One of the flatter and faster rolling days of the Wales360, with a mere 1,800m of ascent. Day Five has lots of great off-road riding without being too gruelling.
Terrain 69% off-road, 17% on small, unclassified roads or green lanes
Estimated ride time Seven-and-a-half hours
Lowest point 70m
Highest point 500m
Total ascent 1,800m
The first 17 kilometres are on picturesque towpath along the Montgomery Canal and the River Severn down to the small perfectly formed iron bridge at Abermule. A mix of farm roads and bridleway will get you past Sarn after 25 kilometres, where you’ll climb up onto the gravel roads of Ceri Forest, a coniferous forest which sits astride the midpoint of the Kerry Ridgeway path.
The Wales360 traces the Kerry Ridgeway path east, traversing Kerry Hill en route to Cider House. The route follows the ridgetop for around 10 kilometres, overlooking Wales on the one side and England on the other. It never dips below 450m above sea level, resulting in remarkable views in all directions – over 100 kilometres on a clear day. Last used regularly by cattle and sheep drovers some 150 years ago, the ancient highway undulates gently throughout as it forges a track through airy heather moors, cool woodlands and bilberry-rich heaths.
From Cider House it is a quick run down to Llanbadarn Ffynydd to join Glyndwrs Way via a river crossing and short steep rocky climbing. Across the hill tops of Moel Dod and Yr Allt you follow grassy trail with views of Radnor Forest and the Black Mountains. After a short descent into Bwlch you climb toward the highest point of the ridge at Ysgwd-ffordd (440m), where you take a sharp and steep descent through the woods. This is a part of the route that is guaranteed to bring a smile to your face.
You are now heading for the forest above Abbeycwmhir, where the terrain takes on a different shape, with gradual climbing on fire roads and local enduro trails that throw you down the hillside along rollers, jumps and drops. Bear left and a long gradual climb takes you through the Sarnau Forest and past Cwmysgawen Common. It’s now a gradual descent along lanes for seven kilometres passing through the village of St. Harmon (one of Wales’ wettest villages!) and an opportunity to save some energy for what comes next.
Crossing the main A470 trunk road and over the River Wye, you will climb up toward Nannerth-fawr. This is where the work really starts for the day and your legs are already screaming after 75 kilometres of riding. You climb westward up a grassy shoulder high above the Wye Valley, with a stunning view south of the river and of the road winding its way toward Rhayader. Once at the top, you descend down through grass and a short stream crossing before once again climbing through tussocks for the Elan valley Mountain road. You’re nearly there!
Time to have some fun on your way into the finish. From the top, it’s a fast and flowing descent (just one bump to climb in the middle) down the old monks trail from Strata Florida to Abbeycwmhir, and locally known as the Links Descent. Firm rocky trail with very few turns will have you hurtling into the finish at Rhayader, and a well-earned rest after a long day in the saddle.