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  • Writer's pictureMike Raine

The Welsh 550, Cylchdaith Cymru

Updated: Aug 13, 2023

The Welsh 550, Cylchdaith Cymru

Wales has long been known as a World class mountain biking destination. Today most visitors head to the many brilliant and varied trail centres, but before the trail centres grew Wales was still the place to go. Its natural bridleways and byways criss-cross the varied landscape from north to the south and east to the west.

This Cylchdaith Cymru round Wales Mountain biking journey, the Welsh 550 (miles) is a celebration, not only of how good the mountain biking is here but also of the diversity of the landscapes, the settlements and trails across this amazing bite sized country.

We do visit some trial centres for good measure, we wheel along new and old cycleways, we cross ancient bridleways and we traverse on by-ways that have escaped being tarmacked. Even when we do use tarmac it is always deserted, quiet, hedge lined country lanes.

You pass through settlements ancient and new. There are standing stones from the Bronze age, a Roman amphitheatre, there are medieval market settlement and industrial revolution mining and quarrying villages. Here are stark new industrial developments alongside the remnants of deindustrialisation. New roads will soar overhead whilst we truck along old ways below.

It's quiet, apart from the coastal bits in the north and south, you’ll see few people. Services are sparce as you pass through mid-Wales and you’ll need to plan ahead for lunches, think carefully about overnight stops and put in a few long days.

You will end up pushing your bike at times, you will float along disused railways lines and canal towpaths, you’ll grind up some long and steep hills, but you will be constantly be rewarded with lovely, lovely tracks and some excellent downhill sections.

The Welsh 550 true is journey through history. History of mountain bike travel, history of a people. a place and a landscape. It is, quite simply one of the greatest long distance mountain bike routes in the world.

Help yourself to the GPX files and some notes on the route below.


Mike Raine

W550 1
Download GPX • 520KB

W550 2
Download GPX • 534KB

W550 3
Download GPX • 317KB

Welsh 550 route notes
Download PDF • 2.09MB

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