Plan an epic Welsh ride
On the northwest border of the Brecon Beacons National Park lies the Welsh market town of Llandovery, a popular meeting place for riders and a great base from which to explore some truly amazing roads; from twisty mountain passes to unpaved forest fire trails, there’s something different in every direction. This brilliant ride will take in many of the delights that a purely tarmac-based route through mid-wales can offer. Fuel stops will be few and far between, so top up before heading off at the only petrol station in town, Morris Isaac’s by the level crossing. Depart via the A483 towards Builth Wells and the fun will soon begin…
The first section is essentially a hump, rising steadily through fast flowing, shallow bends towards the technical compound curves at its mid point and a lazy drift down to Llanwrtyd Wells. As with anywhere that is susceptible to harsh winters the quality of tarmac can vary and although some corners feature shell grip, it’s not guaranteed to be in the best of condition.
Take the first left in Llanwrtyd, signposted Abergwesyn. From here the road narrows considerably and loses all markings to become a blank grey strip in contrast to the increasingly remote yet breathtakingly beautiful scenery. It climbs from the hedgerows of farmland through a cover of trees to burst into a stunning U-shaped valley with the River Ifron sparkling below.
River and road slowly converge as the valley levels out, before the blacktop rises again; the views are incredible as the route runs ever higher, but be cautious of the tight alpine turns and lack of any barrier – run off is largely non-existent. At steepest the gradient is 25%, though with few places to stop it’s best to keep pushing to the top. Take it easy on the descent and keep an eye out for sheep, as they can be everywhere without warning. You certainly won’t fail to notice the lone red telephone box, one of the remotest in the UK, so be sure to stop for an obligatory selfie.
After taking the opportunity to gas up in Tregaron, head west on the A485. This is a corker of a road and after the nadgery-ness of the previous leg is a welcome chance to let loose a little. From here the curves just keep on coming and when you pick up the A482 beyond Lampeter things get even better. It’s two lane nearly all the way, twisting and turning with a natural flow that is guaranteed to make you grin. The going narrows towards the end but that only serves to help you roll off and chill out, ready for a brew and a bite at Llandovery’s famous West End Café.
‘River and road slowly converge as the valley levels out then rises again’ Roads
All the latest communications: red phonebox and matching post box