Difficulty: Moderate (For Experienced Riders)
Distance: 21 Miles or more
Maps: OS Explorer 255
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This mountain bike route of 23.5 miles starts in Glyn Ceiriog, in North Wales, and travels through the hills to the south side of the Ceiriog Valley. Stunning scenery and great riding make this loop well worth it. There is lots of great descending on this route but make sure you take your climbing legs as there are plenty of long steep climbs.
1. Start from the car park by the community centre in Glyn Ceiriog (GR204379). Turn right out of the car park and follow the main road to the roundabout in the centre of the village. Take the second exit, ahead and slightly left, to go past the front of the Glyn Valley Hotel, then the public toilets on the left, to follow the B4500 towards Pandy.
2. Take the second lane on the right, sign posted 'Nantyr 3' (GR201374). Climb out of the village, then after a while follow the lane through a right hand hairpin. Continue climbing the lane ahead for about two miles, first going past a lane on the left, then straight on at the four way junction. At the top of the climb the lane comes to a four way junction by a house, with a lane on the right and a muddy track on the left, sign posted as the Ceiriog Trail bridleway (GR184371).
3. Turn left and descend the muddy, rocky and rutted track. After going though a couple of bends the track drops down a steep rocky section before coming to a junction with a lane. Go straight on to the next junction a short distance later (GR185367). Turn left to continue along the Ceiriog Trail. Follow the level double track through a few bends between the hedges. The track soon becomes rutted. Soon after the trail steepens, where the ruts give way to loose rocks and running water. Halfway down the descent, directly after a gate, bear left through the stream. Directly after the stream turn right and follow the track as it descends through the woods, bearing left. This fast section of the descent gets rockier the lower it gets, before finishing at a junction with a lane at the bottom (GR191362).
4. Go straight ahead and and follow the lane down to a junction in the bottom of the valley, in the middle of Pandy (GR195359). Turn right and follow the lane out of Pandy. About 1/3mile after leaving Pandy, at the junction directly after Erw Gerrig cottages on the right and the bus stop, take the lane on the left (GR195354). Descend the lane, then bear left over the bridge at the bottom. At the junction at the house directly after take the left hand fork. Go past the footpath on the left and climb the lane to a gate on a right hand bend at the houses. Go through the gate and climb the broken tarmac to a gate at the woods. Go over the cattle grid on the left of the gate on to the forest track, then at the junction directly after take the right hand track (GR199349). At the following forked junction go left, then at the next junction go straight on to keep climbing. Continue climbing straight on, with the valley on the right and the trees on the left. Near the head of the valley go across a stream, just before the climb kicks up steeply. Bear left on the track and follow the stream to a gate near the top of the hill. Go through the gate and climb to a junction (GR211344).
5. Turn right and climb the hardpack track, which soon flattens off, to a gate. Go through the gate, into the field, and follow the ruts to the next gate in the opposite corner of the field (GR204338). Go through the gate and follow the double track through a left hand bend to the next gate. After the gate descend the wide, rocky track. Go straight on at a junction with a trail on the left then directly after follow the track 90deg right and descend to a gate at a farm. After the gate descend to a three way lane junction. Go straight on for a short distance to a junction with a track on the left just before the next gate straight on (GR189335).
6. Follow the double track down through a long right hand bend to a farm. Go through the farm, where the track turns into a tarmac lane, and descend to a crossroad at the bottom (GR177335). Go straight across the crossroad and take the track that climbs through the gate to the right of the farm. After the gate climb the steep lane to the next junction and bear right to climb the rutted track between the hedges. At the top of this section continue straight on along the main trail. The track soon bears left before coming to a gate at a junction with a lane (GR171327). Go through the gate on the opposite side of the lane and climb the rutted track. At the junction near the top go straight on. Go through the gate at the top of the hill then descend the big, muddy ruts. While it can be quite wet and muddy here it’s usually rideable even in the worst conditions. After the next gate the track eventually comes to a flat open section, follow the ruts 90deg right and drop into the deep gully on the right (GR174314).
7. Descend down the left hand side of the gully on the steep track that soon becomes off camber slate bedrock with ruts, drops and loose rocks. It’s great fun but can be quite tricky when wet. Go through the gate at the bottom and bear right through the stream crossing. If it’s been wet the whole area can be covered in water. After the stream bear left on the track as it goes around the right hand side of the sheep pens. The track then straightens out for a flat section of double track. Go past the farms on the left then up a short climb to a junction, just above the last farm building. Go straight on through the (bodged together) gate and descend a short way to a junction with a lane (GR178299).
