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Cycle across the Beacons
57 mi / 1-2 days
🇬🇧 8 46 49
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This really is a ride of two halves. From Abergavenny to Brecon, it’s a gentle towpath amble along the lovely Monmouthshire & Brecon. After Brecon… let’s just say it’s a bit less gentle.

You wouldn’t expect a route called “Cycle across the Beacons” to be flat, and it isn’t. Indeed, although Sustrans worked with the Brecon Beacons National Park to set it up, the hilly section isn’t numbered as part of the National Cycle Network – they considered it too tough for that. But if your legs are up to it, this is a magnificent 55-mile ride through the southern Welsh hills: the quietest roads, the sleepiest villages, the greatest views.

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Getting there


What bike do you need?

The hilly section west of Brecon really asks for a road bike, a cross bike or perhaps a hybrid. A mountain bike will be too heavy to haul up those gradients.

These are often single-lane roads with a grassy centre and a smattering of gravel, so don’t turn up with skinny tyres expecting pristine tarmac. Especially when you see the canal towpath after Abergavenny: some of it has been widened and smoothed out, but much of it is still essentially unimproved singletrack. Fortunately, there’s a tolerable road running parallel (the A4077/B4558), which roadies may prefer.


How's it signposted?

NCN-style stickers on lamp-posts and road signs have a little orange ‘Cycle across the Beacons’ logo: simply follow that. The very first section out of Abergavenny is signposted as NCN 46, and approaching Brecon it shares the route with NCN 8, the Taff Trail / Lon Las Cymru.

Ok, I’ve ridden it. Now what?

At 56 miles, it’s doable in a day, though many riders will choose to take two days over it. So where next?

You could extend the ride from Llandeilo to Carmarthen along the quiet B4300 road. (Sustrans and local councils have a plan to build a cycle track along the old Llandeilo–Carmarthen railway in due course.)

But perhaps most tempting of all is that Llandeilo is only 35 miles from the lovely Ceredigion coast. Add another day to your ride, and you could be eating ice-cream in Aberaeron by mid-afternoon. From there, it’s a 20ish-mile spin up the coast to Aberystwyth and a train home. Tempted?

Getting there

How do you get there?

Both Abergavenny, at the start of the route, and Llandeilo, at the end, have railway stations. Abergavenny has frequent trains but they can be busy, so book a bike space if you can. Llandeilo is on the tiny Heart of Wales branch line, perhaps Britain’s most rural railway, with just four trains a day in each direction.

Ride reports & comments

Cycle across the Beacons

Did this route from Llandeilo to Abergavenny in a day, left Llandeilo at 11:45 arrived in Abergvenny at 7:15. The first part of the ride is quite hard with a…


Ridden this route? Write a ride report and share your experience…

Fri 21 Apr 2023, 17:32

We did this from Fishguard following NCR47 but that i another story..... This journey comment starts in Carmarthen and heads along the Towi on the quiet (right hand) side of the river towards Ffairfach.  A short deviation to LLandeilo is worth doing and not too far out of your way.  Either an early lunch or a civilised start... take your pick.

From LLandeilo things get, how can I put it?  "Challenging".  There is no avoiding the fact that you have been riding along a valley and your destination takes you to new heights.  Literally.  As a mere mortal cyclist and not one of the super fit or young it was never going to be pretty but once off the busier section we were compensated by some quiet wooden lanes and changing vistas over the valley to the hills in the further west.

The Red Kite feeding station hints at things getting a bit easier and by the time you reach the reservoir you are in a different world.  There is more to the ride than a few steep climbs; much more so don't be put off.  The range of scenery and wildlife habitats in such a short distance of a few miles will be hard to beat anywhere and by the time you get to Brecon and beyond, you will feel like the seasoned traveller that you are. 

Tue 15 Aug 2023, 09:35

I cycled the route east to west (from Abergavenny to Trapp) and by looking at the elevation profiles, I think it might be the easier direction. The climbs are a still there but the gradients were somewhat less severe. That being said, this is a challenging ride. I loved it though. I spent 4 nights & 5 days on an relaxed tour that included a day off to explore Carreg Cennen Castle. 

I rode a fully loaded steel-framed, old school touring bike (Dawes Galaxy) and she was in her element. Sure there were a few hills where I had to walk and push, but that has always been a part of cycle touring... ya just gotta accept it and then it's another aspect of the adventure.

Overall the route is sublime. The roads are quiet, well-paved, and snake through lovely countryside. The views are stunning. I cannot imagine cycling this route in a single day... it deserves to be ridden slowly. To stop often and just look, to listen, to take it in.

I made this trip solo and it was a mental retreat. I spent so much time on my own that when I did speak with the locals it was bright and refreshing. People are fascinated with cycle tourists. It's humbling and rewarding and meaningful.

Put this route along with the Radnor Ring on your cycling bucket list... you deserve them and you'll enjoy them both.

I highly recommend this route to all serious cycle tourists.