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Cycling in Mid Wales

Mid Wales is beautiful, varied, quiet, and off the beaten track - which makes it perfect for your next cycling holiday.

Fields in Mid Wales


Elan Valley Reservoirs

The six dams in the Elan Valley were built to provide water for Birmingham, the reservoirs providing a very pleasant background for a bike ride.

Elan Valley, Mid Wales
Elan Trail, Mid Wales Water  over dam, Elan Valley, Mid Wales
Pen y Garreg Reservoir Elan Valley, Mid Wales



Photos: Garreg-duu Reservoir; Elan Trail; water flowing over Pen-y-Garreg Dam; Pen-y-Garreg Reservoir

The road alongside the reservoirs is relatively quiet and perfectly okay to cycle on if you don't want to use the Elan Trail cyclepath which runs from the top dam all the way down the valley into Rhayader. Personally, we prefer the road - except the path (stone) between the top dam (Craig Goch) and the next dam (Pen y Garreg) which offers some really fine views. The path next to the bottom reservoir (Caban Coch), although tarmac, is rather narrow and busy. The path (tarmac) from the Visitor Centre to Rhayader is much nicer than the B4518. For more info visit Elan Valley Reservoir & Dams.

Cycling Route Idea: from Rhayader [small town; 'Rhaeadr Gwy' in Welsh] cycle up the mountain road (west towards Cwmystwyth), then down past the reservoirs. Lovely little ride (23.3 miles) so one to take slowly, stopping to admire the views. See our suggested route Elan Valley Ride (plus more photos).


National Cycle Museum

The National Cycle Museum in Llandrindod Wells contains over 260 bicycles. Located at The Automobile Palace in Temple Street. Phone: 01597 825531.

National Cycle Museum, Llandrindod Wells, Mid Wales

Also note the grade 2 listed Art Deco building housing the cycle museum. If you look at the inscription above the ground floor windows of The Automobile Palace (originally called 'The Palace Of Sport') you'll see that Tom Norton Ltd sold "Cycles, Motors and Aircraft" - so they had most options covered. The below photo shows the Tour of Britain passing the museum.

National Cycle Museum, Llandrindod Wells, Mid Wales

An aside: we regularly visited The Automobile Palace in the 1980s, when it was still a car showroom, to look at the old cycles that hung above the gleaming gas-guzzlers.

The Victorian spa town of Llandrindod Wells holds an annual Victorian Festival in August when the townsfolk dress up in period clothes and go about their daily business - although I doubt if this lot were really about to go cycling...

The Victorian Festival, Llandrindod Wells, Mid Wales

Bike ride idea: Sustrans' The Radnor Ring, an 84 mile circular route around the old county of Radnorshire (or just do the Route 825 part at 73 miles). The Radnor Ring map from Amazon. We will add one of our rides later.


Open All Hours

In the village of Penybont (NE of Llandrindod Wells) is the Thomas Shop - a village shop museum (admission free). What's more, it has a tearoom that every cyclist should visit (take your bike around the back to the garden by the river).

Thomas Shop at Penybont

Open 10-5 everyday April to end of October; Mon-Fri other dates; closed January. Phone: 01597 851951. They also do B&B.


Trees In Winter

Winter is a great time to go cycling around looking at the shape of trees - the skeletal structure really stands out.

Cycling in the Brecon Beacons National Park, Wales, UK
Trees in Mid Wales
Tree in Wye Valley, Powys, Mid Wales, UK Silhouette trees in Wye Valley, Powys, Mid Wales, UK

An aside: the yew tree in the churchyard at Defynnog (near Sennybridge) is more than 5,000 years old, which makes it one of the oldest in the UK.


A Few More Cycling Ideas


Cycling Maps

Mid-Wales North cycling mapMid-Wales North Cycle Map -  shows on-road and traffic-free cycle paths, height contours, 6 town centre maps, recommended linking routes connecting the NCN with quiet roads. Includes the Lôn Mawddach cycle path between Dolgellau and Barmouth, the Montgomery Canal Greenway, and the Llangollen Canal Greenway. Published by Sustrans. 1:110,000 scale. (Also available from Waterstones.)


cycling map of Mid WalesMid-Wales South Cycle Map - shows on-road and traffic-free cycle paths, contours, including Lôn Las Cymru (route 8), Lôn Teifi, Elan Valley Trail, Ystwyth Trail, 6 town centre maps, and 3 day rides. Published by Sustrans. 1:110,000 scale. (Also available from Waterstones.)


Radnor Ring Cycle Map - 84 mile circular route (or 73 miles) from Llandrindod Wells, taking in the Radnor Hills, Kington, Knighton, Abbeycwmhir and Rhayader. (Also available from Waterstones.)

Or buy the ordinary Ordnance Survey Landranger Map from Amazon.co.uk; scale 1:50 000 (1.25 in to 1 mile), costs £7 to £9:-
Number 147 Elan Valley & Builth Wells.
Number 148 Presteigne & Hay-on-Wye.
Number 136 Newtown & Llanidloes.

Brechfa Pool with the Black Mountains beyond

Photo: Brechfa Pool with the Black Mountains beyond (winter)




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Continue Cycling...

A sideways glance at cycling in Mid Wales.

Mid Wales landscape with bicycle

Lost Lanes Wales: 36 glorious bike rides in Wales and the Welsh Borders.
From Amazon
From Waterstones

Wales Trails: a journey around Wales by bike.
From Amazon UK

Mid-Wales North Cycle Map
From Amazon UK
From Waterstones

Mid-Wales South Cycle Map
From Amazon UK
from Waterstones

Radnor Ring Mid Wales Cycle Route Map
From Amazon UK
From Waterstones

Cyclists on Llanstephan bridge, Mid Wales


Radnor Hill, Mid Wales


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Radnorshire landscape