A circular, half-day low hills and fells (below 600m) walk in Wales starting at Abergavenny, Monmouthshire, about 20km (roughly 12 miles) long and unsuitable for families with children, prams/pushchairs, wheelchairs. The ascent of Sugar Loaf (or 'Y Fal' to give it it's local name) is exponential in many ways. As the views increase in splendour with height, so does the severity of the slopes that guard this fortress of a hill. This route takes in some of the quieter routes around the hill, avoiding the busier areas in the vicinity of nearby car parks. The effort of arriving independent or automobile is well rewarded by hidden beauty in peaceful corners. Start: Abergavenny, OS Grid: SO305137 Elevation Profile (x: waypoint number, y: metres)
Gain (+/- 10%): 650m (2134ft)
Total (+/- 10%): 1301m (4268ft)
Loss (+/- 10%): 650m (2134ft)
Max. Elevation: 570m (1870ft)
Start of the walk
Pop in here for provisions (Tues, Fri and Sat). I brought some lovely plums for a cake recipe to be made when I got home, thus adding lb of weight to my pack!
There's no particularly recommended route through the 'suburbs' of the town.
Take this to avoid the walk up the road.
Join the small lane heading uphill.
Take the right hand fork as you enter the woods.
Fork right here for the more direct route to the top of the hill. Leftwards will take you on an attractive alternative path that follows the contours of the hill towards the head of the valley.
OK, I skipped a bit here, but there are a number of choices of route up to the highpoint, the location of which is pretty obvious when you near!
Whilst admiring the beautiful views northwards towards the Black Mountains, be careful not to miss the path junction that turns SW here.
Turn right here otherwise you're in for a MUCH longer walk!
Having taking on this rather brisk slope, you are confronted by various route posibilities, all pretty much heading the way you want to go.
From here the masses depart from the route to head down to the nearby Car Park. Unencumbered as you are, we suggest taking a minor path into the beautiful deciduous woodland between where you are and your earlier summit.
Our walk through here was in a thin layer of late November snow. Promises were made to return in spring to see if the suggestion of bluebells could be true.
Turn right here to extend the walk via the River Usk. If you're short of time / energy, then the lane straight downhill offers a quicker route back into town.
It looks like the entrance to the front garden of the cottages. Or maybe it was . . . anyway, we found a way through to the footpath.
Left or right? It's very much to your preference.
Whichever way you approached from the last waypoint, head across the road here.
Turn downstream (right if you struggle with things like this . . .)
After the footbridge the path narrows to follow the meander round the bend. With much more erosion this path may cease to exist, so mind your footing.
Welcome back to reality! One can try to imagine what a peaceful spot this once would have been.
Cross the road here, taking due care, and straight over to the 'Sustrans' NCN marked route.
The footbridge marked at GR301137 was sadly absent when we visited. Maybe a short term fix or a longer term problem? From this point, either head back into town for refreshment and retail therapy (or hell?!), else find your back back to the station from whence you started some hours earlier.
There's a cafe here. We can't comment on it though as unusually for us, we timed our arrival to perfection for our scheduled train.