Stage 5

Abergavenny to Pontypool: 16 miles.

Stage 5 of the Monmouthshire Way sees the route leave the Black Mountains and enter the 'Valleys' and a UNESCO World Heritage site, a location that has been recognised as having world importance for the part it played during the Industrial Revolution. From Abergavenny, the route passes through Llanfoist and climbs an ancient tramway that was used to bring iron from the Blaenavon area to the canal. The iron was loaded onto barges and was transported to Newport and from there onto ships that travelled the world! The climb is steep but fortunately not long and a second tramway known as Hill's Tramroad is followed as it contours around the northern side of Blorenge. The route provides spectacular views over the Usk Valley to the Black Mountains beyond.

The tramroad crosses the B4246 to an area where large piles of molten slag will be seen. This was the site of the Garnddyrys Forge which was a huge ironworks that would have dominated this hillside. The Monmouthshire Way heads towards Pwll Du and the remotely located Lamb and Fox Public House. The route passes through an area of ancient slag heaps that now have protected status and descends via a second tramroad to the Whistle Inn near Blaenavon. A climb to Coity Mountain now follows and on reaching the ridge views of the South Wales Valleys opens up. This was an industrial area dominated by mines.

All have now gone, but as the route climbs to Coity Mountain, the Big Pit mining museum can be seen in the valley below. The western flank of Coity Mountain is explored in order to provide more intimate views of the Ebbw Valleys and when above Abertillery, the Monmouthshire Way heads south east and downhill to reach the outskirts of Pontypool. An urban walk is followed to reach Pontypool town centre via Pontypool Park.