The Llanthony Valley
The Llanthony Valley, regarded by many as the loveliest valley in the Breacon Beacons National Park, is easily accessible and yet remote. A narrow winding road, off the A465 Abergavenny to Hereford Road, meanders through a valley of contrasts, reaching it’s scenic climax at Gospel Pass then dropping down into the world renowned second hand bookshop town of Hay-on-Wye. At the heart of the valley are the romantic ruins of Llanthony Abbey, described by Giraldus in the 12th Century as “more truly suited to monastic discipline than any other monastery in the British Isles”. It is bordered on the east by a spectacular 11mile stretch of the Offa’s Dyke footpath and topped on both sides by heather clad moorland.
The hamlet of Llanthony originated around it’s 12th Century priory, this fell into disrepair at the dissolution in 1538 but the hamlet survived and each cottage bears the name of the skill of the craftsman who lived and worked there. It is not surprising that the area, which offers remote peace and tranquillity with marvellous walking, pony trekking and bird watching terrain have captivated poets and artists. Peregrines breed on the rocky slopes and dippers walk the streams. An enjoyable day can be spent at the towns of Abergavenny and Hereford especially on market days. There is a wealth of old churches in the valley, Cwmyoy Church, said to be “the most crooked church in Wales” and Patricio with it’s ancient rood screen and wall paintings.
There are two inns within walking distance, one of which is in the cellar of Llanthony Priory. Llanthony is a short distance from the famous Walnut Tree restaurant, various castles and a working coal mine. This is a very special part of Wales; the sheltering hills of Abergavenny forming a chain linking the Black Mountains with the Breacon Beacons. Here you will find the peace and tranquillity with the opportunity for many outdoor pursuits, such as superb hill walking, pony trekking, bird watching, fishing and painting