This outstanding family-friendly route up the Afon Lwyd valley is a traffic-free railway trail through former mining country.
From Newport, follow NCN 49 north along the old canal towpath to Cwmbran, where this route starts. From here, it heads towards Blaenavon on a wide, paved railway path with excellent views. There’s a gentle gradient but you’ll barely notice it on the way up. Pontypool has useful services including a supermarket just by the path.
The Big Pit Mining Museum and steam railway at Blaenavon both deserve an afternoon of your time. Here the route leaves the old trackbed and winds past small lakes at the summit of the path. The Whistle Inn and Racehorse, both by the route here, are the two highest pubs in South Wales.
The route continues over the hill, still traffic-free, to Brynmawr where it meats the Heads of the Valleys route (NCN 46).