Our Must Do Rides series features some of the best routes around the world.
Must Do Rides: Brecon Beacons
Tucked in the Usk Valley, close to the Welsh-English border, Abergavenny is the ideal base for exploring the Brecon Beacons. Easily accessible within an hour from Cardiff, Newport and Bristol, it is the perfect place to detach from the daily grind and begin your own great escape.
At approximately 40 kilometers with 615 meters of elevation, this route takes you up into the rolling Welsh hills, bombing down dirt tracks and exploring untouched woodland. Perfect for city-dwellers looking to leave the concrete behind them, this ride showcases some of the most breathtaking views South Wales has to offer.
The ride starts in Abergavenny, a sleepy rural gem in the heart of the Usk Valley, where you will cruise along the smooth country roads before strapping in for the ascent up to the hamlet of Llangenney. Don’t let the tarmac fool you - a playground of dirt and gravel is waiting for you in the Brecon Beacons, so a bike with a wider tyre is definitely recommended for this ride.
Upon arrival in Abergavenny, we took a left from the train station and descended to the ruins of Abergavenny Castle, an 11th century castle lying south of the town centre, where we met the rest of our group. From there, we ventured through the town and began tackling the steady climb up to Llangattock.
As you climb the winding road, the tarmac melts away into gravel tracks. We arrived to rolling hills of green with smatterings of gravel patches and protruding limstone cliffs. We slalomed through boulders to the edge of a cliff top to soak up the last of the summer sun and gaze over the Usk Valley.
From here, we headed down to Crickhowell, a picturesque market town in the shadow of the Table Mountain for lunch. Our lunchtime pit stop of choice was a quaint Welsh pub called the Bear Hotel but there are plenty of cafes around where you can refuel.
Back on country roads again, we continued towards Llangenny in search of dirt. We ducked off the road into Bluebell Woods, a haven for walkers and cyclists alike. We took a moment to marvel at the centuries-old woodland before tearing through the trees, bunny hopping over the rocks in our path.
With daylight fading fast, we cycled back alongside the River Usk to Abergavenny from where there are regular trains to Newport delivering you back to civilisation. Brecon Beacons and the Usk Valley has so much to offer cyclists of all abilities and although it’s just a short journey, it feels as though you’ve been transported a million miles away. Perfect for a day’s ride or the ideal starting point of a bigger adventure.