Go For a Ride
Ain’t no mountain high, ain’t no valley low enough, if you’ve got two wheels and some pedal power. Mair Llewellyn tracks down the best cycling paths in Wales, be they quiet riverside rides or cross-country ordeals.
LÔN LAS CYMRU
Looking for a challenge this summer? The Lôn Las Cymru cycle route allows you to explore over 370 miles of spectacular Welsh scenery, taking you from the very north of Wales right down to our country’s capital. Beginning in the seaside town of Holyhead, you can travel right through the heart of Wales, cycling for over 250 miles down quiet, family-friendly paths. If a view is what you’re after, then this is certainly the route for you. With two national parks, three mountain ranges and a view of the Black Mountains, it’s safe to say you will be spoilt for choice. Once complete, you can either settle down in a Chepstow café, or persist until Cardiff and take a well-earned break.
CARDIFF BAY TRAIL
Cardiff Bay is rich in heritage both modern and industrial and is home to the likes of the Wales Millennium Centre and the Norwegian Church. This is a simpler daytime treat, filled with restaurants and adventures for the children, making it a truly beautiful place to cycle. For 6.2 miles, you and your family can cycle happily across the Bay, all the way over to the seaside town of Penarth. A nice and easy ride, albeit also quite popular.
If your children are pleading to be taken to yet another beach this summer, then why don’t you try switching it up? This route allows you to enjoy the beautiful seaside views whilst travelling along the old railway line for four miles. This path is perfect for children as it is mostly flat and remains mainly traffic-free throughout the journey. Afterwards, you can get lost in the beautiful village, dinning in various restaurants dotted around the coast, before lounging on the beach in the evening sun.
THREE PARKS TRAIL
Get your picnics ready, because this sweet cycle route will guide you through not one, but three of Wales most beautiful parks. The trail begins in the beautiful, picturesque Sirhowy Valley Country Park, where you can get lost in the woodlands and bask in the morning sunshine, before safely travelling along route 47 towards Parc Penallta. Keep your eyes peeled, because an eight-metre sculpture, The Wheel Of Drams, is lurking near the trail. Settle down and relax; enjoy a sandwich or two underneath the sunlight, before cycling to Parc Taf Bargoed. This hidden gem is the perfect place for adventure, with fishing, canoeing, and a football field available for some more family fun.
MAWDDACH TRAIL, DOLGELLAU
Dolgellau is a historical market town within Snowdonia’s National Park. Surrounded by breathtaking scenery, you will travel nine and a half miles along a disused railway track, which hugs the Mawddach river all the way to the stunning seaside town of Barmouth. The path remains mostly flat throughout, which means it is perfect for children, families, couples – anyone eager to explore the hidden treasures of Barmouth beach. The town offers an array of activities, including paddle boarding and kayaking, but don’t worry, if you want a relaxed day, you can just paddle in the sea or build sandcastles all afternoon, before sneaking off for some ice-cream and a coffee.
THE TAFF TRAIL
A 55-mile-delight at its full length. On this trail, you’ll be guided through some of Wales’ most beautiful scenery and will be able to explore the hidden gems of our country. Follow the Taff river up towards Castell Coch, before being guided towards two towns rich in Welsh industrial heritage, Pontypridd and Merthyr Tydfil. Be sure to have a quick peak in Merthyr’s Cyfarthfa Castle whilst you’re there! Afterwards, the trail takes a turn up the mountains, where you will see an array of beautiful waterfalls and reservoirs, before finally arriving at Brecon, the home of the spectacular Brecon Beacons National Park. That said, you don’t have to do the full route – the Cardiff section alone is popular for commuters and leisure riders alike.