In the heart of the Vale of Ewyas, beneath the brooding Black Mountains, is the secluded hamlet of Llanthony.

A handful of houses, an inn and a few farms gather around the remains of Llanthony Priory.

It is believed the priory was founded on the site of a ruined chapel around 1100 by Norman knight William de Lacy.

The church and outbuildings still standing today were constructed in the 12th century.

By that time Llanthony had become a monastery of Augustinian canons, which continued until it was demolished in 1539.

Although now a 900-year-old ruin, it is easy to see from these extensive remains that Llanthony was one of Wales’ great medieval buildings.


There are many walking trails within the steep-sided Vale of Ewyas, all taking in the splendid views across Monmouthshire.

An 8-mile circular walk starts at Llanthony Priory. It heads north along the River Honddu through the Vale of Ewyas, the extreme eastern boundary of the Brecon Beacons National Park.

We think this is one of the most enchanting en secluded regions in Wales.

Or follow a track behind the ruins of the Priory which winds up to the Offa’s Dyke Path.

A short 4,5-mile circular follows the national trail towards Hatterall Hill, a lofty windy ridge that separates England from Wales.

We enjoyed an amazing 10-mile circular walk which starts at the Priory car park. This route follows the Vale of Ewyas south to the village of Cwmyoy.

Here in this hamlet, you will encounter its wonky parish church of St Martin. As you can see it has subsided considerably due to geological twists in the underlying rock.

Then the trail leads you onto the ridge and the summit of Hatterall Hill. The break-taking views are utterly amazing.

Just past the highest point you will join the Offa’s Dyke Path back to the Priory.

Offa’s Dyke Path

Running along the spine of England and Wales for 177 miles, this ancient path follows the eighth-century fortification built on the order of King Offa in an attempt to divide Mercia from rival kingdoms.

The Offa’s Dyke Path passes through no less than eight different counties and crosses the border between England and Wales over 20 times.

In addition, it links no less than three Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty – the Wye Valley, the Shropshire Hills and the Clwydian Range / Dee Valley.

Section 3 of the trail from Pandy to Hay-on-Wye (17,5 mile), straddles the national border on the Hatterall Ridge with stunning views to either side.

You have the Vale of Ewyas to one side and the Olchon Valley to the other with distant views of the Skirrid and Sugar Loaf.

Images by Cool Places Britain
Beacons Way

The Beacons Way is a 161km (100-mile) linear walk across the Brecon Beacons National Park.

Demanding uphill climbs and undulating ridges give spectacular views of the National Park, its varied landscapes and its wildlife.

Day 2 of the Beacons Way runs from Llanthony Priory to Crickhowell.

You will cross three of the four major ridges in the Black Mountains on this route.

These ridges offer stunning views of the Rivers Usk, Honddu, Grwyne Fawr and Grwyne Fechan valleys.

Cool Places to Explore: Tintern Abbey | Crickhowell | Table Mountain | Sugar Loaf | Hay-on-Wye | Hereford Cathedral.

Cool Places to Stay: Rose Cottage.