Thursday, 6 April 2017
The Radnor Ring is a cycle route 95 miles long set in deepest rural Wales. It winds its way along tiny roads through a landscape of sheep hill farms, open moorland, varied woodlands, high hills and deep valleys. The population is sparce containing a few small market towns and occasional hamlets.
The route is challenging but the effort is rewarded with spectacular views, plenty of bird song and on my visit over the previous few days an almost continuous baaing from thousands from what seemed happy sheep.
I took my trusty touring bike and it was the right bike for the ride. Mostly it was on tarmac but there was one off-road stretch beside the River Wye which must not be missed.
I recommend the start should be at Knighton on the Heart of Wales railway line and cycle clockwise towards Presteigne. The first mile leaving town involves a steep climb and gives a taste of things to come. At the top, the next 2 miles are reasonably flat as you cycle along a ridge. This short stretch looks out to give incredible views in a 360 degree circle. Behind you are the Shropshire Hills while in front are the Black Mountains, to the right the Cambrian Mountains come into view and to the left another range of hills. When you have taken all this in, a steep downhill plunges you into Presteigne where coffee shops await you.
This is one link that gives the route. It is well waymarked on the National Cycle Network, being mostly NCN825 except where it joins Lon Las Cymru where it is signed NCN8. There is accommodation in the market towns but don't rely on finding shops, pubs or B+B's in between. The main towns are Knighton, Presteigne, Kington, Llandrindod Wells and Rhayader
These are a few images
I was accompanied for part of the journey by my friend for a long time, Jaana. We started at Leominster and cycled along lanes in Herefordshire which were equally picturesque in a different landscape as this image
I mentioned plenty of sheep
I also mentioned the Heart of Wales Railway Line. This station is 5 miles from a town.
For another opinion of this route, you should check this link. My total journey was 156 miles including some side trips. My overnight stops were at Presteigne, Newbridge on Wye, Rhayader and Wigmore.