Newton weir, Brecon

Newton weir, Brecon

This weir on the river Usk was built in the late 18th century to supply the new Brecknock & Abergavenny Canal. The canal is navigable and its towpath is a popular walking route – you can reach the terminus by following the riverside path for about 1km eastwards.

A large pipe underneath Brecon town centre takes water from the weir to the canal. When the canal opened in 1800 it continued beyond the current terminus to a point a little closer to the weir (passing what’s now the yard of builders’ merchant Robert Price).

The weir isn’t the canal’s only source of water. Feeders bring in water from various streams lower down. The canal has to be replenished constantly because some of its water is routinely lost, particularly when boats use locks to change level.

The weir incorporates a fish pass because the Usk is an important salmon fishery. Salmon need to travel up the river to spawn in its upper reaches.

Historically there was friction between the canal company and anglers or owners of riverside land. In 1869 an Inspector of Fisheries reported that in the previous dry summer the canal company had diverted “every last drop” from the river and closed the fish pass.

In 1901 there were complaints that alterations to the weir by the Great Western Railway (which then owned the canal) had greatly reduced the volume of river water. Anglers pointed out that boat traffic on the canal had virtually ended, so the canal was only a watercourse.

Today the weir and the navigable section of the canal are looked after by the charity Glandwr Cymru the Canal & River Trust in Wales.

Postcode: LD3 9AY    View Location Map

Canal & River Trust website – Monmouthshire & Brecon Canal

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