|Time:||4 - 7 hrs|
The big one! A true test of man and machine. At 46km in length, this trail requires a high level of fitness and a well maintained and reliable mountain bike. The terrain is not overly demanding but is rocky and steep in places so is unadvisable for beginners. There is a lot of climbing, generally on wide forest roads but the singletrack descents are worth the effort. Fast flowing trails are the order of the day here tempting the rider to stay off the brakes and just enjoy the rollercoaster ride. The final two sections of singletrack; “Peregrine Ridge” and “Jetlag” are particularly full-on, rewarding an aggressive and committed riding style.
The real beauty of this route is the astonishing views across to the Brecon Beacons and Black Mountains from the top. There is a long forest road climb which requires perseverance but you are rewarded with a panoramic view not only of the mountains to the North but also the South Wales coast. This view is to your left while you tackle the singletrack sections “Riding High” and “On the Edge”.
Due to Forestry Commission activity in this area it is common to encounter trail closures and diversions, details of which are displayed in the visitor centre so you can decide before you set off. At the time of writing there is actually a significant diversion in place but it incorporates some challenging and fun tracks which wouldn’t usually be on the route so diversions are not always a negative.
Good preparation is vital on this route. It is a long walk back if you forget something. Pack a couple of litres of water and plenty of snacks. The weather can change dramatically so even if its fine when you set off it is a good idea to pack a lightweight waterproof and a spare dry layer.
If your stamina and bike are up to the job, then this is a very satisfying trail to ride. There are two options to cut the ride short which could be a major advantage if you have been a tad optimistic about your fitness or experience a mechanical problem. The first short cut reduces the total distance to 22km and the second 36km.
Talybont-on-Usk Youth Hostel
Cwmcarn Forest Camping
Park Farm Camping
Tai'r Bull Country Inn
The Star Inn
Please note that the above distances are "as the crow flies" and do not represent actual driving distances.