This week – all week – is Bike Week, which means there’s no better time to explore some stunning cycling in the Brecon Beacons National Park! Our friend Robin, from Drover Holidays has put together a very special cycle ride…
The park is home to the highest paved road in Wales – the 551m-high Gospel Pass.
The pass cuts a gash through the Black Mountains’ imposing, north-facing scarp high above Hay-on-Wye before plunging to Llanthony and its 12th Century priory.
To celebrate Bike Week, Hay-based Drover Cycles have come up with a classic road cycling route taking in Gospel Pass – and they’re offering a huge 20% discount on NeilPryde high-performance road bikes for this month only.
This route starts and ends at the bike shop – enquire about taking one of their NeilPryde demo bikes for a spin.
In the meantime – enjoy Bike Week in the Beacons!
DISTANCE – 45 miles
START POINT – Drover Cycles bike shop
GRID REFERENCE – SO 229 419
MAPS – OS Explorer OL13.
This is a circular route with long, stiff climbs and stunning views from the highest road in Wales – Gospel Pass.
The start point is world famous Hay-on-Wye – on the edge of the Brecon Beacons National Park – and the route takes in quiet country lanes climbing below Hay Bluff and then plummeting down the Vale of Ewyas to Crickhowell.
A long climb up the A479 brings you to Talgarth and the chance to stop for refreshments at the town’s wonderful restored flour mill before you return to Hay.
There is limited free parking at the Drover Cycles, otherwise Hay’s main, pay-and-display car park is located on Oxford Road.
1. Turn left out of the shop gates and head up Forest Road, climbing steadily for 2 miles.
2. Where the road splits, take the right-hand fork (even steeper!), climbing again over a cattle grid and past Tack Wood on your right. The gradient eases after about a mile as you ride through common land on the lower slopes of Hay Bluff. Keep going, ignoring any turn-offs and passing the car park for Hay Bluff on your right, to arrive at the high point of the ride – Gospel Pass – after 3 miles.
3. Breathe easy! It’s 6 miles downhill all the way to Llanthony Priory. Stop to refuel at the Priory cafe before heading on another 5 miles to Stanton.
4. At Stanton, turn right towards Forest Coal Pit. Before you reach there, after 1.8miles, you’ll hit the ‘Five Ways’ junction. Take the Crickhowell turning and follow narrow lanes for just over 5 miles all the way into town.
5. Turn right on to the A40. Head straight through town towards Brecon for 1.8 miles to the junction with the A479 for Talgarth. Turn right here.
6. Climb again through Cwmdu with views over to the Black Mountains on your left and right. The gradient steadily increases then levels out at Pengenffordd after about 7 miles. Descend another 3 miles to Talgarth.
7. Stay on the A479 (or divert into the town centre to visit the mill) then turn right onto the A4078 towards Hay. A mile after the junction, turn right again onto a quiet lane.
8. Follow this for 5.7 miles – through Velindre and Llanigon – all the way back to Hay where you turn right onto the B4350 Brecon Road and then right again after half a mile on to Forest Road.
Drover Cycles have a huge fleet of hire bikes covering road, leisure and mountain biking, and their sister company Drover Holidays has a range of cycling breaks from 2-day getaways to 10-day tours.
Visit Drover Cycles’ website at www.drovercycles.co.uk for info on bike hire, including some special family rates, or check out their NeilPryde offer at: http://www.drovercycles.co.uk/20-off-neil-pryde-road-bikes-this-month-plus-win-a-2899-zephyr/