Tarquin's cycling pages

Brecon Beacons and South Wales

Trips done in this area

TripDurationDistance (miles)
11 October 2013 - Taff's Well and Gawelod-y-garth Loop1:2010.5
02 October 2013 - Newport to Cardiff via Ystrad Mynach3:2531.1
25 September 2013 - Taff Trail Deviations2:4022
18 September 2013 - Craig yr Allt Loop13.6
22 June 2013 - Taff Trail from Cardiff to Abercynon325.5
08 September 2012 - Sirhowy Valley Trail6:1529.2
02 June 2011 - Abercynon to Aberfan3:1512
12 March 2011 - Millennium Coastal Path2:4013
15 October 2009 - Caerphilly and Machen Loop2:1511
25 October 2008 - Sugar Loaf2:309.5
13 July 2008 - Blaenavon Railway27
22 March 2008 - Llanelly Hill22.5
02 February 2008 - Taff Trail through Cardiff1:2014
10 November 2007 - The Wall2:2013
28 April 2007 - Senghenydd Loop2:1014
16 December 2006 - Taff Trail from Cardiff to Brecon and back13:45111
12 November 2006 - Honddu and Grwyne Fawr Loop521
05 November 2006 - Pontsticill Loop3:3011
29 July 2006 - Taff Trail to Merthyr5:3044
23 July 2006 - Senghenydd Loop4:3524
15 July 2006 - Garth Loop2:3012
01 July 2006 - East Fforest Fawr1:458.5
22 June 2006 - Cardiff to Nantgarw (again)1:309
10 June 2006 - Cardiff to Nantgarw19
04 June 2006 - Taff Trail in Merthyr2:157.5
20 November 2005 - Coed-y-Wenallt2:459.3
19 November 2005 - Tongwynlais forest28.5
13 November 2005 - Taff Trail to Pontypridd4:5018
05 September 2004 - Park Woods and Three Cliffs loop1:505
27 June 2004 - Grwyne Fawr and Grwyne Fechan - AKA The Killer Loop624
20 June 2004 - Talybont - Pen y Fan Loop2:4019
21 March 2004 - Taff Trail to Caerphilly211
14 March 2004 - Taff Trail from Cardiff to Treharris3:4030
08 February 2004 - Descent from Heaven - Crug Mawr from Crickhowell414
17 January 2004 - Talybont Reservoir forestry circuit3:3016
20 July 2003 - From Cardiff city centre to Craig yr Allt218

Sample pictures

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Area summary

This area is a cyclist's paradise. It is covered with many excellent routes dominated by offroad trails with occasional road sections. The National Park is well covered by The Brecon Beacons National Park & the Black Mountains (mountain bike guide), and contains 25 official bike routes of varying length and difficulty. As well as the official routes, many of the roads, tracks and bridleways can also be followed, and there are relatively few 'NO CYCLING' signs. The MTB-Wales site also has a few extra routes.

There are dedicated forestry cycling centres at Cwm Carn and Afan Argoed in the valleys, designed as training grounds and dedicated centres for narrow bike trails, not for general leisure cycling.

The Taff valley contains the Taff Trail network (a part of the Lôn Las Cymru cycle network), a series of dedicated bike routes and roads extending from Cardiff to the far side of the National Park, over 30 Miles (50 KM) away. This in turn links to Lôn Las Cymru and many other South Wales cycling networks. The network is covered by the guide map; "Lôn Las Cymru - De/South".

Most of the mountain ridges between the valleys also have tracks that can be followed. In the area around Cardiff, there are several forests like Fforest Fawr and Coed-y-Wenallt near Tongwynlais. These are a perfect cycling ground, with trails of various difficulties criss-crossing them.

Many parts of the Gower AONB are covered with high quality bridleways and footpaths, almost all suitable for cycling. In general, there are very few hills, and the riding is fairly gentle, but there is easily enough to provide several trips. If you are interested, get yourself a 1:25000 map, and make it up as you go along.

Roads in the national park are often single lane, but drivers tend to respect cyclists and occasionally shout words of encouragement on steep sections. In the valleys, these may well be insults.

There is a Brecon Bike Bus service, that can take you and your bikes from Cardiff to various places within the national park, as well as Brecon, allowing you to cycle the Taff Trail in only one direction, if you want to.

There are several parts of Cardiff and Southern towns that have cycle lanes. Other vehicles usually respect these (pedestrians do not!) but most vehicles have little respect for the cyclists themselves. If you can demonstrate that you are better than most town cyclists by correctly stopping at traffic lights and using hand signals, you will usually be treated better.

Parking in the National Park is fairly easy with pull-ins, verges, and car parks. Most official car parks are free, private ones may require a small goodwill fee. Parking areas will usually have enough space available. Unfortunately, car crime is relatively high, so do not leave anything visible in your car.

Bike hire is available in Brecon, Abergavenny, Merthyr Tydfil, Cardiff, Port Talbot, Garwnant Visitors Centre, etc, etc, etc. It usually costs about £15 per day, except in Port Talbot where it is a little more expensive.

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