Katherine Moore

My favourite Welsh off-road rides — Gravel heaven in Wales

For The Hell Of It.cc

My favourite Welsh off-road rides — Gravel heaven in Wales

Bike Touring Collection by Katherine Moore

7

Tours

41:09 h

299 mi

26,225 ft

Wales never fails, or so the hashtag goes. One thing’s for certain; always take your raincoat. This is a Collection of some of the most incredible rocky doubletrack trails, jaw-droppingly beautiful coastal views, mucky, twisty singletrack and woodland tracks that you can find in the Celtic country, all that I’ve been fortunate to enjoy myself.

It’s easy to see why Wales is a gravel rider’s paradise. Many national parks, areas of outstanding beauty and protected sites are a good sign of incredible landscapes home to diverse wildlife. When people typically think of wild places in the UK, they look north and to Scotland. No need; there’s plenty of wild, remote and untended beauty in the West too.

You’ll find a varied selection of routes in this Collection, all intended to be accessible with a gravel bike, although I’d personally recommend a minimum of 40 mm wide tyres. Don’t let this stop you though if you’d rather ride something with a bit more bounce or fatter tyres; you’d certainly be glad of it in some sections!

Choose between routes that stretch from 16.5 miles (26.5 km) to 60.4 miles (97.2 km), and are spread across Wales, from the rugged and isolated Cambrian Mountains to the gorgeous coastal Gower Peninsula, the Brecon Beacons National Park and the lesser-explored Clwydian mountain range. Be sure to check out the route in the stunning Elan Valley too for some of the most spectacular gravel riding of the lot! All of the routes are very hilly, so you’ll need a good level of fitness to tackle these climbs.

Most of these Tours are accessible by train, although do check in advance whether you’ll need a bike reservation when you buy your ticket. Your best bet for trying these routes are in the drier months, as river crossings can become dangerous and impassable in wetter weather, not to mention boggy trails being tougher to ride!

Many of these Tours contain parts of longer distance trails, find out more on these here;

Trans Cambrian Way: komoot.com/collection/899090/welsh-border-to-irish-sea-bikepacking-trans-cambrian-way
GBDURO's Welsh leg: komoot.com/collection/919709/great-britain-off-road-part-2-wales-gb-divide
The Triban Trail: komoot.com/collection/917385/north-east-wales-secret-mtb-paradise-thetriban-trail.

On The Map

Tours & Highlights

  • Difficult
    07:07
    49.9 mi
    7.0 mph
    4,900 ft
    4,900 ft
    Expert gravel ride. Very good fitness required. Mostly paved surfaces. Suitable for all skill levels.

    Referred to as the ‘desert of Wales’ due to the remote nature of the area, the Cambrian Mountains are a lesser-visited part of Mid Wales that certainly don’t get the recognition that they deserve. For the gravel rider, they are a true playground; endless gravel roads, forest tracks, moorland trails and even some fun singletrack thrown in too. When you do have to venture on to the roads, they’re usually silky smooth and almost empty. From the south of this mountain range in Llandovery, this circular route from the train station can be ridden in a single day or enjoyed over a couple of days at a more relaxed pace. You’ll need to pack your sandwiches and snacks though, as apart from the start and finish town of Llandovery, there’s no option on the route for resupply apart from a couple of pubs on your way out through the villages!

  • Difficult
    08:24
    60.4 mi
    7.2 mph
    5,900 ft
    5,900 ft
    Expert bike ride. Very good fitness required. Some portions of the Tour may require you to push your bike.

    If you’re looking for a truly sensational route, not far from civilisation, this one through the valleys of South Wales, linking the capital city and Cwmcarn trail centre, is a …

  • Sign Up To Discover Places Like This

    Get recommendations on the best single tracks, peaks, & plenty of other exciting outdoor places.

  • Difficult
    02:49
    16.5 mi
    5.9 mph
    2,375 ft
    2,375 ft
    Expert gravel ride. Very good fitness required. Some portions of the Tour may require you to push your bike.

    Smaller and perhaps less rugged than the peaks of Snowdonia National Park, the Clwydian Range Area of Outstanding Natural beauty often gets overlooked by visitors heading west into North Wales …

  • Difficult
    05:47
    44.1 mi
    7.6 mph
    3,250 ft
    3,250 ft
    Expert gravel ride. Very good fitness required. Some portions of the Tour may require you to push your bike.

    A single image stays with me strongly after this ride a few years ago; the towering cliffs of Trefil Quarry. There are few entries to the Brecon Beacons that rival …

  • Difficult
    04:14
    31.3 mi
    7.4 mph
    2,525 ft
    2,475 ft
    Expert gravel ride. Very good fitness required. Mostly paved surfaces. Suitable for all skill levels.

    When I rode part of this route as part of a GBDURO recce across Wales bikepacking trip in August 2018, I declared it as one of my top ten days on the bike, ever, and little has changed since. The trail alongside Nant Y Moch Reservoir has to be ridden to be believed, and really is like ‘little Scotland’.Here I propose a route linking two major towns in this part of west central Wales, Aberystwyth on the coastline to Machynlleth further north. Both are found on train lines, although different ones, and the route starts and finishes at the stations. Start by heading inland from the coastal town to the east along the cyclepath to the south of the River Reidol. Passing through some housing estates on your way out of town, you’re soon into the brilliant Welsh countryside made famous by the TV crime drama series Hinterland.

  • Difficult
    05:52
    47.4 mi
    8.1 mph
    3,050 ft
    3,050 ft
    Expert gravel ride. Very good fitness required. Some portions of the Tour may require you to push your bike.

    If big cliff top views and moorland singletrack trails are your bag, add the Gower to your ride list. A peninsula on the South Wales coastline near Swansea, expect to …

  • Difficult
    06:57
    49.0 mi
    7.0 mph
    4,250 ft
    4,250 ft
    Expert gravel ride. Very good fitness required. Some portions of the Tour may be unpaved and difficult to ride.

    Nestled in the central area of the Cambrian Mountains, the Elan Valley is an area made up of a series of man-made reservoirs, made by damming the rivers Claerwen and …

Like this Collection?

Comments

    loading

Collection Stats

  • Tours
    7
  • Distance
    299 mi
  • Duration
    41:09 h
  • Elevation
    26,225 ft

You Might Also Like

12 Hours of May by Albion & Outdoor Provisions – your best rides
Bike Touring Collection by
Outdoor Provisions
Exploring Friesland by Bike – the Eleven Cities Tour
Bike Touring Collection by
Sabina Knezevic - Farawayistan
Katherine Moore

My favourite Welsh off-road rides — Gravel heaven in Wales