Access Officer: Nigel Whitehead, Oaklea, Crumlin Rd, Pontypool NP4 6AT - 01495 760090
Newport and Brecon Area - Usk Catchment
||171 Cardiff and Newport
||Newport to Pontypool road A4042(T)
||Trees to be portaged, one weir to be respected in high water
An easy but quite attractive river teeming with animal and bird life. It ends in a tidal stretch.
Pontypool to Caerleon
17 km grade II; a few weirs
A good access point is from waste ground by a small road and bridge leading into the village of New Inn GR298995. The river is best paddled after reasonable rainfall, when the canoe will float down the shingle rapids. This is a pleasant run, although nowhere reaching greater than grade II. Trees may require portaging depending upon recent storm damage, but this is a pleasant paddle finishing up, as it does, in estuarine water. There are two easy, small weirs in Llanyrafon. The first produces a surprisingly strong stopper in times of high water. The greatest danger on this part of the river is being hit by golf balls from the course on the left. However, the golfers and, for that matter, the fishermen seem extremely friendly here!
There is one weir in between the railway and road bridges in Ponthir that requires caution. It consists of three boxed-in sections, the middle one of which is best avoided. The left is ok (although boxed) at normal river flow (in huge flows the stopper backs across the whole of the weir face - a typical occurrence on this type of weir in very high water). A good egress point is after the Lwyd joins the Usk (described elsewhere). The bridge at Caerleon GR342903 is suitable, with a pub each side. This section is strongly tidal and you may, therefore, wish to time your runs. In point of fact, if you really time your run it is possible to egress at the river and be sinking a pint of Brains’ best with the minimum amount of effort.