Wednesday, November 01, 2006

Quick Afternoon Ride Near Llangollen, North Wales

Here is a quick rundown of our most recent mad one in the welsh hills (29th Oct).

We decided to go somewhere different this time and head slightly further south of Moel Famau to another one of our haunts just outside Llangollen (keeping away from the purpose built routes in Llandegla Forest.. the Active Brits crew are not great fans of the fabricated bike dedicated routes..)..

We decided on doing an early afternoon run that would get us out for about 3 hours, cover 15-20miles and give us enough uphill work to make the legs ache on Monday Morning and to provide us with enough endorphine rush to keep us going with the happy vibes for most of the week.. In summary the route takes you from about 40m about see level to about 500m about see level in under 4 miles (mostly on road) before making a transition to quality rambler free singletrack then country lanes. There are loads of alternative routes but this gives you a bit of everything if you are struggling for time.


1) Go out of Llangollen on the Horseshoe Pass Road and take the first left hander about 2 miles out of Llangollenn towards Rhewl. Afer about 0.5miles, turn into a carpark on the left (you cant miss it). This will be your base for the ride.

2) Leave the car park and turn left onto the same road as you came in on. Follow it for about 0.8mile then turn right near a few small houses (you will have just climbed up a small hill). Follow this road for about 1.2 miles until you reach the main Horseshoe Pass Road.

3) Now is the fun part as you are going to cycle up the Horseshoe Pass for about 3 miles until you reach a car park on the left (about 0.3miles past a few tight bends and a slate quarry). You cant miss the lay-by as it gives an awesome view of the valley back to Lllangollen.

4) When you reach the lay-by this is where the training element really kicks in. DO NOT STOP.. simply dive off your bike, look for a fairly well defined grassy path in front of you, stick your bike on your shoulder then proceed up the hillside in the dirrection of a large boulder (you cant miss it.. its located just as the path starts to level out a bit and joins a wider path. Now get back on the bike again... DO NOT STOP.. then follow the path upwards to the left (this section is fully rideable).

5) As you cycle up you will see a wooden fence in front of you after about 300m. Turn right just before the fence and tank down the hill rapid stylee to the Ponderosa Cafe (you cant miss it.. look for the motorbikes everywhere).

6) Go directly through the carpark and over the fence at the back of the Ponderosa onto the Heather moorland (look for the broken style). Head up the grassy singletrack for about 200m until you join a tarmac/ gravel track. Follow this track up to the aerial mast in the distance (gets steepish in places but its fully rideable for the intermediate and above level mountain bikers). After about 1mile you will reach the mast (there are a couple but you want the first one).

7) Turn right immediately before the first aerial then enjoy about 2 miles of singletrack (little uphill section in the middle as you cross a stream) until you get to the small narrow Worlds End Road. This singletrack is awesome and is littered with rocks, mud, pedal grabbing embankments, rutts, the works.. you just never know what you'll be getting next..

8) Turn right on the Worlds End road and follow it down through the forest, across a Ford in the road (caution here.. slippery is an understatement) and onwards for 3 miles until you get to a T junction with the Panorama Road. DO NOT go down to the right but follow the road to the right (its actually more like straight on) to the Panorama. After about 1 mile you'll be at your closest point to Castell Dinas Bran (old fortification on the hillside to the right). You will also see a narrow road to the right which takes you over a cattle grid. Follow this road back down to Llangollen.

NOTE: all the road sections are incredibly fast, littered with gravel at times and can be treacherous in wet conditions.

9) When in Llangollen make the decision to either go for a lager or opt for a warm down and slowly cycle back to the car (via the road or the path on the side of the canal).


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