8. Turn left on the road and descend past the farm entrance on the left to a bridleway through a gate above on the right not long after (GR178300). Don’t go too fast on the descent as the track is easy to miss. If you cross the stream at the bottom of the valley you have gone too far. After the gate bear right and push up through the two fields, keeping tight to the fence on the right. At the top of the second field go through the gate and turn left. Follow the double track as it climbs across the side of the hill, keeping to the fence on the left. After a while the track goes through two gates set close together and comes to field with a small stand of trees straight ahead. Go to the right of the trees and follow the fence, keeping it on the left. Climb through the bottom of the fields to a forked grassy junction, just after a gate near the top of the hill (GR193297).
9. Bear left and descend the fast, grassy double track. The track bears left through a gate, at a sheepfold, before bearing right for a fast rutted double track descent to a farm. Go straight on past the farm and descend to a junction with a lane (GR209302). Turn left and descend the lane to a crossroad junction, then go straight on. Climb a short way to the next junction and turn right (GR207308). Follow the lane to the junction at the other end and turn right. A short distance later go past a track on the left then climb the lane up the left hand side of the valley. Just before the lane turns left go sharp left up the sign posted bridleway (GR219318).
10. Climb the track up to the next junction then turn right to a gate. Go through the gate and climb into the trees. On the other side of the trees go through a gate and continue climbing on the grassy double track. Just above the farm buildings on the right go past some tracks on the left then go through a gate and descend a short way to a junction by the dam (GR221320). Turn left and follow the track up the left hand side of the small reservoir. At the junction at the far end of the reservoir go straight on past the bridge then climb the wide track through a right then left hand bend. At the following junctions go straight ahead to stay on the double track. The track eventually drops right into a dip then climbs left through a gate. After the gate continue straight on, following the double track through a field. After a short descent to a stream crossing go straight on through the water and climb the rutted track straight on. Continue straight on through the gates along the rutted track for a while. Eventually the track descends over a small section of bedrock before coming to a junction. Take the right hand track and descend to the previously visited junction (GR196333).
11. Turn right and climb the double track to the top of the hill. Go through the gate at the top then follow the track through a right hand bend to the next gate in the bottom right hand corner of a field. After the gate go straight on and climb through the field keeping to the fence on the right. Go straight on over the crest, past the bridleway sign pointing right, and head towards the corner of the woods directly ahead. Go through the gate at the woods then follow the wide grassy trail along the right hand edge of the field, towards the rusty barn (old hanger). Go past the right hand side of the barn then descend, bearing left, to the junction at the bottom. Turn left and go through the dip then climb a short way to the gated junction at the road by the farm (GR224340).
12. Turn left, then immediately turn right through a gate and climb the double track. Follow this trail as it bears left to a gate at the top. After the gate follow the track as it bears right to a junction with a lane at the top in Caemor Wood (GR219352). Turn left and follow the lane to a T-junction. Turn right and descend the lane Descend the lane and go past a junction with the entrance to a farm on the left. A short distance later, at the next junction, follow the sign posted bridleway through the gate (GR204359).
13. Follow the muddy double track straight on through the field all the way to where it ends at a junction with a lane on the left. Go straight on and follow the lane to a house (GR213364). At the start of the buildings is a fence with a small gate on the right. Go through this gate and ride straight on through the field keeping just to the right of the gully between the trees. This leads down the left hand side of the field to a gate. Go through the gate for some rocky singletrack that ends at a junction with a lane (GR216365). turn left then immediately right in the farm to descend through a small grassy area. At the bottom of the grass take the track on the left and continue down hill on more rocky singletrack. At the junction with the next lane go straight across and descend the final section of singletrack to a junctiuon with a lane at the bottom (GR220367).
14. Turn right and descend the lane to a staggered junction at the houses (GR221367). Go past the first lane on the right then descend the lane on the left directly after to the next junction in Dolywern. Turn left and follow the road to a junction with the main road (GR220372). Turn left and follow the main road for about 1 mile back to Glyn Cieriog. Stay on the main road and follow it through the village to the Community Centre, on the right, to complete the ride.