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Monmouthshire and Brecon Canal Conservation Area

The Monmouthshire and Brecon Canal Conservation Area

The Monmouthshire and Brecon Canal Conservation Area was designated on 21st January 1998.

The Setting

The conservation area covers part of a canal network comprising two arms extending broadly north and north east from the Malpas area of Newport. The north arm of the canal extends to Brecon via Cwmbran, Abergavenny, Crickhowell and Talybont. Whilst the much shorter and more easterly arm that once extended to Crumlin, now terminates a little north of Risca. The designated conservation area includes those sections of the canal that lie within the boundaries of Newport City Council.

There is a plan showing the boundaries (pdf) of the conservation area available to view and download.

The Fourteen Locks is a Scheduled Ancient Monument, which is situated on the Crumlin arm. There are also 21 Grade II listed buildings within the Conservation Area boundary.

Introduction to the Area

The canal now referred to as the Monmouthshire and Brecon Canal is in fact two canals. The Brecknock and Abergavenny Canal enabled by an Act of 1793, runs from Brecon to Pontymoile whereas the Monmouthshire Canal used a further 30 locks to reach Newport. The working boats were built of timber and were about 65 feet long with a beam of about 9 feet. These canal boats carried up to 25 tons of cargo.

The Monmouthshire Canal Company with its canal and tramroads was responsible for the growth of Newport, which became the third largest coal port in Briain. In 1796 the Company shipped 3,500 tons of coal from its wharves on the River Usk. By1809 this had grown to 150, 000 tons. The canal was serviced by a network of tramroads for horse pulled trucks. Although coal and iron was the main cargo of the canal boats they also carried goods such as timber, lime and farm produce.

Today the canal from Pontymoile Junction to Brecon is navigable and is in regular use. The sections from Newport to Pontymoile Junction and Newport to Risca survive but are not in a navigable state. The sections of canal from Risca to Crumlin and Barrack Hill (Newport) to Newport Dock have been long abandoned are mostly lost.

Newport City Council seeks to preserve and enhance all surviving sections of the canal situated within the City’s administrative area. Accordingly these sections of the Monmouthshire and Brecon Canal were designated as a conservation area.

In addition to the important surviving built structure of the canal the area as a whole is a striking landscape feature and has often been described as one of the most beautifully scenic waterways in the UK. It plays host, not only to centuries’ old buildings and structures immersed in in industrial history but also numerous species and habitats, many of which carry a high nature conservation value.

The conservation area provides an ideal location for gentle strolls or, for the more adventurous following its course beyond Newport, a hike of up to 33 miles.

For more information relating to this conservation area visit

The Monmouthshire Brecon and Abergavenny Canal Trust

Fourteen Locks Visitor Centre

Listed Buildings within the Monmouthshire and Brecon Canals Conservation Area

In addition to the protection afforded to the whole of area of the canal by its conservation area status the canal also contains The Fourteen Locks Scheduled Ancient Monument, which is situated on the Crumlin arm. Also the special architectural and historic interest of many structures on the canal has been recognised by Cadw, i.e. they have been listed.

For details of the full register of listed buildings within the Conservation Area please view the List of Listed Buildings in the City of Newport (pdf).

Protected Trees

Conservation area designation requires that local authority consent must be obtained before any trees situated within the area are felled, topped or lopped.

In addition to this protection trees may also have the additional protection afforded to them of a Tree Preservation Order (TPO).

For more information about trees in conservation areas and TPO’s contact the Council’s Countryside Services Department on 01633 656656.

Grant Aid

A Historic Building Grant, of up to 25% of eligible costs to a maximum sum of £2,000, may be available from the Council. Eligible buildings must be of particular architectural or historic interest including listed, locally listed and buildings within conservation areas and may include buildings deemed by the Council to be of architectural significance.

To find out more see the Terms and Conditions of Grant Aid (pdf).

To apply for Grant Aid please complete the Application form for Historic Building Grant (pdf).

Contact Details

For information about conservation areas and protecting the historic built environment contact the City Council’s Conservation Officer (Historic Buildings).

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