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Mid Wales, Llanwrtyd Wells and Rhayader

I'd been meaning to go to this area for years because I'd heard it was great for mountain biking, and when I finally managed to go, I wished I'd been there sooner.   Let me tell you, it really lives up to it's reputation!  There's loads of superb riding, although you probably wouldn't want to ride on the big hills there in the middle of winter when the wind was up!

We spent one day riding a classic route (straight out of MBR, thanks guys!) around the Elan valley (Rhayader) and another day riding another classic route around the Irfon Forest (CTC marked) at Llanwrtyd Wells.

The ride out of Rhayader is absolutely brilliant, and takes in what must be the best bridleway in Britain, as shown on the right.

I can't wait to get back, if it just weren't so dam far away....

Llanwrtyd Wells is the smallest town in Britain and is rightly proud of this accolade.  They hold many events here for the more lunatic fringe (bog snorkelling, man vs horse, real ale wobble etc), as well as a famous MTB event organised by Red Kite Bike Events

Accommodation, routes, bike hire and everything else you could possibly need (including beer) can be got at the Neuadd Arms Hotel.

Bike shops:  Cycles Irfon

Tourism:  Llanwrtyd Wells

Route guiding:  Clive Powell - Offers a Guiding service in the area

NH 2000


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When your in the Elan Valley, make sure you ride DOWN to the resevoir along this briddleway.  You WILL NOT regret the hard climb up!!!

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Cos this is what it looks like

The Brecon Beacons, South Wales

The Brecon Beacons national Park is really three mountain ranges, The Black Mountain, The Brecon Beacons and confusingly, The Black Mountains.  I've ridden on the last two, the Black Mountain has never really appealed.

  • The Beacons

The Beacons themselves are the middle range of mountains and have the highest peaks - and therefore the most walkers.

Best riding I've found is out of the Talybont reservoir and a bike path called the Taff trail which goes all the way along the Taff river down to Cardiff.  This trail is useful for linking bits of more technical riding, as it's a bit of a motorway.  A good bit of track is over the old cart track that forms the pass between Cribyn and Fan Y Big   It's steep and loose on the north side and fast and rocky on the south side - watch out for walkers though!  If you ride this and the Talybont Reservoir it's difficult making a circular route without doing a fair bit of road.

  • The Black Mountains

The Black Mountains are the eastern most range and lie above Crickhowel. 

I like the Black Mountains for riding.  You get that high mountain experience and you can ride most of the flat peaks without having to get off and push. Another bonus is they tend to be less busy than the neighbouring mountains.  Just watch out for bogs that appear at the first sign of rain on the flat plateau areas on and near the ridge, you could loose your bike in them!

A good ride I have done several times starts at car park in the Mynydd Du Forest and goes up through the forest (mainly hardpack trails) to the track that runs to Waun Fach (boggy).  Then head towards Pen Y Manilwyn and Y Das (some good technical singletrack with killer views).  Head to the trig point (713m) and then right to Twyn Talcefn and along the ridge (sometimes good sometimes boggy).  When you get towards the forest again you can take any route down, some are mentally steep (like straight down the side of the enclosure) and some really technical (go over the gate half way down and into the forest).  You can then head back to the car park on the numerous fire tracks (I don't know about the legality of all of this by the way). 

If you fancy a shorter way up then go past the Grwyne Fawr Reservoir but the last part of the climb up is really steep and technical.  If you fancy some more try the Vale of Ewyas - looks good!

Try this route sent in by Ambrose>>>

NH 1997

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Classic singletrack....

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Open moorland, this area has it all

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Riding above Llanwrtyd Wells, the Brecon Beacons are in the background

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No matter which way you look at it, Wales has some big views.

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On top of the Black Mountains, it's pretty flat, but watch out for bogs!

Also see Afan Argoed and Cwmcarn, which are purpose built bike centres close by

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