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Cycle Ride from


This very varied ride encircles Cadair Idris. After climbing high on the flanks of the mountain, partly via 4 miles of rough track, part of which is very steep, you descend into the lovely and peaceful Dysynni valley and return past Tal-y-llyn lake. Unavoidably there is then a 2 mile climb on the A487, though the final section is along an attractive cycleway and country lane.

Photos of the ride

Route: Dolgellau - Cregennen Lakes - Dysynni Valley - Abergynolwyn - Tal-y-llyn Lake - Dolgellau

Distance: 30 miles (32 miles including detours to lakes and castle)

Ascent: 1,200 metres (4,000 ft). There is a lot of climbing in the first and last parts of the ride but one is rewarded with marvellous views. It may well be necessary to walk the last quarter of a mile of the main ascent since it is both steep and on an unmade track.

Start: the long stay car park (2) at Dolgellau: OS map 124 Porthmadog and Dolgellau, map ref: 727178. (Turn Right immediately after the bridge leading to the town and go past or through the expensive short stay car park and along a short lane to reach the long stay park near the cricket ground.)

Sketch map of route of circular cycle ride from Dolgellau

The Ride

Turn Right out of long stay car park and travel short distance along minor road

Turn Right at main road into town 

Turn Right at T Junction and follow the Barmouth (A493) signs

Near outskirts of town Fork Left signposted Cader Idris & Nat. Cycle Rte. 8 and start the long ascent - the views become steadily more and more impressive

After 6 miles Turn Right if you want to visit the beautiful Cregennen lakes ( mile) and then return to junction and Turn Right

Fork Left after mile on to a poorly surfaced track which climbs, sometimes steeply, for 2 miles. A further 2 miles after the highest point the track becomes a tarmacadammed lane again and descends into the Dysynni Valley

Turn Left to head up the Valley

Turn Left less than mile after crossing the river

Turn Right at a slightly staggered crossroads (To visit the romantic ruin of Castell y Bere castle continue straight ahead at the crossroads for mile and then return to the crossroads and Turn Left)

Turn Left at the B4405 in the village of Abergynolwyn

After 3 miles the lovely Tal-y-llyn lake is reached. It is possible to turn left at the hotel and go along the traffic free lane on the very edge of the left-hand side of the lake and and then rejoin the B road. But be warned: there are an unusually large number of gates. The B road is not usually very busy and does have fine views.

Turn Left at the A487 and shortly start the long uphill slog. Though unrelentingly uphill the gradient is never steeper than moderate and is sometimes fairly gentle.

Turn Left after 2 miles on to National Cycle Route 8 cycleway.

Turn Left after 2 miles when the cycleway reaches a lane which takes you back to Dolgellau

Points of Interest

Dolgellau is an attractive stone-built town, towered over by Cadair Idris

Cregennen Lakes: high and remote these National Trust lakes are very well worth the short half mile detour in order to savour their beautiful situation, especially that of the second one.

The Dysynni Valley is justly famed for its tranquillity and its lush beauty makes a sharp contrast with the earlier mountain and moorland terrain. Though surrounded by mountains the valley makes for easy cycling: there are even benches and picnic tables with ornamental cycle stands.

Craig-yr-Aderyn or Birds' Rock rises dramatically from the valley floor like a smaller version of Tryfan. In the geological past, when the valley was under the sea, it was a favourite nesting place of cormorants. The cormorants don't seem to have noticed that the sea has long since retreated and so they still nest here, the furthest point inland in the UK where cormorants do nest.

Castell-y-Bere is a ruined castle, originally built by Llywelyn the Great in 1120. On a totally unspoilt little promontory overlooking the valley and itself overtopped by Cadair Idris, it has an almost uniquely special and romantic character. If time permits is well worth the half mile detour and five minute walk to visit it. To visit a site with superb photos of, and information about, Castell-y-Bere click here.

Abergynolwyn is a tranquil village surrounded by attractive hills and woods and is the terminus of the popular Tal-y-llyn railway.

Tal-y-llyn Lake is regarded by some as the most beautiful in Wales.

Photos of the ride

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