The Beast of Llangollen
North Wales Mountain Bike Route Guide
Ceiriog Valley, North Wales
(Requires advanced skills and fitness)
OS Explorer 255
Route Text Download:
The Beast of Llangollen
GPX and KML
(available via the full MapMyRide page for this route, on the right hand side of the page)
This mountain bike route of 26.4 miles heads to the Ceiriog Valley and back from Llangollen via some of the steepest, longest climbs and steepest, rockiest descents. With around 4800ft of climbing on the way it is definitely a beast of a ride but one that will leave a big (tired) grin on your face after taking in most of the best descents the valleys have to offer.
1. Start from the long stay car park near the river in Llangollen (GR214421). From the exit of the car park go straight ahead and follow the one way system to a junction with the main road. Turn tight and follow the road through the centre of Llangollen to the T-junction at the traffic lights. Turn left onto the A5 then a short distance later, at the next junction, turn right (GR216419). Immediately after turning right take the road on the left that climbs through the houses. Stay on this lane and go past a number of junctions with roads on either side. After some time the road crosses a small bridge, over a stream, in a dip. After this continue along the road and climb past the houses on the left. The road then thins to a singletrack lane that comes to a junction (GR220411). Go straight on and follow the lane as it goes through a long left hand bend between the hedges. Continue along the lane to a four-way junction, with two dirt tracks, where the lane turns sharp left (GR234411).
2. Turn right and climb the steep, loose and rocky track to a gate. After the gate continue up the steep, loose climb that will be a push for most, to the next junction (GR237408). Turn right for a slightly less steep section that comes to a gate at the woods. Go through the gate and continue climbing through the woods. After the trail emerges from the trees follow the rocky, rutted double track all the way to the gate at the top, while enjoying the views across the Vale of Llangollen on the right. Go through the gate and follow the muddy ruts for a short distance to a gated junction with a lane (GR227398).
3. Turn right and follow the lane to the next junction, with a lane on the left. Turn left down this lane and follow it to the next junction with a lane on the right by a stone building on the right (GR235394). Turn right and descend the lane to a right hand bend. At the end of the bend turn right down a small trail buried in the bushes (GR238392). This descent is definitely one for dropping your saddle, it’s a fast trail at the top, which then turns into a rocky chute that becomes more technical as you descend. The descent finishes a drop to a junction with a double track. Turn left, then at the junction immediately after turn left again. Follow the track along the flat and through the trees to where it ends at a junction with a steep lane (GR241387).
4. Turn left and climb the lane a short way to signed bridleway descending off to the right on some tight singletrack through the bushes. Turn right and descend this fast, straight singletrack to a gate in the woods. After the gate go straight on through the next gate to a stream crossing. Once across the stream climb right a short way then descend over the horse stile to a junction with a lane (GR247386).
5. Turn right and descend the lane to a junction with the main road at the bottom of the valley. Turn right again and follow the road into Pontfadog. At the next junction with a lane on the left, opposite the Post Office on the right, bear left past the small car park on the right (GR234380). Climb the lane and bear left across the bridge over the river. After the bridge follow the lane left and climb to the next junction, then turn right. Climb past a row of cottages to a crossroad junction (GR233378).
6. Go straight across the junction and climb the tarmac lane through the trees. At the forked junction bear left and continue climbing up the dirt double track. Go straight on at the next junction and follow the track to a crossroad junction at the top of the hill. Go straight on and follow the lane to the next junction (GR244357). Turn right and descend to the next junction, with a double track signed as a bridleway, on the right (GR244355).
7. Turn right and descend the track, which at first is fast double track. After a while the track thins and the bushes and trees pull in tighter on either side just before reaching a horse stile. After going over the sleepers continue down the steep, tight and rocky track. Near the bottom of the track go over another horse stile for a bit more rocky descending before reaching the final horse stile at the junction at the bottom. Turn left at the junction then descend the lane through a right hand bend to a junction with a lane on the left, by some stone buildings (GR232363). Turn left and climb steeply up the lane to the next junction, at the top. Go straight on and descend the lane to a junction on the edge of Llwynmawr (GR225370).
8. Turn left and climb past the first junction with a lane on the left to the following four-way junction (GR221367). Take the lane on the left past the house on the left to start a long steep climb to the transmitter mast at the top of the hill. Climb steeply to a crossroad junction about ¼ of the way up (GR220364). Go straight across and continue up the steep tarmac. After some time then lane goes through a left then right hand bend before passing the entrance to a farm on the left. Continue straight on past the radio mast and into the trees. This marks the point where the gradient starts to reduce. Follow the track through the trees to a crossroad junction at the top (GR219351).
