Jack Mytton and Trans Cambrian MTB Route

Day 1- (26.0 miles) The train from Shrewsbury takes you to Church Stretton in 20 minutes. Cycling through the town it would seem correct to head straight for Cardingmill valley, this route however, does not maximise the full experience of the Mynd and is physically arduous as an ascent. By proceeding north to All Stretton, following the minor road up to Jynlie you will be rewarded with a shallow even gradient provided by the north eastern shoulder of the Mynd accompanied by views of Shropshire’s rural landscape. An established track takes you up and over Pole Bank, rejoining the metalled road to the glider station which is passed to the right before rejoining the Port Way. This ancient trading route follows the spine of the Mynd bringing views south and west and a very joyous descent. A quick switch onto roads links this initial section to Bury Ditches and despite being on macadam you feel encouraged by the progress you have made. A short steep ascent and your onto a swift traverse of the Bury Ditches forestry fire roads before descending to Clun. This run is naturally fluent and has you arriving in this charming village seeking a tea shop, to take stock and charge the batteries. Do not linger too long for the afternoon session has you going up again to Llanfair Hill and Offas Dyke, this is the Welsh Marches, with views to fill your eyes. Far too soon your taken down a lane plunging to finish your day in Knucklas. Alternatively, head east to Knighton for better accommodation prospects.

Day 2 (25 miles) There are not many pushes but the day starts with one, do not be discouraged, once onto Goytre Hill the land ahead is relatively level and Poole Hill awaits you. Poole Hill is a crown protectorate and is your last taste of border country before entering Mid Wales, careful navigation is required as false trails lure you away. Down and up again to Warren Hill past stands of larches, you become aware that the frequency of opening and closing gates has increased, a reoccurring theme for the rest of your journey. Arrival at Llanbadarn and the main road is an anti climax, since there is little here to distract you so, press on, up again on small lanes, through fields and then Brondre Fawr Hill forestry plantation. Take care not to get lost or bogged down and emerge at the bottom to traverse fields onto lanes and into the sleepy village of Bwlch Y Sarnau. One more slog up a badly eroded track brings you to better conditions and a macadamed road. Now to Rhayader, this takes only a few moments but you may be feeling the attrition of the day’s activities and arrive relieved and ready for rest and recuperation.

Day 3 – (41.0 miles) Possibly feeling a little groggy, you breakfast and prepare for the longest of the four days. Heading west towards the Elan Valley a cycle track takes a sharp left at Elan village and up a lane, then left again on a track which steepens alarmingly. Blowing hard you enter a less defined section over Gro Hill before descending back to the road. It may occur to you that this section required effort as the road would have provided the logical route. Anyway, providing the wind is not resisting your progress a pleasant section of road then track continues west along the Claerwyn Reservoir. At the head you note the bothy to your right and after a few bumps arrive back on road. Now the need for navigation focuses your attention as you turn north wriggling along rutted tracks heading for a small holding and link to the forestry. Traversing the plantation and barely discernible tracks will be greatly helped by a OS GPS. Eventually, you emerge onto the road at Cwmystwyth slightly disheveled and head east up the valley. You follow the sustrans route 81and then 818 with an option through the forestry plantation. Those wishing to use the bothy at Nant Rhys for the full experience can do so, otherwise free wheel down into Llangurig and the Bluebell Inn. Now you have broken the back of this route.

Day 4 – (31.0 miles) The final day, is one that starts with some navigation, traversing field tracks aiming for an entrance to the Hafod Forest; Climbing steadily negotiating the criss cross fire roads the trail takes you north towards the parking area and the road. This is sustrans route 8 which you follow for several miles to Staylittle. Now, the final ascent takes you through numerous gates a subject which you have developed by now a strong opinion about before arriving at Glaslyn bird fowl sanctuary and the wide views of Plynlimon and west to the coast. Linger here for a while and breathe in this place as the final section of the day awaits. Now, you have a choice; the descent adjacent Foel Fabian is initially steep and care is needed so, don’t be embarrassed to walk your bike down, I did! Then, as the gradient eases you free wheel down taking in the views passing through the farmstead onto the lanes. Next comes the link section with Glyndwr’s Way which is slightly convoluted and involves a double back and into a stream valley, then back onto lane up a hill round a corner etc…anyway, eventually you end up on a shoulder on the GW which provides a pleasant section of single track arriving in the valley. A patchy trail runs along the edge of the woodlands spitting you out on the main road at Dovey Junction , and that’s it! A gentle pedal to Machynlleth and the train station.

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