Long distance cycle touring routes in the Brecon Beacons National Park – the Taff Trail and Lôn Las Cymru

Two long-distance National Cycle Routes cross the Brecon Beacons National Park, the Taff Trail and Lôn Las Cymru. Whether you're planning a ride lasting just a couple of days or setting out on a journey of 300 miles or more, our Park is a convenient and scenic place to start or finish. 

National Cycle Route 8, The Taff Trail

Distance: 88km / 55 miles

The Taff Trail leads from Cardiff to Merthyr Tydfil, Talybont Reservoir and Brecon.

It's a mainly traffic-free route that takes in the sights of Wales’ vibrant capital before heading to the cradle of the Industrial Revolution and ending in the beautiful Brecon Beacons National Park.

It starts in Cardiff Bay, home to some fantastic attractions such as the Doctor Who Experience. Just a short ride away, you’re transported from cosmopolitan Cardiff to rural heaven. Cycle eight relatively gentle miles along a disused railway line that follows the Taff corridor, to a region of crashing weirs rich with wildlife, impressive mountain backdrops and the picturesque Castell Coch perched on the mountainside. 

On the trail, there are plenty of pretty places to stop and picnic before arriving at the industrial heritage town of Pontypridd. Here you will find a museum, a historic old bridge and the tranquil Ynysangharad War Memorial Park. 

Back on the trail, head for Merthyr Tydfil, a town built on iron and coal, and home to the magnificent Cyfarthfa Castle. Visit the Castle’s museum and art gallery before climbing steadily up the Torpantau Pass where you’ll discover the old Merthyr Railway. Drop into the pretty vale of the Usk, close to the small village of Talybont-on-Usk. Then pick up the Brecon and Monmouthshire Canal at Brynich Lock and follow the old towpath into the centre of Brecon.

The surfaces are good throughout and there are plenty of places to stay along the way if you don't fancy doing the whole thing in one day. Using Beacons Bus you can catch the bus to Brecon with your bike following on the trailer and then cycle back to Cardiff.

From Brecon, it's possible to continue east on quiet roads, passing through Talgarth, Felindre and finally Glasbury, where you can join route 42 (Lôn Las Cymru) on the banks of the River Wye.

National Cycle Route 42, Lôn Las Cymru

Distance: 400km / 250 miles

Lôn Las Cymru takes cyclists north from Chepstow to the Brecon Beacons National Park, then northwest across Wales to Holyhead.

Starting at Chepstow, on the banks of the River Severn, Lôn Las Cymru enters our National Park near the bustling market town of Abergavenny, which makes an ideal stopover before the steady climb up into the magnificent Black Mountains.

Leaving the River Usk behind, the trail follows delightful quiet country lanes north into the beautiful Vale of Ewyas, where it passes close to the atmospheric ruins of Llanthony Priory, much loved by artists including Turner.

More quiet lanes lead north to the tiny hamlet of Capel-y-Ffin, where the way climbs out onto open hillsides for the final push up to the spectacular 542m Gospel Pass, with marvellous views over the lowlands of the Wye Valley. From here, the trail drops sweetly into the Valley. It links with National Cycle Route 8 at Glasbury, on the banks of the mighty River Wye itself.

There are route maps and further information on cycling routes in Wales on the Sustrans Cymru website, www.sustrans.org.uk.