The Trans-Cambrian Way

by Mike Smith


For those who might be interested in a bit of off-road riding I’ve recently ridden the Trans-Cambrian Way and would thoroughly recommend it.

Starting in Knighton, Powys the route is about 110 miles with 11/12k ft of climbing. The route is mostly off road with some tarmac “links” between. I would recommend it as a 3 day ride as the terrain is slow going and towns en-route lend it to being a good 3 days (35/42/33miles).

Day 1- Knighton to Rhayader (35miles, 4,000ft). This was a difficult first day with lots of hike-a-bike sections over steep grass inclines. Super rewarding as we climbed high and rode deeper into the REALLY hilly middle bit of Wales.

Day 2- Rhayader to Llangurig (42miles, 5,000ft). A big day of generally going up and down, up and down. The route was really varied and had a bit of everything from challenging climbs, technical descents and fast and flowing fire roads.

Day 3- Llangurig to Machynlleth (33miles, 3,500ft). A final day that looked easy on the map. It wasn’t. It climbed high again and stayed high for quite a while over tough terrain before descending 1,000ft on steep, loose slate (the only time I really thought the “gravel” bike was out of its depth!)

I rode the whole ride (including the 115miles to get there) on the gravel bike shod with 43mm Panaracer GravelKing tyres. We were carrying all our own gear but had decided to B&B it rather than camp. If I was just riding the route then a MTB would have been the slightly better option but I didn’t feel that out of my depth – just slower on the descents.

If you get the chance, do it. You’ll love it.