Brecon canal basin

button-theme-canalbutton_lang_frenchBrecon canal basin

brecon_canalThe scene before you here looks like a classic canal terminus, with a wide area of water (known as a “basin”) for narrow boats to turn around. However, this basin dates from the 1990s!

When the Brecknock & Abergavenny Canal (later the Monmouthshire & Brecon Canal) opened in 1800, it passed this area in a straight line to a terminus where you now see the yard of builders’ merchant Robert Price. The western part of Canal Road was built on top of the old canal.

The two-storey tower on the north side of the basin may have pre-dated the canal. It’s thought that the canal company may have used it as an office where the weights of goods in boats were monitored.

In 1849 the canal company surveyed the route of the canal to see if it could be converted into a railway. In 1858 the public were given notice that the canal would be closed west of Abergavenny for replacement by a railway, but the plan fell through.

Other railways diverted goods away from the canal, which was retained for water distribution after the last freight boats stopped in the 1930s. The uppermost section of the canal fell into dereliction but this part was reopened in 1991 as part of the regeneration of this area of Brecon. The photo (courtesy of the MBACT archive) shows the area before the reopening.

Overlooking the basin is Theatr Brycheiniog, designed to echo the architecture of canal-side warehouses. Opened in April 1997, it was the first new arts building to be funded entirely by the UK’s National Lottery, launched in 1994. It is a venue for the annual Brecon Jazz Festival, founded in 1984.

The road bridge at the western end of the basin was added in 1996. A short walk east along the towpath brings you to two original canal bridges, one of which is an unusual two-arch structure.

With thanks to the archive of the Monmouthshire, Brecon and Abergavenny Canals Trust

Postcode: LD3 7EW     View Location Map

CRT website – Monmouthshire & Brecon Canal

Website of Theatr Brycheiniog

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