Walking & Cycling

Lon Las Cymru National Cycle Route 8

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Lon Las Cymru

Lon Las Cymru National Cycle Route 8 
The 240 mile jewel in Wales’s cycle-touring crown, weaving a scenic route from Anglesey (in North Wales) to the Bristol Channel, passing through some magnificent Mid Wales landscapes along the way. Known as the Lon Las Cymru fully open and signed between Cardiff and Holyhead (Anglesey) via Brecon, Builth Wells, Machynlleth, Porthmadog and Bangor.


The route is described here from Cardiff to Holyhead but is signed in both directions. Opened in 1995, the route runs down the whole length of Wales and is one of the toughest of all the long distance routes on the National Cycle Network, tougher even than the famous Sea to Sea (C2C). As such it represents an excellent challenge for anyone looking for a spectacular 5-7 day ride.

The route is currently 257 miles long.

Route Sections

1. Cardiff to Llanidloes
The Lôn Las Cymru (South) cycle route starts or finishes in either Cardiff Bay (National Route 8) or Chepstow (National Route 42 - this option joins National Route 8 at Glasbury). Route 8 follows the mainly traffic-free Taff Trail (pdf) between Cardiff and Brecon and then rolling country lanes through Mid Wales, following the approximate course of the River Wye north from Glasbury. Glasbury to Holyhead also forms part of EuroVelo 2.

Map: Lôn Las Cymru South and Lôn Las Cymru guidebookCeltic Trail East also shows Cardiff or Chepstow to Glasbury.

2. Llanidloes to Holyhead
The Lôn Las Cymru (North) climbs steadly out of Llanidloes following the upper valley of the River Severn to the highest point on National Route 8 at 510m before dropping down to Machynlleth. There are two route options between Machynlleth and Porthmadog. A more coastal route includes the Mawddach Trail between Dolgellau and Barmouth and takes in Harlech, whilst the inland route passes through Dolgellau, Coed-y-Brenin Forest and Trawsfynydd. The routes rejoin at Penrhydeudraeth and continue to Caernarfon on the Lôn Eifion trail and then to Bangor on the Lôn Las Menai. After crossing the Menai Strait via the Menai Suspension Bridge onto Anglesey the route follows quiet roads across the island to Holyhead.

Waun Capel Park Wildlife Walk

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Waun Capel Park Wildlife Walk

A circular walk from car park at the end of the Gasworks Lane off Bridge Street. where there are picnic benches by the river. The walk makes a circuit of Waun Capel Park and the castle mound, a distance of just over one mile / 2 kilometres that takes about an hour to enjoy. Parts of the walk suitable for push chairs are marked on the map.


Geolocation
Route Name: Waun Capel Wildlife Walk
Length of Route: 1 mile / 2 kilometres
Walking Difficulty: Easy
Start Location: Gasworks Lane, off Bridge Street

Rhayader has a wonderful variety of wild plants and animals living among its buildings, parks and gardens. The fast flowing, boulder strewn River Wye passes right through the town forming a very important natural corridor along which wildlife travels, enriching the town for enjoyment of everyone. 

Offa's Dyke Path

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Offa's Dyke

Built in the 8th century by King Offa as a boundary between Wales and England the dyke is now a national walking trail within easy reach of Rhayader.


Following the border between England and Wales for 182 miles (293km), the Offa’s Dyke Path National Trail passes through some of the most spectacular scenery either country has to offer. The trail largely follows the ancient Offa’s Dyke, an 8m high earth embankment built in the 8th century by King Offa as a boundary between Wales and England, and guarantees the most commanding views of the surrounding countryside.

Elan & Claerwen Valleys

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Craig Goch Elan Valley Dams

To the west of Rhayader is the Elan Valley Estate, owned by Welsh Water and managed by the Elan Valley Trust, the series of reservoirs set in the outstanding scenery of the Elan and Claerwen Valleys have created a home for wildlife and a place to inspire us all.


Geolocation

Walking: With 72 sqaure miles of Elan Valley Estate, walking routes in this our part of the Cambrian Mountains is spectacular. See a selection of the Elan Valley walks here.

History: In the 19th century, at the time of the Industrial Revolution Joseph Chamberlain, then leader of Birmingham City Council, set about finding a clean water supply for the City.

The Elan and Claerwen Valleys had been identified by the engineer James Mansergh as having the best potential for water storage - with
• An average annual rainfall of 72 inches (1830mm). 
• Narrow downstream valleys which made building the dams easier. 
• Impermeable bedrock preventing the water seeping away. 
• Altitude - the area is mostly higher than Birmingham enabling the water to be transported by gravity alone, without the need to be pumped.

An Act of Parliament was passed for the compulsory purchase of the area and in 1893 the building work began. Over 100 occupants of the Elan Valley had to move, only landowners received compensation payments. Many buildings were demolished, among them 2 manor houses, 18 farms, a school and a church (which was replaced by the corporation as the Nantgwyllt Church).

A railway line was constructed to transport the workers and thousands of tonnes of building material each day and a village of wooden huts was purpose built to house many of the workers on the site of the present Elan Village.
The Elan Valley Dams were officially opened by King Edward VII and Queen Alexandra on 21st July 1904, and the later built Claerwen Dam was opened by Queen Elizabeth II in 1952.

Present Day: The dams and reservoirs of the Elan Estate are situated within an area of outstanding scenic beauty. They provide a lasting amenity in their own right for visitors to enjoy. The protection of the water catchment area to prevent pollution of the reservoirs has safeguarded the habitats of numerous species of flora and fauna and now the 70 square miles of moorland, bog, woodland, river and reservoir are of national importance for their diversity of lower plants (ferns, mosses, lichens and liverworts) and the Estate is the most important area for land birds in Wales.

Distance from town centre: 3

Cwmdeuddwr Wildlife Walk

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Cwmdauddwr Wildlife Walk

A circular walk from the old station yard car park to the Groe Park and back via St. Brides Church. A distance of 1 mile / 1.5 kilometres that takes about an hour to enjoy. Parts of the walk suitable for wheelchairs and push chairs are marked on the downloadable map. The more you stop, look and listen the more you will see!


Geolocation
Route Name: Cwmdeuddwr Wildlife Walk
Length of Route: 1 mile / 1.5 km
Walking Difficulty: Easy
Start Location: Old Station Yard Car Park

Rhayader has a wonderful variety of wild plants and animals living among its building, parks and gardens. The fast flowing, boulder strewn river Wye passes right through the town forming a very important natural corridor along which wildlife travels, enriching the town for the enjoyment of everyone. This walk is part of a series of three walks to help you explore the variety and beauty of the wildlife on our doorstep.

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