Distance: 28.5km plus diversion over Pumlumon.
Grade: challenging, mostly on minor roads and good tracks, well waymarked, but a long day.
Transport links: There are buses between Ponterwyd and Aberystwyth, and a regular coach service from London Victoria. Machynlleth is on the Cambrian railway line and has bus links to Bangor, Aberystwyth and Newtown as well as local services.
See http://www.traveline.cymru for details.
Leave Ponterwyd by the old bridge (about a hundred yards up stream from the modern one) and bear left up the road to the Nant-y-moch reservoir. This is the old route to the north, marked by a series of Bronze Age burial mounds and standing stones. You are on the line of one of George Borrow's most famous walks though mid-Wales. At SN 75260 82180 you pass Aberceirw, birthplace of the great Welsh scholar Sir John Rhys (more on this at http://www.coflein.gov.uk/en/site/309472/details/ABER-CEIRO,+FARMHOUSE/)
At SN 75377 83770 a footpath is marked to the right to climb Pumlumon but it is difficult to find on the ground. Most walkers take the stony forest road from SN 75828 84791 up and into the forest. The old green road is marked on the map running right at the forest entrance and turning left through the trees, but it is difficult to find on the ground. See the link below for more on the mountain and the routes over it.
The road past the Nant-y-moch leads to an off-road option for National Cycle Route 8 (Lon Las Cymru). The section after the end of the road is one of the most challenging sections of the cycleway. It goe across rough moorland and down steep inclines, is unsigned, and is only suitable for mountain bikes, and for very fit and experienced riders. It's certainly not recommended for laden touring bikes, and definitely not for pushchairs or wheelchairs. However, it is a part of the Cistercian Way possible for cycling - or indeed for horse riding.
After about 8.5 km the metalled road becomes a track. This leads to a ford at SN 78316 89167, but there is a footbridge about 150 yards upstream. To the left of the track, just across the Afon Hyddgen, are two standing stones. One may be natural but the other, a white slab, is said to have been set up by the Welsh to mark the first victory in Owain Glyndwr’s campaign for independence.
Return to the track and continue towards Hyddgen Farm.
At SN 78256 91063 the track divides. The cycleway goes straight on through the forest then up a steep climb to the ridge, but walkers can turn left and skirt along the bridle path round the forest and rejoin the cycle track for the traverse of Creigiau Bwlch Hyddgen and Rhiw Goch.
Keep to the farm track through the complicated sheep pens at Hyddgen (SN 77970 90890) and go straight up the worn path ahead of you.
At SN 77721 90929 and SN 77253 90934 bear to the right round Bryn Moel. At SN 76778 91601 the bridle path zigzags to the left then turns right at SN 76633 91501. The track keeps straight on, climbing steeply to the fence and a gate.
At SN 76753 91849 go through the gate and follow the track towards the corner of the forest. The cycleway rejoins at SN 76836 92177. Bear slightly away from the forest edge and continue north between two round hillocks and along the ridge. The views here are spectacular - plunging, wooded valleys and precipitous cliffs.
At SN 76458 93804 a track joins from the left. Keep to the right, above the crags.
At SN 77056 94744 enter the forest and walk down a very steep and slippery slope. The rock strata are vertical here and run parallel with the line of the track, so you are walking down the ribs of the mountain.
At SN 77143 95204 the Glyndwr Way joins from the right. Keep to the left and continue downhill to the western edge of the forest.
At SN 76673 95579 several tracks meet. Follow the Glyndwr Way waymarks along the forest edge and up the spur. Here the cycleway turns right and folows a track down to the minor road to Forge.
At SN 75168 97644 turn right, still following the Glyndwr Way.
At SN 75401 97724 take the waymarked path to the left. Follow it up hill and through the trees above Llyn Glanmerin.
At SN 75696 99426 leave the trees. Here you meet another track. Keep straight on following Glyndwr Way waymarks. The track winds its way over the moors. At SN 73958 99799, just after Brynglas farm, turn right on a minor road. At SH 74003 00036 take the waymarked lane to the right.
At SH 74331 00444 you can join the main road into Machynlleth or bear right and continue on the lane round the back of the buildings.
|Ponterwyd and Pumlumon to Machynlleth|