Day 4

A tough but memorable day in the saddle. Much of it will be spent on bridleways linked together by longish sections on quiet back roads, tracking and traversing lush green valleys.

Terrain 53% off-road, 43% on small, unclassified roads or green lanes
Estimated ride time Eight hours
Lowest point 70m
Highest point 530m
Total ascent 2,500m

There is some early climbing out of Llangollen: it’s unavoidable heading south, but we do loop you up a hill that is eminently rideable. It’s loose in places so you’ll have fun finding some grip. As you gain elevation the views over your right shoulder back towards Llangollen are rich reward. North of Pengwern Vale the fields trace the contours of the land and with the curving stone walls the overall effect is of a huge lush green dartboard.

For the most part, Day Four’s bridleways are firm and gravelly, with a few big slabs of rock in places. It will be possible to make decent progress despite rolling terrain. The high point of the day (close to the 608m peak of Glan-hafon) is reached after 40 kilometres where you’ll find a mixture of stone tracks and grassland set among pasture and open moor, but there remains some tough terrain (boggy in winter but faster rolling in summer) between Llangynog and Llanwddyn.

The climb away from Llangynog uses the family-run Revolution Bike Park uplift track. They pack a lot of trails into their patch of woodland so it’s definitely worth a return visit. Try not to become disillusioned when you get passed by some DH riders being driven to the top of the hill in a Land Rover; dig deep knowing you’re en route to Lake Vyrnwy and one of the highlights of Day Four.

Lake Vyrnwy is situated on the eastern edge of Snowdonia National Park, nestled to the south of the Berwyn mountain range with its spectacular waterfalls and unspoilt, open countryside. The approach to Lake Vyrnwy is a glorious one, particularly the final couple of kilometres which includes a steep winding grass descent down to the Lake Vyrnwy Hotel and the lake itself. If the sun is out and glinting on the distant water, you’ll enjoy one of the finest views of the week.

The latter part of the stage flattens out. With a mixture of forest tracks, small roads, bridleways and grassy fields the climbs become shorter and punchier. You’ll follow bits of Glyndwr’s Way and in this farming country are likely to encounter some of the biggest and deepest ruts you’ve ever seen. During our recce rides some of these ruts actually resembled ravines so keep your head up and choose your lines carefully.