If you liked Lôn Las Cymru, you’ll love this – just as challenging, equally spectacular scenery, and a whole new set of tiny lanes and market towns to discover.
Our Border Raid route runs south-to-north through lands contested for centuries by the Welsh princes and rebels. Where LLC heads north-west to Snowdonia and Anglesey, we stay in the Marches, taking in towns like Hay-on-Wye, Welshpool, Bala and Ruthin.
It’s not a signposted route – rather, something that we’ve put together at cycle.travel to show our favourite part of the country. We’ve combined the best bits of local routes to create something thrilling from start to finish, and you don’t get more thrilling than Wales’s two highest road passes: the Gospel Pass (Bwlch yr Efengyl) above Hay, and Bwlch y Groes above Bala.
It fits neatly into a four-day challenge, with one peak on each of the first three days, and an easier fourth day. You’d overnight at Glasbury/Hay, Newtown, and Bala.
If you’d rather take it slowly, a seven-day tour could include overnight stops at Abergavenny, Glasbury/Hay, Llandrindod, Newtown, Lake Vyrnwy, and Corwen. That keeps each day’s climbing down to 500–600m. If you’re B&Bing, there isn’t much accommodation between Welshpool and Bala, other than the Lake Vyrnwy Hotel.
It includes the two highest passes in Wales, so it’s tough. If you were to tackle this in four days, the first three would each be over 1000m in climbing. That said, you could take longer over it, and there’s no shame in pushing up hills. We’d rate this similarly to Lôn Las Cymru, but since it’s a little shorter (209mi vs 253mi), you’ve got more time to recover from the climbs.
Any road bike, tourer or adventure bike. There’s a long canal towpath section between Newtown and Welshpool which is surfaced with (good quality) crushed limestone; pretty much everything else is on-road or a paved cycleway. Note that the lanes can be narrow and sometimes gravelly, so you’ll want reasonably resilient tyres.
This is a cycle.travel-designed tour, which means no, there aren’t dedicated route signs. However, several parts of it follow existing National Cycle Network routes. In particular, the route from Chepstow to the Wye Valley follows NCN 42, which is the alternate start for Lôn Las Cymru.
Chepstow and Rhyl both have railway stations with a mix of local and longer-distance services. The main service is provided by Transport for Wales at both stations, but there are inter-city trains from further afield too. We’d suggest booking a bike space where possible.