There are lots of opportunities for more active adventures. From wild swimming and canoeing along the River Wye, to exploring the Black Mountains by horse or mountain bike.
There are some good spots for a paddle or swim in the area – see the Wild Swimming book (available in The Barn), and online maps at www.wildswimming.co.uk and www.wildswim.com. Be sensible and only swim if you are experienced and a confident wild swimmer. Our favourites include:
Clodock, River Monnow / 5 mins drive / by bridge a series of shallow pools and deep section above weir.
Grwyne Fawr Reservoir / 45 mins drive to Black Mountain (Mynydd Du) Car Park and Picnic Area (NP7 7LY) and then 60 mins walk up to redundant reservoir/lake with Victorian dam.
Llangynidr, River Usk / 40 mins drive to NP8 1NA / Beautiful river section a short 5-10 min walk downstream of the old bridge to a wooded crag there is a large pool below a waterfall and further on are more secluded pools. Upstream of the old bridge is also good apparently. Do not swim if fishermen present.
Skenfrith, River Monnow NP7 8UH / 30 mins drive / Grassy slopes for children to play, right alongside the River Monnow with an island, deep section and paddling. Nearby Skenfrith Castle, pub and seasonal shop.
Bredwardine Bridge, River Wye / 35 mins drive to HR3 6BT / Popular and easy spot for a swim. Footpath is on R before bridge, some parking by L turn on far side of bridge, beyond Brobury House.
The Warren at Hay On Wye, River Wye / 40 mins drive to Hay Turn opp the Swan Hotel (HR3 5DQ), past St Mary’s Church. After 500m, drive/walk down bumpy track R to car park at bottom. Or walk upstream from Hay 10 mins; footpath at end of Wyeford Rd (HR3 5BJ). Popular stretch of meadow owned by the community with beach, paddling and deeper sections.
Further into the Brecon Beacons National Park you’ll also find the Waterfall Country Trails (see www.breconbeacons.org/waterfall-country-walking-trails) with lots of swimming spots.
The River Wye at Hay on Wye and Symonds Yat offers good canoeing, with full day and half day routes. Canoe hire from:
Want To Canoe? at Hay on Wye / HR3 5RS / www.canoehire.co.uk / Half- or full-day rentals with launch sites at Glasbury or Hay.
Wye Valley Canoes / Glasbury, nr Hay / HR3 5NP / www.wyevalleycanoes.co.uk / Half- or full-day rentals from Glasbury towards Hay.
Ross on Wye Canoe Hire Company, Symonds Yat / HR9 6BJ / www.thecanoehire.co.uk / Half- or full-day rentals with launch sites at Ross On Wye and Symonds Yat.
Horse riding and Pony Trekking
Explore the Black Mountains on horseback.
Grange Trekking / NP7 7NP / 40 mins drive / www.grangetrekking.co.uk / Pony trekking and riding for beginners and experienced riders.Based at Capel-Y-Fin just up from Llantony in the Vale of Eywas.
There are opportunities to explore the Black Mountains by bike, with some local routes detailed in the Lost Lanes Wales Book and Cycling in Brecon Beacon National Park Info (both available in The Barn).
Drover Cycles, Hay-on-Wye / HR3 5EH / 40 mins / www.drovercycles.co.uk / Based in Hay-on-Wye with a good selection of bikes, plus advice and cafe on site.
Wye Valley Canoes/ Glasbury, nr Hay / HR3 5NP / www.wyevalleycanoes.co.uk / They also do bikes! Half- or full-day rentals from.
Wye Valley MTB Centre, near Ross on Wye / HR9 6BJ / 40 mins / www.hireamountainbike.co.uk
Pedal A Bike Away, Forest of Dean, GL16 7EH / 60 mins / www.pedalabikeaway.co.uk
Black Mountains Cycle Centre, NP7 7PE / 10 mins drive /wwww.blackmountainscyclecentre.com / If you're equipped and feeling adventurous the Black Mountains Cycle Centre is very nearby and provides downhill and freeride tracks for intermediate and advanced riders.