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MX News Update 2024

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Two Welsh routes are among the ‘best cycle routes in Britain and Ireland’

Taff path. Image: Sustrans

Some of the most passionate cyclists from Britain and Ireland have selected their favorite cycle routes – with two locations in Wales in the coveted top ten.

The rankings range from gentle trails ideal for beginners to demanding routes for experienced cyclists, and include the idyllic wildflower meadows of the Cotswolds, the dramatic chalk cliffs of the Kent coast and Northern Ireland’s iconic Giant’s Causeway.

There are now thousands of miles of dedicated cycle paths spanning the length and breadth of Wales, including car-free paths, quiet country lanes and former railway lines – the perfect excuse to make the most of the spring weather.

Unique

Enjoy Travel’s travel experts have rounded up twenty of the best cycling routes in Britain and Ireland based on feedback from social media users and editorial opinions.

Each of these routes offers something unique, whether it’s breathtaking vistas that stretch for miles or challenging climbs guaranteed to push your limits.

The full top twenty includes routes suitable for beginners, families and advanced cyclists, so no one feels left out.

Welsh locations

Two locations in Wales made the top ten – with the experts impressed by the wealth of breathtaking scenery right on our doorstep.

The lowest placed Welsh entrant, at number 9, is the ever-popular Taff Trail.

Talybont-on-Usk. Image via Google

The travel experts said: “This 60-mile route starts in Cardiff and winds out of the capital and past Cardiff Bay, disused railway lines and crashing weirs before ending in the heart of the Bannau Brycheiniog National Park.

“There are plenty of picturesque stops along the way to enjoy the views or refuel with a picnic.

“For an even longer break, there is the fascinating museum at Pontypridd, the beautiful Cyfarthfa Castle and the beautiful village of Talybont-on-Usk.”

Cyfarthfa Castle. Photo by Anthony Lewis

“If you don’t think you can complete the whole route, cycle from Brecon Canal Basin along the well-surfaced Monmouthshire and Brecon Canal towpath.

“The route consists of old railway paths, forest paths and canals.

“Perfect picture”

The highest Welsh entry on the list is the Elan Valley Trail at an impressive number 3.

Craig Goch Reservoir Dam, Elan Valley. Photo by Adrian Farwell. (CC BY 3.0)

The experts said: “Wales isn’t exactly short of picture-perfect views, but they’re hardly a secret. The Elan Valley is an exception.

“Located in the heart of mountainous mid-Wales, this linear path climbs past three reservoirs, over the Rhayader Tunnel nature reserve and through fairytale forests.

‘It follows the line of the old Birmingham Corporation Railway, built in the late nineteenth century to help build the Elan Valley Reservoirs, a series of four narrow lakes used to supply water to Birmingham.

Craig Goch Dam – by Chris Downer and usable under Creative Commons license.

“The route starts in Cwmdeuddwr and climbs 50 meters past the Caban Coch and Garreg Ddu Reservoirs, with spectacular views from the Craig Goch Dam.

“If that hasn’t exhausted you yet, there are several mountain bike trails to choose from at the end of the route, including the Ant Hills and Elan Epic.”

The Top Ten

  • North York Moors Cycle Route, Yorkshire
  • Giant’s Causeway to Benone Cycle Route, Northern Ireland
  • Elan Valley Trail, Wales
  • The Caledonia Way, Scotland
  • Isle of Wight Around the island, Isle of Wight
  • South Downs Way, Sussex
  • The Northumberland Coastal Route, Northumberland
  • The Borrowdale Bash, Cumbria
  • The Taff Trail, Wales
  • Yorkshire Dales Loop, Yorkshire

View the full top 20 here and read more.


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