Welsh cycling isn’t all mountain biking. We also have hundreds of miles of wonderful traffic-free and low-traffic routes thanks to the National Cycle Network. Many of the routes also connect with holiday areas, country parks and historic attractions, allowing you to combine your traffic-free bike ride with a Welsh sightseeing experience. You won’t always need a bike – hire is plentiful – just a free hour or two. Saddle up, easy riders.
Mawddach Trail, Snowdonia, North Wales
The Mawddach Trail is a spectacular route from historic Dolgellau to the beach at Barmouth. On either side are the foothills of Cader Idris and the gorgeous Mawddach Estuary. Birdlife twitters in RSPB reserves. The estuary winks in the sun. All is well with the world.
19 miles return
Refreshments in Penmaenpool and Barmouth
Lôn Eifion Cycleway, Caernarfon, North Wales
Saddle up for a picture-book ride on the Lôn Eifion Cycleway through North Wales. There’s Caernarfon Castle and steam trains on the Welsh Highland Railway, then views of Snowdonia’s peaks and Caernarfon Bay, and pretty villages and crafts at the Inigo Jones Slateworks in Groeslon. Normally that’s a holiday. Here it’s one morning.
24 miles return
Tarmac or gravel, traffic-free
Café in Slateworks
Bike hire: Beics Antur Bikes, Caernarfon
Elan Valley Trail, Mid Wales
Four reservoirs pooled in the hills, a smooth trail looping along the banks and buzzards overhead. The Elan Valley Trail is an ideal introduction to off-road cycling that’s like the great outdoors only without the mud. And with a handy café in the Elan Valley Visitor Centre.
18 miles return
Tarmac or gravel, largely traffic-free
Café in Elan Valley Visitor Centre
Bike hire: Builth Wells Cycles
Port Talbot to Afan Forest Park, West Wales
The stunning Port Talbot to Afan Forest Park route winds through the wildlife-rich Afan Forest, taking in some great artwork, including the Afan Valley Portrait Bench featuring three local icons. Your final destination is the Afan Forest Park Visitor Centre where you can visit the South Wales Miners' Museum; enjoy world-class mountain biking trails, or grab a drink and soak up the panoramic views.
12 miles return
Refreshments in Afan Forest Park Visitor Centre
Millennium Park, Llanelli, West Wales
The last car you’ll see is the one you leave at the Discovery Centre in Llanelli. The superb Millennium Coastal Path from Llanelli to Pembrey hugs the coast, providing views of sea and hills. There’s wildlife too: nature in reserves and flamingos in the Llanelli Wetland Centre.
14 miles return
Refreshments at each end
Cardiff to Castell Coch, South Wales
Peregrine Path, Monmouth, South Wales
The Peregrine Path zig-zags across the Welsh-English border along the River Wye. There are canoes all the way from Hay-on-Wye to Monmouth and castles at Skenfrith and Monmouth. Pack a picnic for The Kymin then go and see The Shire Hall and you have a one-day mini-adventure straight from a children’s storybook. Ace.
10 to 16 miles return
Tarmac, largely traffic-free