Sugar Loaf (near Abergavenny)
The views get better and better as you climb the moderate slopes of this distinctive conical peak.
|Est. Time:||2 hrs 30 mins|
|Total Ascent:||1332 ft|
|Total Descent:||1312 ft|
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- Easy access from Abergavenny
- Views of the Brecon Beacons and the Bristol Channel
- Relatively easy climb
- Attractive oak woodlands
The distinctive shape of the Sugar Loaf makes it a prominent landmark in this region. It can even be easily picked out from Cotswold viewpoints 40 miles away. It is high enough to be called a mountain, but the climb is steady and within the scope of people of average fitness.
Take the signposted path opposite the car park, leading beside Porth y Parc farm and through 2 gates. Go slightly downhill and over a stile beside a gate.
The path begins to rise. Go over another stile/gate alongside some trees. After another gate/stile you come to an area of parkland scenery overlooking a pretty valley (shown on the map as "The Park").
Where the path divides take the left fork. Go over 3 gate/stiles in succession - alongside a wood. The path follows the edge of a wood. The summit is visible at this point but stay on the path until a fence comes in from the right.
Turn up the hill following the trail through low gorse and heather. Where the path splits you can go straight up or follow the right fork and loop round to approach the top from behind. The loop route offers a steadier climb and wonderful views across to the Bristol Channel.
The summit is an elongated ridge reaching 1,612 feet (496 metres) at the trig point, which is at the western end. The conical shape that earned this mountain its name is apparent from the narrow ends of the ridge.
Follow steps down from the top to join the steeper of the summit paths back to the fork where the loop path began. On approaching the woods veer left until you reach a stile, which crosses the fence into oak woods (few woods boast this many oak trees).
Go across a stream and through a gate, then through another gate and over another stream. Follow alongside a fence and retrace your earlier path alongside the woods and down towards Porth y Parc farm and the Car Park.
This is a pretty safe walk and well within the ability of normally fit adults and children. In bad weather, however, the summit is very exposed.
Abergavenny is the major town and tourist centre in this area, situated on the River Usk and controlling the major A40 route into central Wales. It has bus and rail connections with the rest of Britain and provides a variety of hotel, guest house, B&B and Youth Hostel accommodation.
The Sugar Loaf at 1937 feet (596 metres) is a baby compared with the peaks of the nearby Brecon Beacons, but its distinctive conical shape makes it a prominent landmark for the area. It is so prominent that it can be easily picked out from Cotswold viewpoints in Gloucestershire more than 40 miles away. This is not the only hill called by this name, which recalls the shape of the solid lumps of crystalline sugar that were sold before the days of pre-packed groceries.