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1

Shrewsbury to Welshpool

Enclosed by a loop of the River Severn, Shrewsbury is a bustling Border town with an interesting mix of architecture. Lon Cambria begins on the busy riverside path before heading off on residential streets and roadside paths – not the most interesting of exits, but reasonable enough. A three-mile haul on a B road leads to Montford Bridge, and ten lovely miles of easy lanes through the Severn Valley.

Wales begins at Crewgreen – and so do the hills. The tough but short ascent of Breidden Hill is followed by the ascent of the Long Mountain, a great bulk topped by quiet lanes which give excellent views on a clear day. This is the hardest single climb of the whole route, so take your time. The descent into Welshpool is steep, winding and exhilarating; not to be attempted with weak brakes!

Bike shops

Campsites

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Hotels

Baschurch

from £939Field House

Berriew

Bicton

Garthmyl

from £80The Nags Head

Guilsfield

from £182Ty Gaer

Guilsfield

Guilsfield Near Welshpool

from £206Tan Y Gaer

Knockin

from £78The Old Forge

Montford Bridge Nr. Shrewsbury

Montgomery

from £62Dragon Hotel

Nr Oswestry

from £2000Big Bear Lodge

Oswestry

Powys

Powys

Ruyton Of the Eleven Towns

Shrewsbury

from £2000Brownhill House
from £98Felin Rhosyn
from £120Flat 1 St Annes
from £2000Hambrook House
from £71Little Loxley
from £63Lord Hill
from £223Mytton Oak
from £100No 3 Saffron
from £2000Porterhouse SY1
from £35Sydney House
from £2000The Alb
from £2000The Bull Inn
from £2000The Old Bell
from £48The Old Bell
from £2000The Royal Oak
from £2000The Vaults
from £39The Vaults

Shrewsbury, Shropshire

Shropshire

Trewern Welshpool Powys

Welshpool

Welshpool

from £50Lake Farm B&B
from £2000The Lowfield Inn
from £2000The Talbot Hotel
from £2000The Vine House
from £54Top House
from £2000Touchstone House

Wollaston

from £75Parrs cottage
2

Welshpool to Rhayader

Famous for its cattle market, Welshpool is essentially a one-street town with an unhurried air. The Montgomery Canal runs through the town – and Lon Cambria follows it all the way to Newtown. 

The canal towpath was improved in 2013 to make a very pleasant level route, replacing the former journey up hill and down dale. You won’t see many boats: though much of this section has been restored to navigation, it’s cut off from the main canal system by a dry section around Llanymynech, so the only way for boats to reach it is via low-loader. South of Berriew, the canal is largely unrestored, but Lon Cambria follows the towpath regardless.

Newtown is often maligned as the most workaday of the Border towns. In fact, there’s much to explore here, with its main street falling attractively to the Severn bridge. The Sportsman (the Monty’s Brewery tap) and the tiny Railway deserve a visit if you’re stopping overnight.

More quiet, hilly lanes take the route through Caersws – the last sight of the railway until Aberystwyth – and onto Llanidloes. Nicknamed ‘Planet Llanid’ for its mildly hippy vibe, this is a friendly, sleepy town with old-fashioned cafés and pubs. 

Here we meet Lon Las Cymru, Wales‘ north–south cycle challenge. The two routes share the same path to Rhayader. First comes a long, surprisingly tough climb from the Severn Valley to the watershed, then a steep descent into the Wye Valley at tiny Llangurig. The best bit, though, is the astonishingly rural 10-mile run down the valley into Rhayader, a contender for the finest road on the National Cycle Network. (At Llangurig, you can also choose to miss out Rhayader completely by heading west on Route 818: stunning views, but a steep climb and rugged surface.)

