The River Usk rises on the northern slopes of the Black Mountains and flows through the rugged landscape that divides that range from the Brecon Beacons, in one of the most beautiful valleys of the United Kingdom. its headwaters and some of its tributaries are restrained by dams, namely the Usk, Cray, Talybont, and Grwyne Fawr.
At Brecon, part of the river flow is diverted to feed the Monmouthshire and Brecon canal which runs parallel to the Usk until the flood plains widen at Abergavenny. Here the two diverge, the canal to the south-west and the Usk south-east towards Newport. In all the river is 120 kilometers in length, with its flow generally faster above Crickhowell.
Water quality is good, both chemically and biologically. The Usk is regarded as an important river for salmon and wild brown trout, and also for rarer species such as the allis and twait shad, brook and sea lamprey eels, common eels, and white clawed cray fish. Invertebrate life is equally diverse and profuse, including cased and caseless caddisfly, snails, mayfly, stonefly and numerous terrestrial flies. It is for these reasons that the Usk has been designated a Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI) and a European Special Area of Conservation (SAC)
The salmon and sea trout fishing season extends from the 3rd March to the 17th October, although fly fishing is the only permitted method between 3rd March and 31st May. All salmon caught before the 15th June must be returned unharmed. The brown trout season also begins on the 3rd March and runs until the 30th September.
There is no prettier river than the gently meandering Usk, so pack your picnic and investigate its unspoilt charms.