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The local area guide to living in Usk

Usk is a historic Welsh town, quietly nestled at the feet of the Monmouthshire hills in south-east Wales. Named after and located on the River Usk, it was a medieval market town and has now earned a fantastic reputation for its success in Britain in Bloom competitions. Usk is also locally known for its beautiful walks, pubs and restaurants.

Usk (Brynbuga in Welsh) was home to a Roman legionary fortress from AD 55 for 20 years before they relocated to nearby Caerleon. The remains of the fortifications can still be traced with plaques set into the pavement throughout the town, which add an extra piece of interest for the historically minded.

After the Romans moved on, Usk remained a civilian settlement until the Normans took notice of its advantageous position. The powerful de Clare family built a castle, which remains one of very few privately owned and occupied castles in the country to this day.

When visiting, the rich history of the town becomes very clear. Tranquil but not remote, historic yet vibrant – Usk is a very attractive place to live.

Information about the local residents

As of the 2011 Census, Usk is home to 2,834 people. Notable figures hailing from Usk include Adam of Usk – the man who chronicled the 1403 Welsh Revolt.

Current residents largely have professional, elementary and skilled trade occupations. While the majority of the town’s population is Welsh, there are a significant group of residents from the rest of the UK and a small number of people hail from elsewhere in Europe.

Usk has a wonderful community spirit and this is illustrated in the town’s performance in Britain in Bloom. Formed in 1980, the Usk in Bloom committee works to maintain and improve the local environment by the creative planting of trees, shrubs, bushes and flower arrangements.

They’ve had a huge amount of success, with Usk winning the Wales in Bloom competition an impressive 27 times in a row between 1982 and 2010. It’s this colourful charm which offsets the cobbled streets and 17th century buildings to lend Usk its unique appeal.

Nearby schools

The tranquil beauty of Usk makes it a draw for families with young children, and the town’s Church in Wales Primary School only adds to that. Also nearby are Llanfair Kilgeddin VA CIW Primary School, Goytre Fawr Primary School and Croesyceiliog School – a comprehensive that services pupils aged 11 to 18.

A few miles away is Newport, which has some of the best schools in Wales. Bassaleg School and Caerleon Comprehensive were both named in the top 10 schools in Wales in 2014.

Getting around

While Usk has a distinctly peaceful atmosphere, that doesn’t mean it’s cut off. Just east is the A449, which goes directly to Newport and the M4 in under 20 minutes. A little stretch further west is Cardiff and Bristol is just a 45-minute drive away over the Severn Bridge. With such attractive proximities, Usk can be considered a commuter haven.

The Usk GWR Railway Station has been disused since the 1950s but very close by is the Pontypool & New Inn station, as well as Cwmbran station. Regular buses that can take a traveller to Newport in less than half an hour also serve Usk.

Local shops

Usk defies its size with a generous array of characterful pubs, restaurants, antique dealers and artisan stores. Country Pine & Antiques of Usk is very popular, as is Harpers of Usk on Bridge Street.

Reeks Stained Glass and Craft Studio offers some creative ideas for gifts as well as repairs and bespoke work, while The Curtain Studio has 1000s of fabrics and provides a fantastic service.

What’s more, you can’t go anywhere in Usk without passing a high-quality gastro pub or restaurant – perfect for finishing off a stroll in the local countryside. The Olway Inn is particularly excellent and offers exceptional views of the said countryside.

Whilst every effort has been taken to ensure the above information is up to date, some inaccuracies may occur. If you notice any inaccuracies please contact

All information was correct at time of publication and is provided in good faith.

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