This issue: Cadair Idris, North Wales and Teignmouth Lanes, Devon
CADAIR IDRIS, NORTH WALES
This is a fantastic seven-mile-long trail which feels a lot longer once on it. I’m not sure why, maybe it’s the time it takes to ride it, you’ll no doubt be stopping multiple times to admire the views. Once heading up the trail the views are spectacular back to Barmouth in the distance below you. The estuary from up here is really a sight to see, so make sure you ride this trail on a good clear day. The mountains all around are amazing as well. I have ridden this trail lots in the past and I never get bored of the views it has to offer. The trail itself isn’t difficult and can be attempted by anyone, even with road-biased tyres when it’s dry. Due to the straight nature of some sections I’m sure the more ambitious out there will really get a shift on. Just be aware of the steep drops to the right in places. I wouldn’t fancy a tumble down the side of the mountain! Check out ABR Issue 35 for an excellent but demanding trail north of Barmouth, but be warned, it isn’t called ‘Bastard Hell’ for nothing.
Even the ride to the start is amazing along a smooth ribbon or tarmac with fantastic mountain scenery around. Leave the tarmac and head uphill on the well-defined trail. The route starts at 224m above sea level and is a well graded, sometimes broken tarmac with occasionally grass growing through. There are lots of loose stones here. Proceed through the gate and continue until you reach another gate. Keep heading uphill. Once round a longish right-hand bend you will hit a sharpish left-hand turn. Here the track joins from the right, you can legally start from the bottom of this track or, if you see fit, have a ride down.
You are now at 353m and you continue heading up the hill. It’s more of the same, not too difficult. Through agate and the view to the right opens up. Try not to get too distracted. It’s better further up and well worth stopping. Keep going, the trail continuously climbs uphill. The views to Barmouth and its wide, sandy beach has to be seen to be believed, just hope you ride it on a clear day as I did. Once you reach the next gate it’s time to stop and admire the view.
Concentrate now as there’s no wall on the right as there has been to this point. If you go over the edge now it will be a long way down. Keep heading towards the trees in the distance. Proceed through the gate as soon as you enter the trees.
You are now at the highest point of 401m above sea level as you enter the wooded section. There are more puddles in this area and the track is less stony.
You are now out of the wood. Proceed through another gate. The trail even starts to head downhill slightly, and the going is still easy. Here you’re surrounded by rolling and you head round a sharp right-hand bend and to a gate.
There’s no need to open the gate as there is a cattle grid to the left you can ride over. There are a few shallow puddles, and not as many loose stones. Once you hit the fork in the trail you have a choice. I went right as this extends the trail by a lot.
The track turns into two gravel ruts (shallow) with grass growing in the middle. You have to concentrate a bit more in places as this is a long rutty section. It gets a bit wilder in places with grass growing over the trail. There are a few puddles to splash through and you’ll want to keep going all the way to the next decision point. You can go left here. This is the closest exit to Happy Valley which will be detailed in a future issue.
Through another gate. You are off the wild moors now. Last bit is up a track between walls. Pick a rut and head uphill all the way to the tarmac.
Did you know
Wales has three gold mines that I’m aware of and two of them are located near to Cadair Idris. Both have long since stopped producing gold, but that doesn’t stop prospectors panning the local rivers for the precious metal. I know I have! I found traces of gold whilst panning at a mine in New Zealand and this got me hooked. A bit of research and areas in North Wales and Scotland were found. I’ve found traces of gold in Scotland, and at one of the sites near Cadair Idris. The first mine is upstream from the village of Bontddu on the River Mawddach estuary, it’s called the Clogau Gold Mine. There’s not much evidence of the mining to be seen and the river was barren when I panned, but further up the river in the Coed y Brenin Forest is the old Gwynfynydd Gold Mine. This is far more impressive with dilapidated workings. I’ve panned the river here and found traces of gold, along with one very small nugget (and I mean small). Where there’s findings there’s always that opportunity to strike it rich! Be aware though, I am unfamiliar with the legalities of panning the rivers in Wales. I suggest you do some research if you fancy a go.
Barmouth or Dolgellau
OL23, Cadair Idris & Llyn Tegid
Start/End grid reference:
There’s some really good trails in the local area. Some pretty
tough stuff as well, especially north of Barmouth.
’ve been wanting to get down to Devon to ride for a few years now, but each time the opportunity arose it clashed with other plans. Luckily, this year’s jaunt down south was planned in plenty of time which allowed me to make the long journey to sample Devon’s lanes. I wasn’t disappointed.
The lanes are simply everywhere and there’s more than enough for a good few days of riding. There were only a couple of difficult lanes over the day and a half that I was able to ride, the rest were fantastic. They weren’t too difficult and most offered fabulous views of the surrounding countryside. And for someone who has the Peaks and North Wales as local riding, the main benefit was zero gates. Not one gate all weekend! I really can’t wait to get back down there to sample more of the area.
The lanes in this issue are fairly straightforward and are around the Teignmouth area. Once you’ve completed the short route I suggest a detour back to Shaldon (red circle on map) to see the passenger ferry in operation, a benefit being there’s a great pub with a fantastic beer garden overlooking the harbour.
The track starts off as a wide, solid trail and the going is fairly easy and straightforward. As you crest the hill the rest of the ride is downhill all the way to river level. It’s worth stopping after a few hundred metres to see the view down to the right over the river below.
Continue heading straight on, do not take the track to the left (you will be coming back up this track to complete this route). There are a few muddy puddles but, for the most part, the track is fairly solid with red muddy clay, especially after rain. Occasionally there are sections where grass is growing in the middle of the trail. As you proceed you are riding between high hedgerows.
Short tarmac section
The trail is pretty easy going. As you head round a right hand bend the views of the Teignmouth Bridge come into view. It’s definitely worth stopping here for a photo. Cracking view.
This is probably the hardest section on the route but it’s not that difficult. It’s just the steepest downhill bit and can be muddy and slippery so take care.
At the bottom turn left and onto the short tarmac bit to the next section.
You are now making your way uphill slightly. Again, the track is wide with a fairly solid muddy base. It’s not difficult. Keep going all the way to the top.
Turn right onto tarmac and head downhill and through the village of Stokeinteignhead and make your way to the next trail.
The next section is my favourite on the route. Uphill all the way along a wide track with a few rocks. You can get a bit of speed on this section. It’s uphill all the way until you meet the track you passed at point 2.