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.

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

Wildlife Centre of Wales

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Wales Wildlife Holidays

Rhayader and surrounding areas are important habitats and home to a variety of wildlife, flora and fauna.

With so many differnet places to experience nature as it should be, we've complied a pack of local wildlife sites for you here.

 


Download the map of the sites to help you plan your wildlife adventures.

Ysfa to Llanwrthwl Walk

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Ysfa Church

This 3 mile walk beginning from St Mark's Church (Grid Ref: SN 991 644), follows forest and farm tracks and crosses the River Wye to reach Llanwrthwl.


Geolocation
Route Name: Gwastedyn Church Trail - Section 5
Length of Route: 3
Start Location: St. Mark's Church

St Mark’s Church, Ysfa

A Victorian Church built of stone with brick interior between 1870 and 1871.  Its main claim to fame is that the first stone was laid by Revd Kilvert, the diarist, in 1871 and his diaries describe the opening which was somewhat lively due to children playing in the lime and the wind blowing it on to the gathering, smarting their eyes.  There was also something of a commotion in the tent resulting in it being torn.  There is a beautiful Victorian model of the Church inside.  The church is said to have been built by the local gentry for worship by their servants.

Eglwys Sant Mark, Ysfa

Eglwys Fictoraidd a adeiladwyd rhwng 1870 a 1871.  Mae’r eglwys wedi’i hadeiladu o gerrig gyda briciau ar y tu mewn.  Mae’r eglwys yn enwog oherwydd gosodwyd y garreg gyntaf gan y Parch Kilvert, y dyddiadurwr, ym 1871.  Mae ei ddyddiaduron yn disgrifio’r agoriad a oedd braidd yn fywiog oherwydd i’r plant chwarae yn y calch a chwythodd y gwynt y calch ar y dyrfa gan losgi eu llygaid.  Cafwyd hefyd rhywfaint o gynnwrf yn y babell a chafwyd ei rhwygo yn ystod y digwyddiad.  Mae model Fictoraidd hardd o’r Eglwys y tu mewn.  Dywedir bod yr eglwys wedi cael ei hadeiladu gan y bonedd lleol fel lle addoli ar gyfer eu gweision a’u morwynion.

Distance from town centre: 5

Riverside Wildlife Walk

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Rhayader Riverside Wildlife Walk

A circular walk from the Rugby Club car park at the end of Water Lane off Bridge Street. The walk follows the river bank with picnic benches along the way and returns via the town centre clock, a distance of 1 mile / 1.5 kilometres that takes about an hour to enjoy.


Geolocation
Route Name: Riverside Wildlife Walk
Length of Route: 1
Walking Difficulty: Easy
Start Location: Rhayader Rugby Club

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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