border into England. From ancient woodland to sweeping valleys crowned with sharp crests, the landscape is criss-crossed with hiking routes and ridge trails offering spectacular views. 

Of the numerous destinations where you can enjoy walking in the United Kingdom, the Black Mountains and Brecon Beacons National Park are among the best, drawing hikers from around the United Kingdom and beyond to experience hiking and rambling amid breathtaking landscapes.

 

Top things to do in the Black Mountains of Wales

Walking and hiking


Lace up your hiking boots and hit one of the many trails and walking routes traversing the region's hills and valleys. Highlights include the invigorating Llanthony and Hatterall Ridge 4.5-mile circular route, which ascends from the ruins of Llanthony Priory up to scenic Hatterall Ridge for panoramic views of Offa's Dyke Path in the Black Mountains.
 

On the four-mile circular route from Abergavenny to Sugar Loaf Mountain you may encounter sheep and wild horses before being rewarded by sweeping mountain views at the top.  
 

Discover the Black Mountains and the protected Wye Valley Area with exhilarating ridge trail walks in the Brecon Beacons National Park as part of our Black Mountains and Wye Valley Walking Tour.

Horseback riding


One of the best ways to explore the Black Mountains landscapes is on horseback. At the Llangorse Multi Activity Centre you can head out on horseback tours along miles of private bridleways across open valleys and hillsides. Riding experiences can be tailored to suit the age and ability of all riders.
 

Cycling and mountain biking


The gentle grades, elevated ridge trails and peaceful country roads make the Black Mountains a premium destination for cycling. You'll find plenty of easy, picturesque and family-friendly, paved road routes throughout the area.

Snowdonia is well known as a hotspot for Welsh mountain biking, but the Black Mountains also offer fantastic riding. A circular route starting from the pretty town of Crickhowell can make a great family ride: begin with a climb up towards Coed Cefn, then run down towards Llangenau and on through Glangrwyney and Gilwern before heading back to Crickhowell.

For experienced riders, the gnarly Black Mountain Blitz, starting from Talgarth, includes challenging climbs and white-knuckle descents as well as exciting single-track stretches through the heart of the Black Mountains.

Other Black Mountain outdoor activities


While hiking, cycling and horseback riding may be the most popular, there are numerous other outdoor activities to enjoy in the Black Mountains, from rock climbing and canoeing to watersports and fishing. And thanks to low light pollution, the Brecon Beacons have some of the darkest skies in the UK making for wonderful stargazing. On a clear night in the Black Mountains you can easily see the Milky Way, major constellations, and if you’re really lucky, meteor showers.
 

Discover historic Welsh towns and experience Welsh pub culture

The Black Mountains stand within the roughly triangular area marked out by the towns of Abergavenny, Hay-on-Wye and Llangorse. With historic architecture, numerous dining and shopping options, and friendly locals, these charming communities are great places to experience Welsh culture. Abergavenny is known for its annual food festival, while Hay-on-Wye is famous as the home of the Hay Festival literary celebration that takes place each year from May to June.
 

In these and other small towns, you can find traditional pubs where you can unwind with a pint after a long day of walking, dine on tasty pub grub prepared with locally-sourced produce, and chat with locals. Try the The Angel Hotel in Abergavenny, the Castle Inn in Llangorse, and The Bear Hotel in Crickhowell — twice voted the best pub in Britain.
 

Visit historic sites


From the 900-year-old ruins of the Augustinian monastery Llanthony Priory to the well-preserved towers and fortified medieval manor house of Tretower Court and Castle, the Black Mountains region is dotted with fascinating historic points of interest.


 

How to get there

Brecon Beacons National Park is around a one-hour drive from the Welsh capital Cardiff, which has its own international airport. If you prefer to travel to the Black Mountains by train, Abergavenny is well connected to most UK cities with direct services or via connections in Newport or Crewe.

 

Where to stay in the Black Mountains of Wales

From traditional inns to boutique hotels, you'll find many different accommodation options around the Black Mountains area befitting your taste and budget. In the lively, historic town of Abergavenny, stay in the Kings Head Hotel as part of a five-day walking trip with Explore

 

Tips for exploring the Black Mountains and Brecon Beacons National Park

Here is some more important information to keep in mind for your trip to the Black Mountains:
  • The best time of year to explore the Black Mountains is between May and September to take advantage of the good summertime weather and longer days. However, this is also when the region is most crowded for the tourism high season
  • Be sure to pack appropriately, bringing good hiking boots that have been broken in, layered and waterproof clothing, a backpack, a water bottle and other hiking essentials
  • Always be sure to check the weather forecast before heading out on hiking trails
  • Follow the Leave No Trace principles and respect the environment around you

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