Cycle Ride to
Cwm Pennant (Pennant Valley) & Porthmadog from Dolbenmaen
This is possibly the best cycle route in north Wales for seeing a variety of spectacular mountain views from quiet lanes. Snowdonia is of course rich in mountain scenery, but for a cyclist much of it can only be seen from main roads. Though this ride is mostly along untrafficked country lanes, unfortunately, for linking purposes, there is nearly a mile on the A487 trunk road towards the end. There is also a mile and a half along the A4085, but usually this is not a very busy road.
The ride includes a there and back trip along the enchanting Pennant Valley, one of the hidden treasures of North Wales. Among the excellent mountain views to be relished on this ride are those of the Hebog range, the Nantlle ridge, Cnicht and the Moelwyns and the Snowdon massif. There is also a lofty view of the Madog estuary. It is recommended to choose a fine, clear day in order to savour the scenery to the full!
A mountain ride necessarily has a fair amount of ascending (900m in this case) but here the gradients are mostly moderate and are never severe. The descent to Prenteg, however, is both steep and long with a succession of bends. It is essential to exercise caution and have brakes that are in good order.
A bonus during the nesting season is the opportunity to see a pair of ospreys at the RSPB's Glaslyn Osprey Project (free entry).
Photos of the ride
Route: Dolbenmaen - Cwm Pennant - Brynkir - Prenteg - Garreg - Penrhyndeudraeth - Porthmadog - Penmorfa - Dolbenmaen
Distance: 32 miles
Ascent: 900 metres. There is a fairly steep climb soon after entering the Pennant valley, but most of the ascents are only moderate; low gears, however, are desirable. Good brakes and caution are also in order for the very steep, winding descent to Prenteg.
Start: Unmade layby on a lane near Dolbenmaen (Grid Ref: 503432 OS 50,000 map No 124 Porthmadog and Dolgellau). Coming from the Caernarfon direction Turn 2nd Left after Bryncir, signposted Garndolbenmaen (Caution - the first Left Turn after Bryncir is also signposted Garndobenmaen). The wide layby is less than 100 yards on the Right.
Go south to the A487.
Turn Left on cycle path for a few yards
Turn 1st Left signposted Cwm Pennant
Turn 1st Left signposted Cwm Pennant 2
Carry straight ahead into Cwm Pennant and to the roadhead c.4½ miles relishing the increasingly dramatic scenery
When the road peters out turn round and return in the direction from which you came
Turn Left at white house and over hump bridge
Turn Left at T junction signposted Tremadog and Porthmadog and soon pass Brynkir woollen mill - open to the public
Turn 1st Left (just after a short terrace of houses) signposted Cwm Ystradllyn
Turn Right signposted Prenteg
After steep descent to Prenteg Turn Left at A498
Shortly Turn 1st Right on to the B4410 signposted Garreg Llanrothen
(RSPB Glaslyn Osprey project is near bridge)
At Garreg Turn Right on to A4085
After entering Penrhyndeudraeth Turn 1st Right just after postbox and follow National Cycle Route 8 signs
Turn Right at T Junction (NCR 8)
Turn Right on to pavement cycle path at A487
Continue under arch on to Cob cycle path
Fork 1st Right at Porthmadog (after petrol station) (NCR 8) and immediately keep right on to one-way street and keep Left of car park (NCR 8)
Turn Right (but not sharp Right) at multiple road junction following NCR 8 sign
Turn Right at main road and cross railway line
Turn 1st Left after Queen's Hotel (NCR 8) and continue along cycle path keeping Right at fork
Turn Left at A487
Turn 1st Right after Penmorfa village and return to start layby
Abergafren Lodge offers de luxe rental accommodation near Port Meirion & Penrhyndeudraeth
Photos of the ride
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