Cycling Wales
Mid Wales Routes
Image of River Wye in Mid Wales

Cycle Routes in Mid Wales

Elan Valley Ride | Heartsease Hop Ride

Our Elan Valley Ride

23.3 miles. The only food stop is the cafe at the visitor centre in Elan Village after the bottom dam (toilets at 1st dam & visitor centre; bike shop in Rhayader).

Pool at start of big climb

Photo: lake at bottom of the big climb - you can just see the lane nearly reaching top of climb (extreme right)

From Rhayader (Rhaeadr Gwy in Welsh) cycle up the mountain road (west towards Cwmystwyth). It starts off nice and gentle, then after 1.5 miles you start one hell of a long climb for about 2 miles. The nice thing about this climb is the views you get. Take it steady (stop and look at the views back) and it is quite pleasurable! At the end of the last crash barrier on your left, stop and rest by the top waterfall (great place to cool off). The rest of the climb from here is much gentler - you've climbed out of the valley and are now on open moorland (tarmac road).

At the top you can see what we mean when we tell people that "Wales is flat - it just has lots of valleys". It's basically a plateau with deep river valleys cut into it. At least that's what we tell ourselves. England on the other hand is low land with lots of hills dumped on it! Depends whether you prefer cycling in hills or valleys!

The ride gets easier from here on. On the descent make sure you turn left down to the first reservoir (signed "Cwm Elan/Elan Valley").

Mountain road above the Elan Valley, Mid Wales

Photo: upper reaches of the River Elan and the Mountain Road

At the first dam (Craig Coch) turn left and cross the dam (toilets at far end). Here you can either recross the dam and continue on down the road, or follow the Elan Trail cyclepath down the east side of Pen y Garreg reservoir, on a stone track passing the next dam.

Bench on the Elan Valley Trail

Photo: carved bench on the Elan Trail cyclepath

When the cyclepath rejoins the road, we recommend staying on the road rather than rejoining the cyclepath. [If you've got the energy, a detour across the next bridge and up to the Clearwen dam is worth it.]

Bridge in the Elan Valley, Mid Wales

Photo: bridge between Carreg-ddu and Caban Coch reserviors

After the bottom dam (Caban Coch), turn right down to the Elan Valley Visitor Centre (cafe, toilets, info etc, open every day).  From Elan Village either follow the flat(ish) cyclepath (tarmac) back to Rhayader or stay with the route over to Llanwrthwl and join the Sustrans route 8 back to the B4518 and the cyclepath to Rhayader.

Here's the map of the route (carry a paper map too)...

Our 'Heartsease Hop' Ride

This ride is only 24.2 miles but is wonderfully hilly with plenty of variety and stunning views.

Start the ride from a lay-by on the A483 north of Crossgates, Llandrindod Wells. Leaving the River Ithon valley, the route goes gently up a side valley towards Abbeycwmhir before turning right along an almost forgotten lane through a bumpy but beautiful valley. At 8 miles, we cross the River Ithon (and A483) again and climb up onto the hills to the east.

Having made the climb out of the valley, you are rewarded with lots of open moorland and long views. After passing a wind turbine just after passing through the hamlet of Heartsease the route enjoys a long descent before turning right just before the A44 at Penybont (pub + cafe? off route in village). This leads back to your car via a short section of the A483

Start/finnish: from the lay-by opposite the Abbeycwmhir turn off the A483, 1 mile north of Crossgates (near Llandrindod Wells). Map ref: SO 669 089; post code: LD1 6RT. Note: missing some turns on the Cuesheet, so best to use a map. No watering holes en-route, so carry food/drink - the only places off-route are in Penybont and Crossgates.

Sustrans Cycling Map

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

We take no responsibility and give no guarantees or warranties, implied or otherwise, for the accuracy or safety of the above routes. You use these cycle routes entirely at your own risk. Please cycle responsibly and safely.

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