Shopping & services in the Upper Usk Valley

We hope you will find this list of local businesses useful – there are three who can offer you a good day out and the rest of the information is on where you can shop locally. Continue reading


So just what IS the Upper Usk Valley?

A land of history and legend in this quiet but wilder side of Wales

A traditional rural scene of patch worked green fields, deciduous woodlands and coniferous forestry complete with meandering river is the Upper Usk Valley. The area offers a natural beauty to rival better well-known areas of Wales. Tucked neatly between the Mynydd Epynt  and the Carmarthen Fans, the Upper Usk Valley is regularly used by film and television companies attracted by its unspoiled countryside largely unchanged for 500 years.

This is the “Wilder Side of Wales” where the River Usk starts its 63 mile journey.

Close to the source of the River Usk, on higher ground is Llyn y Fan Fach. Legend tells the famous story of The Lady of The Lake, and her sons the Physicians of Myddfai. You can find this enchanting story told by Owen Staton.

Running through the Upper Usk Valley is the A40 trunk road connecting to Brecon at its eastern edge and to Llandovery in the west. Much of the A40 is an ancient Drovers Road which was also used by the bowmen and soldiers who set off to fight at Agincourt in 1415.

History is alive in the land. Discover pagan stones, ancient yew trees, castles and mediaeval churches. The hills and mountains hold the keys to time – anything from Roman camps to wartime plane crash sites.

As you might expect, the open countryside of the “Wilder side of Wales” offers varied recreation opportunities for those looking to experience its natural beauty, from walking & mountain biking to fishing, the Upper Usk Valley is just the place!

There are two Dark Skies sites in the area if you want to look at the stars. But if you want to spend your time just breezing through the beauty of the Upper Usk Valley and dropping into a local tea room, then that’s ok too.

Sennybridge Show – what a fantastic tradition.

The Upper Usk Valley group were in attendance at the 2014 Sennybridge Show with a well dressed stand which won 2nd place and a smart blue rosette – well done team! The newly reprinted leaflets were available in Welsh and English and attracted a lot of interest. Interesting displays on the Defynnog Yew Tree and local Dark Sky Discovery Sites and a map showing the UUV area all helped to show what a vibrant community we live in.

They say a picture is worth a thousand words so  the following images can speak for themselves about what a fabulous day it was yesterday at the Sennybridge Show.

Show 1 Show 2 Show 3 Show 4 Show 6 Show 8 Show 9 Show 10

Hedgehogs – when did you last see one?

Around Madog Barn in Crai we have recently been very fortunate to see a large hedgehog snuffling along the lane, enjoying slugs and beetles. We hadn’t seen one for several years, a fact echoed by several people we have spoken to from different areas.

Hedgehogs were declared a priority conservation species in 2007 following 2 major surveys which indicated that a quarter of the hedgehog population had been lost in recent years.

Why hedgehog numbers are falling is not known for certain. Reasons could be:

  • More intensive agriculture – with larger fields and the loss of hedgerows
  • Use of pesticides such as slug pellets can reduce the amount of prey available.
  • Smaller and tidier gardens , often paved over and with fencing that prevents hedgehogs moving between gardens may have reduced suitable urban habitats.
  • Tens of thousands of hedgehogs are killed by road traffic each year and road deaths . Hedgehogs can travel 1-2km in a night over home ranges of 10-50ha.

How can we help?

Find lots of useful information about hedgehogs at Hedgehog Street and more locally at Howey Hedgehog Rescue which has a great page on encouraging hedgehogs into your garden.

We’d love to hear if you have spotted a hedgehog in the Upper Usk Valley so do let us know !