Rides & Routes


Cycle Life


1887 Sketchbook

New pages



Site Map


 Penllyn Forest Off-Road Ride

Contributed by

Dave Hill

This route was devised for the Welsh Festival of Cycling as a half day off road route. It is suitable for most touring bikes which will need to be carried at 2 or 3 points but really is best for mountain bikes, though suspension is not essential.

The route finding after leaving tarmac is a little difficult, as the path is not well used or clear on the ground. But if you follow the directions, should be able to find your way. Getting over the ladder style is not easy either!

Distance: 18km; approximate time 3-4 hours.

Start: Car Park near Bala Lake: OS Sheet No 125 Bala & Lake Vyrnwy grid ref: 928353

Right at exit from car park

Right at T-junction on to B4391 for 200m.

After river bridge, keep left on B4391

Pass caravan site entrance and its bridleway sign, then Right turn on to Bridleway with woods on Left.

Pass above caravan site to gate straight ahead. Contour to track at back of hotel buildings.

Forward  and then descend to main road using hotel driveway.

Left on to B4404 for 500m.

2nd Left on road signposted No Through Road.

Climb gently for 100m then steeply past Bryn Golau. Shortly after the road swings back towards Bala and flattens out, still climbing, make half right to a ladder stile about halfway up the hillside. The bridleway lies over this stile, running due south. Climb stile and continue, climbing slightly on sheep track through nick in hills. Bikes must be lifted over second gate, contouring. Fine views over Arenig Fawr to west.

In 1km, track turns sharply uphill alongside a boggy watercourse. HEAD Straight on TROUGH TALL BRACKEN on an indistinct path for 10m to cross fence at broken style. Here, the track disappears. Cross the burn and find the driest route ahead for 30 m then half left to the very weakly defined contouring path across the hillside ahead and 20 metres or so higher than the stream crossing. Bikes will have to be carried over tussock grass to gain a fairly indistinct track.

Continue on contour on sheep tracks for 700m making for a gap in the line of trees ahead, slightly to the Left of a craggy outcrop.

Pass through the bridleway gate into the forest.

Keep ahead, descending sharply at one point, follow major track, pass some ruins to right, eventually to proceed via a gate and on to a grassy area. Drop down track to the right to a crossing of major, jeep tracks by forestry clearing.

Left on forestry track.

Right in 200m on single-track, fairly steeply climbing, heading for farmhouse, Maes-Meillion, in front of trees ahead.

Pass to the Left of the farmhouse between it and the outbuildings, making for the forest margin to the left.

Turn Left at forest fire break bridleway, climbing very steeply and muddily for 200m. Descend with caution alongside the fence to gate, onto stony track.

Right and descend, keeping to the stony track looping round to farmhouse below at Rhyd-wen. CAUTION: Gates, loose dogs and cattle grids.

Descend Nant Rhyd Wen, CAUTION: Gates

Keep Left at fork from Right to continue fast descent.

Right at B4403, Llangower, to B4391 in 3km

Left and Left to car park

Lake Bala (Llyn Tegid)