Tarquin's cycling pages

18 September 2013 - Craig yr Allt Loop

WhereCraig yr Allt Loop
(Brecon Beacons and South Wales)
Date18 September 2013
Duration1 hours
Distance3.6 miles (~6 km)
Trail conditionsFairly dry single trail and tarmac
Chris Poole 41 Baracuda Jacabat
Mark 'Tarquin' Wilton-Jones 33 GT LTS 2000 (TWJ)

Trip report

Description by Mark 'Tarquin' Wilton-Jones

This is a short route taking in the summit of Craig yr Allt, and was intended as an evening ride, ending at sunset. It begins at the end of the dismantled railway line on the southwest side of the A469, close to the A468 roundabout at the southewest end of Caerphilly. From the A468 roundabout, take the A469 towards Cardiff, then take the first right onto Blackbrook Road, and immedately right onto a tiny lane, which becomes a dirt track at the end of the railway. This is where the ride starts.

We returned down the lane to Blackbrook Road, turned right onto that. After climbing up to the top of the rise, passing a couple of driveway lanes forking off to the left, and a couple doubling back to the right, we forked right onto a lane that continued to climb, signposted to the Rockwood Riding Centre.

See pictureSee pictureWhen the road levelled out, we took a dirt track that forked off to the right, signposted as a footpath. The track swung hard right, and we continued ahead on a narrower track (OK, we got it wrong at first, and followed the first track to a gate, then had to backtrack). Soon afterwards, a narrow path is hidden in the trees on the right, which we took. It soon becomes the main ridge path, running directly up the ridge. The first part proved nearly impossible to ride, and it would perhaps have been better to take the next path doubling back to the right, zig-zagging up to reach the ridge path.

See pictureSee pictureContinuing up the ridge from the point where the (possibly) easier path joins, it became possible to ride, but hard work at first, being quite steep with a rutted surface. Chris still proved to be better at climbing than me, despite his claims that he was too out of practice.

See pictureSee pictureAfter reaching the summit, the downhill fun begins. We stuck to the main track, which eventually slips off the left side of the ridge (we took a wrong detour along the ridge for a bit), picking up another track to continue ahead along the ridge. The main track abruptly turns a hairpin bend to the left, as it reaches a drop ahead, requiring very effective braking. Instead of following it to the left, we took a smaller single trail to the right, into the deep bracken and brambles, heading towards a radio mast. At the trees, it turned sharp left, and zig-zagged down to reach a dismantled railway line. This single-trail part was rather painfully overgrown, and we both earned a good few attacks from the brambles.

See pictureAt the railway line, we turned right, dropping down a slope, and turning left just before a bridge, to join the Taff Trail on another dismantled railway. We followed this up to the right, continuing ahead when the Taff Trail branches off to the left. After passing through some old railway arches, we were back at the start of the ride.

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