Tarquin's cycling pages

10 October 2009 - Pen y Garn and Rhuddnant

WherePen y Garn and Rhuddnant
(Mid Wales)
Date10 October 2009
Duration2 hours 15 minutes
Distance7 miles (~11 km)
WeatherLow cloud
Trail conditionsWet dirt track and bog
Mark 'Tarquin' Wilton-Jones 29 GT LTS 2000 (TWJ)

Trip report

Description by Mark 'Tarquin' Wilton-Jones

This ride generally followed the Pen y Garn route described in volume 1 of John and Anne Nuttall's guide to The Mountains of England and Wales. There is a significant extension near the summit, to see the Rhuddnant Gorge, but this is optional. Be warned that the forestry tracks may be closed at any point without advanced warning, to allow for logging (which takes place on week days). You may choose to ignore these closures at your own risk. Around 30 minutes of the ride time were actually walking down the Rhuddnant gorge and to the top of Pen y Garn. The distances done without the bike are not included.

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See pictureSee pictureStart at the car park beside The Arch, by the B4574 near Devil's Bridge. Take the track at the back of the car park. This is the main track, and after going directly across the first cross roads, it is very easy to follow.

See pictureSee pictureFollow the track up to a crest, where other tracks join from either side, and the track descends for a short distance. Depending on the tree felling status, there may be good views over the Ystwyth valley on the right, and the Mynach, Rheidol, and Rhuddnant valleys on the left.

See pictureSee pictureStay with the track, and climb again to the next crest, where the first wind turbines come into view (a good view can be had at the top of a cliff through the trees to the left). Ignore a track climbing up to the right and continue to a junction with a gated track on the right, and a short track to the base of a turbine on the left. To just ascend Pen y Garn, head up the gated track to the right, and skip the next paragraph.

See pictureSee pictureTo see the Rhuddnant waterfalls, take the next turbine access track on the left (just before the main track crosses a cattle grid), and follow it down to the last turbine. You may want to leave your bike here. Walk (it's almost impossible to ride) down the slope beside the edge of the forest to the river. Cross the river using stepping stones, and head downstream along the edge (be really careful) to see the two 15 metre waterfalls. Return to your bike, and head back up to the first gated track. (There is a footpath that heads back up to the tracks, which I followed, but it was horribly boggy.)

Head through the gate. You're now on the new main track. Stay with it, climbing up gently until, just after a gate, a stile on the right gives a quick walking path up to the summit. Return to the track (there is also a track at the top that can be used to get down to the main track again, but I don't see much point dragging the bike up here to use it). Continue along it.

See pictureSee pictureThe track begins downhill, and starts swinging around some hairpins, with some very poorly placed farm gates that badly break up the downhill. Eventually, the track levels out and heads all the way up to the very edge of a forest, where it turns right. Take a branch to the left, and follow it all the way to a road.

See pictureSee pictureTurn right onto the road, and immediately right again back off it, onto a forestry track. Cross another track, and continue on a very poor quality track to reach another proper one. Turn left, then double back on the right onto a side track leading to a farm. Follow it past the farm, and continue for some distance to a major cross roads (the same crossroads from the start of the ride). Turn left to arrive back at the car park.

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