Bike shops

Newtown

Rhayader

Welshpool

Campsites

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Hotels

Berriew

Caersws

Dark Lane

Dolfor

from £184Cwm Corn Barn

Garthmyl

from £80The Nags Head

Guilsfield

from £182Ty Gaer

Guilsfield

Guilsfield Near Welshpool

from £206Tan Y Gaer

Llandinam

from £67Y Beudy

Llanidloes

from £115Church Lane
from £2000The Mount Inn
from £55Unicorn Hotel

Montgomery

from £62Dragon Hotel

Newtown

from £726Bedw Barn
from £176Cefnaire
from £138Cefnaire Isaf
from £265The Cwtch

Old Hall Llanidloes

from £73Beech 2 Bed
from £78Cedar 2 Bed
from £68Oak 1 Bed

Powys

Powys

from £2000The Old Vicarage

Rhayader

from £59Bryn Derwen
from £32Crown Inn
from £122Glan Wye
from £174The Bakehouse
from £72The Bear
from £2000The Crown Inn
from £2000The Elan Hotel
from £174The Old Drapers
from £2000Ty Morgans

Rhayader, Powys

from £35Ty Morgan's

Trefeglwys

from £91Cwmmegan
from £65Pen Copi

Trewern Welshpool Powys

Welshpool

Welshpool

from £50Lake Farm B&B
from £2000The Talbot Hotel
from £2000The Vine House
from £54Top House
from £2000Touchstone House

Near Llanwrthwl Powys

from £123Gorsddu
3

Rhayader to Aberystwyth

Rhayader reputedly has more pubs per head of population than anywhere else in Britain; don’t try to sample them all in one evening. It’s a quiet, friendly place centred around an attractive central cross… which has the misfortune of hosting two major A-roads. 

The next 15 miles might look circuitous on the map, but there’s a good reason. The traffic-free cycle path follows the shore of the Elan Valley reservoirs, with stunning views to the imposing dams. It’s a steady, gentle climb, only really taxing at the turn above the highest reservoir onto the mountain road. From here, you feel like you’re on top of the world as you slowly cross from the Elan to the Ystwyth valleys. 

It’s pretty much downhill all the way from here: 24 miles of easy descending all the way to the sea. There’s a bumpy, gravelly forest path after Cwmystwyth which is quite enjoyable, but you may choose to stay on the quiet B road instead. 

A laughable scramble (where you will have to push your bike) takes you up to the old railway from Carmarthen; Lon Cambria will intermittently follow this into Aberystwyth, including the final approach to the town itself. The route ends by the pier; rest at one of the seaside cafés and raise a glass to your ride across the heart of Wales.

Bike shops

Aberystwyth

Rhayader

Campsites

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Hotels

Aberystwyth

from £94Awel Mor 4
from £0Brynheulwen
from £120Cambrian View
from £70Castle Hotel
from £0Dawns y Don
from £269Ger y Mor
from £105Harboursideview
from £108Haul y Bore
from £32Maes Bach
from £30Maes Y Mor
from £50Marine Hotel
from £89Parc Y Bryn
from £40Penybont
from £77Seabrin
from £114The Calf Suite
from £50The Glengower
from £106The Granary
from £85The Hay Suite
from £115Ty Traeth

Aberystwyth, Ceredigion

Aberystwyth, Ceredigion, Wales

from £60Conrah Hotel

Capel Seion

from £104Penrhiw

Clarach

from £73Bryn Hyfryd

Clarach

from £51The Hay Suite

Dark Lane

Devils Bridge

from £0Tynycae

Llanafan

Llandinam

from £67Y Beudy

Llanfarian Aberystwyth

Llanidloes

from £115Church Lane
from £2000The Mount Inn
from £55Unicorn Hotel

New Cross Near Aberystwyth

from £0Brynhoreb

Old Hall Llanidloes

from £73Beech 2 Bed
from £78Cedar 2 Bed
from £68Oak 1 Bed

Pont-Rhyd-y-Groes

from £73Pendre Isaf

Pontrhydfendigaid

Pontrhydygroes Devils Bridge

from £72The Glen

Powys

from £2000The Old Vicarage

Rhayader

from £59Bryn Derwen
from £32Crown Inn
from £122Glan Wye
from £174The Bakehouse
from £72The Bear
from £2000The Crown Inn
from £2000The Elan Hotel
from £174The Old Drapers
from £2000Ty Morgans

Rhayader, Powys

from £35Ty Morgan's

Rhyd y Felin

Rhydyfelin Nr. Aberystwyth

from £80Sea View
from £134Valley View

Swyddffynnon

from £57Tynlon Villa

Trefeglwys

from £91Cwmmegan

Ystrad Meurig

from £2000Black Lion Hotel

Near Llanfarian

from £2794 Pengraig Draw

Near Llanwrthwl Powys

from £123Gorsddu