9. Go straight across the junction then around the right hand side of the gate to follow the double track through the trees. Go through a gate after the trees then and descend the rutted track that eventually bears right to some gates at the bottom. Go through the two sets of gates to a junction with a lane (GR223340). Turn left, then at the next junction immediately after, at the start of the farm, turn right through the gate and descend the muddy track through a dip. At the junction after the dip turn right (GR223339). Climb the double track towards the trees on the ridge. Bear right on the track and go past the old hanger, then follow the grassy double track parallel to the line of trees on the left. At the end of the trees, go through the gate in the left hand corner of the field. Go straight on and follow the grassy track in the direction the fence on the left. After the crest descend straight on to a gate in the left hand corner of the field (GR204338).
10. Don’t go through the gate but turn sharp right and follow the rutted grassy double track across to a gate on the far side of the field. After this gate descend the gravel track to a junction with a track on the left, just before reaching a gate leading to a lane straight ahead (GR211344). Turn left and descend the wide rocky track through a gate a short distance later. After the gate follow the track as it initially bears left, then keep bearing right around the line of the hill, going past all the tracks on the left. Go through the woods and over the cattle grid at the far side, then continue descending the rough tarmac to the gate at the house (GR198352). After the gate bear left and descend the lane. At the bottom bear right over a bridge and climb to the junction with the road near Erw Gerrig cottages (GR195354).
11. Turn left and follow the road as it climbs, bearing right through the valley. Continue along the road for a while then descend to the triangular junction in the middle of Tregeiriog (GR177338). Go straight on and follow the lane out of the village to the next junction with a lane on the right, directly after crossing a stream (GR168334).
12. Turn right to follow the stream on the right. A short distance later go straight on at the junction with a lane on the left and climb up the valley, following the course of the stream. Keep climbing this lane to where it becomes a dirt track directly after passing the cottage by the stream on the left. Climb the track up the right hand side of the valley to a gate just after a junction with a track on the right (GR164347). Go through the gate and continue climbing up the rutted grassy track to a junction at the head of the valley. Go straight on and follow the rutted, grassy double track on the flat to a junction with a rocky double track at the far end (GR161356).
13. Turn right and climb the rocky track to a gate near the top of the hill (GR162375). Go straight on through the gate and over the top of the hill then descend the fast, rocky track on the other side. There are a couple of gates on this descent, but only the middle one is usually closed. The start of the descent is a very rocky double track then near the bottom, after a few bends, it crosses some off camber slate bedrock, sketchy but great fun. The descent finishes at a gated junction (GR170369).
14. After the gate go straight on through a dip then climb the lane right to a junction (GR171371). Turn right and climb the steep lane, past a farm on the left, to the next junction. Take the second track on the left and climb steeply past the right hand side of the house. Go straight on at the junction at the top of the hill then bear left and descend the lane through a series of bends. Follow the lane right at the bottom of the dip then climb to a four way junction (GR189382).
15. Turn right and follow the wide dirt track past the farm on the left. Stay on the main trail, ignoring both the gated tracks on the right for a descent that starts with wide double track then, at the second track on the right, drops left over a step down into a rocky eroded gully. The descent then goes through a couple of naturally bermed corners. At the junction after the berms, on a right hand bend, follow the main track right. The track then bears left before becoming a tarmac lane. Go straight on and descend a short distance to a junction, where the lane turns left (GR203381). Descend the dirt track on the right. When the track becomes a tarmac lane continue descending straight on to a junction on the edge on Glyn Ceiriog (GR203381).
16. Turn left and follow the lane straight ahead out of Glyn Ceiriog to start the very steep Church Hill climb. Keep following the lane straight ahead and winch your way up the 1 in 3 past the left hand side of the church. Continue climbing straight on up the lane all the way to the crossroad junction at the top (GR205393).
17. Go straight across the junction and descend the lane for a while until it transforms into a dirt track directly after passing a farm on the right (GR210405). This is the start of the final descent on the Allt-y-Badi. Follow the track straight on down the wide, steep and increasingly rocky track through the trees. After some time go across a short section of concrete, followed by a section of BIG, loose boulders to a junction (GR215410). Turn right and descend the rocky track between the hedges. Go straight on at the next junction after which the track becomes a tarmac lane. Descend the lane through a number of bends to a junction on the edge of Llangollen (GR219413).
18. Turn left and follow the lane past the housing estate on the right and descend to the small bridge. At the junction after the bridge go straight on (GR217416). Follow the lane to the next junction and turn right. Descend this lane as it bears left to a four way junction with the main road at the bottom. Go straight across the junction and onto the main road to the junction with the traffic lights directly after (GR215419). Turn right and follow the road through the centre of Llangollen to the next junction directly after the Spar. Turn left, then at the junction opposite the entrance to the short stay car park, turn right (GR214420). Descend the road to where the road turns square right then turn left into the the long stay car park to complete the ride.