Wales has given the world some amazing things: male voice choirs, Ivor the Engine, world-class rugby and Richard Burton.
Cycling might not be an activity which immediately springs to mind when you think ‘Land of the Fathers’, but given the beauty of the landscape around the country, it would seem wrong not to savour it on two wheels. Here are some of the finest cycling routes in Wales for both the casual and serious cyclist.
Cardiff to Castell Coch
This 14-mile return route offers a riverside ride along the Taff before unveiling the majestic Castell Coch, a gothic rural retreat built in the 19th century.
Elan Valley Trail, mid-Wales
Welsh nature is at its finest here with four reservoirs pooled in the hills, a smooth trail looping along the banks and the possibility of seeing buzzards overhead. It’s an ideal mud-free introduction to off-road cycling.
Mawddach Trail, Snowdonia
The Mawddach Trail is a spectacular route from historic Dolgellau to the beach at Barmouth. On either side are the foothills of Cader Idris and the gorgeous Mawddach estuary while there’s excellent birdwatching potential in RSPB reserves.
Millennium Park, Llanelli
This superb route to Pembrey hugs the coast, providing views of sea and hills. There’s also plenty wildlife along the way including flamingos, no less, in the National Wetland Centre of Wales.
Peregrine Path, Monmouth
Zig-zagging its way across the Welsh-English border along the River Wye, this path takes you from Hay on Wye past the castles at Skenfrith and Monmouth (the birthplace of Henry V).
Lon Eifion Cycleway, Caernarfon
Saddle up for a picture book ride past Caernarfon castle and steam trains on the Welsh Highland railway, with views of Snowdonia’s peaks and Caernarfon Bay.
Port Talbot to Afan Forest Park
This route winds through the wildlife-rich Afan Forest, taking in artwork such as the Afan Valley Portrait Bench. At the Afan Forest Park Visitor Centre you can experience the South Wales Miners’ Museum and if your energy levels are still up, you can even go on a mountain biking trail.
On the west part of the trail, you can try a coastal tour through the seascapes and sunsets of the Pembrokeshire Coast National Park, while easterly, you’ll ride through the industrial south and mining valleys via gorgeous hills while mountain bikers can take a high-trail route at Neath.
This is a journey for the more hardy cyclist, through Victorian Aberystwyth, along the River Ystwyth and mountain roads. Beyond are valley tracks, towpaths, and a Roman mountain road.
Lon Las Cymru South
This is the southern half of a spectacular ride through the heart of Wales along a canal towpath all the way from Cardiff to Brecon followed by a backroad ride into mid Wales.
Do you have a favourite cycle route?