Usk is a very special place, not only for those who live there, but the thousands of visitors who come through the town every year.
As we continue our post-lockdown series, featuring places right here on our doorstep, OUR SOUTH WALES drops in on this historic, multi award winning town.
USK is very much a community of residents who love living there, as much as they enjoy the visitors who come to see what they have to offer. And for a place with a population less than three thousand, they certainly have a lot.
It’s difficult to know where to begin. If you fish, you’ll know it is one of the finest salmon fishing rivers in the country. You just have to watch an episode of the BBC Series, Gone Fishing with Paul Whitehouse and Bob Mortimer to see just how special it is.
Paul and Bob fished the picturesque River Usk, where Paul’s father first taught him to fish as a young child. They discuss their respective childhoods and reflect on their own family lives. In their cosy cottage accommodation in the heart of the countryside they compare school photographs and Paul serenades Bob with his guitar.
It’s a really emotional episode, and one we can highly recommend. Paul scatters his father’s ashes as a tribute to the place he loved. It’s series 2, episode 1, and you can watch it on the BBC iPlayer right here. FISHING
But you can’t walk around Usk and not be totally captivated by the floral displays. You’ll understand why it is a regular winner of Wales in Bloom, 37 years in a row to be exact. Three years ago the town was named joint winner of the large village category in the Royal Horticultural Society’s Britain in Bloom awards. Then the following year it went one better by winning the ”International Challenge Award at the Communities in Bloom Ceremony in Canada.
This seems a good point to show you our Usk in 3 minutes film. We captured a little snapshot of what you’ll see when you arrive in the town. With a special thank you to Usk Castle for giving SOUTH WALES LIFE exclusive access for filming.
Understandably, USK is very proud of its town and beautiful gardens. When the world is free of lockdown they host an Open Gardens weekend every June. Around 20 of the private gardens in Usk are open to visitors to raise money for local charities. They range from small cottage gardens to the grandeur of Usk Castle. For more details, go here GARDENS
The USK SHOW is always a magnificent, and really well supported event (not this year). It’s been running since 1844, on the second Saturday in September. The very best of farming and rural life is celebrated in the heart of Monmouthshire. It’s actually become one of the biggest one-day agricultural shows in the whole of the UK and if you pay a visit next year, you will see it’s popularity is second-to-none. More details here SHOW
The RURAL LIFE MUSEUM, with its very nice cafe is a must see, especially if you have the kids with you. Housed in an ancient malt barn with adjacent buildings, the Museum has over 5000 exhibits collected by local enthusiasts over the past 50 years in order to preserve the heritage of the life and work of country people in the Welsh Borders from Victorian times and onwards. What you see in the museum is life how it used to be lived and with the tools our ancestors used. For more details, head here. MUSEUM
Usk Town Council also have a guide to a couple of short, but really nice walks around the town, you can download those here. WALKS
There’s also a TOWN TRAIL which includes 28 sites of historic interest, each highlighted with a Blue Plaque. If you’d like to download a copy to print, or save on your device, you can do that here. TRAIL
USK is the kind of place you can drop in on anytime, there are unique shops enjoy, plenty of cafes, pubs and restaurants. More places of interest to visit than you can squeeze into a day, everything from churches to children’s play areas.
They have a COUNTRY MARKET and FARMERS’ MARKET a regular CAR BOOT SALE (which is back on) and even their own monthly FILM SCREENINGS (which aren’t on right now). Most of all, it is simply a beautiful place to visit, walk around and enjoy. Take a wander across the bridge and into town, and it’s easy to see why USK is the Garden of Wales.
If you’d like a copy of the town guide, featuring all the places we’ve highlighted, and so much more, you can download it here. GUIDE