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Lôn Las Cymru from Holyhead to Cardiff or Chepstow

Lôn Las Cymru from Holyhead to Cardiff or Chepstow

Opened in 1995, Lôn Las Cymru runs for over 250 miles down the whole length of Wales from Holyhead to Chepstow or Cardiff. It 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.

Taking in three mountain ranges it requires a good pair of lungs and a strong pair of legs. The rewards are more than worth it: the scenery is some of the most stunning in the British Isles, including the quiet rural lanes of Anglesey, the majestic woodlands of Coed-y-Brenin Forest, the atmospheric Mawddach Estuary, the lovely valley of the River Wye, followed between Llangurig and Glasbury and the panoramic views enjoyed from Gospel Pass on the route through the Black Mountains.

The route has a choice of two finishing points which offer very different final sections for the ride: the Cardiff option will take you on the largely traffic-free Taff Trail from Brecon via the rich industrial heritage of the South Wales valleys to the new developments around Cardiff Bay; the Chepstow finish remains rural in character all the way to the end with the route meandering its way along the lanes, hills and woodlands of Monmouthshire. Take your pick!

Daily stages

The route can be broken down into stages, most of which are about 25-40 miles long. You may wish to match these stages with each day's ride but this is only a suggestion: you may choose to do more than one stage per day or you may prefer to do a half day and take a break to visit some of the attractions along the way. The stages start and finish in towns where there will be a reasonable choice of accommodation and refreshments.

If you are doing the whole north to south route on laden touring bikes it is suggested that you avoid Stage 4A as this contains rough stony sections through Coed-y-Brenin Forest that are only suitable for mountain bikes and it would be preferable to ride this stretch with as little luggage as possible. However, with the use of an Ordnance Survey map (Landranger 124) it is easy to work out a lane alternative avoiding the rough tracks.

Stage 1: Holyhead to Caernarfon (41 miles).

Stage 2: Caernarfon to Porthmadog (29 miles).

Stage 3: Porthmadog to Dolgellau via Barmouth (35 miles).

Stage 3A: Porthmadog to Dolgellau via Trawsfynydd (29 miles).

Stage 4 : Dolgellau to Machynlleth via Corris (15 miles).

Stage 4A: Dolgellau to Machynlleth via Mawddach Trail and Tywyn (36 miles).

Stage 5: Machynlleth to Llanidloes via Dylife (24 miles).

Stage 6: Llanidloes to Builth Wells via Rhayader (32 miles).

To finish at Chepstow:

Stage 7: Builth Wells to Abergavenny via Glasbury and Gospel Pass (40 miles)

Stage 8: Abergavenny to Chepstow (27 miles)

To finish at Cardiff:

Stage 7: Builth Wells to Brecon via Talgarth (32 miles)

Stage 8: Brecon to Cardiff via the Taff Trail (55 miles)

Natural attractions:

  • Holyhead Mountain
  • Views of Snowdonia
  • Cadair Idris
  • Mawddach Estuary
  • Llyn Clywedog
  • Elan Valley
  • Black Mountains and Gospel Pass

Visitor attractions:

  • Plas Newydd, Anglesey
  • Bangor Cathedral
  • Caernarfon Castle
  • Inigo Jones Slateworks, Groeslon
  • Criccieth Castle
  • Portmeirion
  • Trawsfynydd Power Station
  • Harlech Castle
  • Barmouth
  • Dolgellau
  • Centre for Alternative Technology, Machynlleth
  • Celtica, Machynlleth
  • Llanidloes
  • Rhayader
  • Builth Wells
  • Llanthony Abbey
  • Chepstow Castle
  • Castell Coch
  • Cardiff Castle

Route submitted by: Sustrans

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Key route details

Region/Area:

The full length of Wales, north to south

Distance:

250 miles

Time needed:

5-7 days

Classification:

Challenge

Surface:

Mixed

NCN Route:

8

Start:

Holyhead on Anglesey

Finish:

The Waterfront, Cardiff or Chepstow Castle

Access:

Train stations at Holyhead and Cardiff and several places in between

Maps and guides:

nn4bLôn Las Cymru North Map NN8B £6.99
nn4bLôn Las Cymru South Map NN8A £6.99
ctguideLôn Las Cymru Guidebook – £6.99

Links with:

Lôn Cambria in Rhayader

Celtic Trail near Pontypridd

National Route 5 in Bangor


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Sustrans