Half way to Sugar Loaf

Summertime in Wales, a long weekend and a campsite perfectly located in Abergavenny with stunning views all around. This was a memorable summer short break in South wales for my family and I for a few reasons, and although we’d driven through Abergavenney a few times before, this would be our first time staying in the area for a break and we will certainly be returning for sure.

Abergavenny street view

Abergavenny means mouth of the river Gavenny and is a market town in Monmouthshire, a settlement that pre dates the Romans which is surrounded by hills and mountains, the highest in the area is known as Sugar Loaf Mountain which has stunning views from the plateau at the top. 

monmouthshire views

Our long weekend break had been quite uncertain, and we had put off our trip a few times, but the break in South Wales was so anticipated and welcome by the time we started our journey with caravan in tow. With beauty all around us and a picturesque market town so close by with supplies for everything we could possibly need, what more could I wish?

welsh fields

The weather behaved too, for main part which was the icing on the cake! I have always enjoyed trips and holidays to Wales, firstly as a child with my mum and brother in North Wales and day trips to South Wales with my own family, especially the walks we’ve taken through a valley surrounded by the Black Mountains near Crikhowell which is close to Abergavenny. 

BaldHiker Social Walks
dog on sugar loaf wales

After arriving at the campsite and setting up our caravan for the stay, we decided to drive into the little town for a few supplies and to explore a little, we were able to buy everything we needed and got ourselves acquainted with the layout of the area. As we explored Abergavenny the scenery though, and up some very steep lanes was more and more appealing, and I can quite understand why this beautiful little market town is promoted as “gateway to Wales.”

gateway to wales

From this location, there is so much to explore and is a short drive from the Black Mountains, the Brecon Beacons National Park, Blaenavon Ironworks and Big Pit. Whether or not you actively explore by hiking the mountains, cycling through or walking the valleys there is so much to see and do here.

on the black mountains

The first day was mostly a local drive about, getting supplies and settling into the camp site, but even on a short dog walk through the nearby fields we could take in the beauty of this lovely area. Abergavveny had been on our bucket list of places to take a break since our very first encounter with the area on day trips. On the second day of our long weekend break and with perfect sunny weather, my daughter and husband decided to do a hike up to Sugar Loaf Mountain with our smallest dog, Bandit, a perfect idea and only around 2 miles (3.2 km) North West of Abergavenny. All prepped with Plenty of water, sun cream, packed lunch and boots on, off they went from the camp site and headed up hill after crossing the nearby A40. I stayed behind on the camp site with our youngest son and the big dog, Max. I couldn’t join in with the adventure due to a knee injury at the time, I had a full leg brace and crutches and only able to walk short distances, the shower block or the dog walking field were my furthest walking challenges. I had a good book, music, plenty of coffee and a sun lounger with some gorgeous weather, my son had his PS4. 

sugar loaf national trust sign

My daughter and husband sent me lots of progress updates and photos as they made their way up to the summit of Sugar Loaf Mountain plateau which is. 1,955 feet (596 metres) at its highest point. The views up there look absolutely breathtaking and I will have to experience it myself on another visit. I’d seen some of the views from the halfway point in the car from a National Trust car park, but there’s nothing quite like the feeling of getting up to the top of a hill, mountain or other viewpoint under your own steam so to speak. While they made progress on their hike, Max had a couple of tiny walks to the dog walking field with help from my son, I went along for the walk but couldn’t hold his lead as well as my crutches at the same time, and it was hilarious getting across the stepping stones on crutches over the stream that had to be crossed to access the dog walking field. Nonetheless it was still great to be in such a picturesque location and enjoying the relaxation of it all, just what I needed.

view from Pen-y-fal

In the evening of that lovely relaxed second day we’d decided to go into the town and order a takeaway treat, it was a nice way to finish off the day. The next day wasn’t so sunny and we made the decision to take a drive out together. Our drive was quite random, and we found ourselves near an attraction called the Big Pit National Mining Museum, which would be nice to return to for a day trip, just not practical for us at the time, since we had the 2 dogs with us and also because I wasn’t very mobile, so we have another reason to return for another holiday in Wales. We did find an area to walk the dogs a little along with some views that showed the local coal mining history well.

dog walk in wales

We took a drive through the Brecon Beacons National Park and even though the weather was unpredictable that day, the scenery was just beautiful wherever we went. There’s so much to be praised about visiting Wales, and we found this a perfect base for any kind of adventure, Abergavenny is a new favourite place to take a caravan break, but of course there’s plenty of places to stay if you like a bit more luxury. It was a fun and relaxing summer break in South Wales, such a surprising weekend which was worth the extra effort to bring together despite setbacks and changes to plans. Sometimes we must make allowances for change and still find the good in everything. I certainly enjoyed this long weekend break and look forward to returning.

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