Buy the OS Route Map and instructions for this route

The remote hills of Mid-Wales conceal a fair bit of top-notch riding, but most of the tyre tracks get put down in the heart of the region — particularly around the Elan Valley reservoirs — while few folk trek further east, towards the Marches, where there’s even more good stuff to discover. This loop is a prime example: starting a few miles east of Builth Wells and venturing within a few kilometres of the English/Welsh border near Gladestry. The mountains lack the dramatic escarpments and rocky summits of the ranges to the north, south and west, but they more than make up for this with remote ridge tops and an excellent network of tracks and trails.
The climbing in this ride comes in four sections: the first, from the start, utilises good surfaces and is completely rideable. The biggie comes next, from the banks of the Afon Edw to the top of Llandeilo Hill — over 300 gruelling metres. And it’s technical too; this will only be cleaned by a few. A shorter but equally tough pull gains the heather-covered top of Allt Dderw, and then a long but easy-angled marathon climbs from Glasgwm up to the Giant’s Grave. This final one should be do-able too, but it’s late in the ride and you’ll have come a long way by now.
The descents are a mixed bag, with the grin factor dependent upon surfaces. The most fun is the first one to the Cwmblaenerw Brook, which offers a couple of great little switchbacks before the splash through the brook itself. There are a few techie sections on the way down to the Edw Valley, but a lot of it is on easy grass too. The final drop is the biggest continual descent — over 200m in total. The opening stages are on grass, this gives way to a full-speed gravel track that finally submits to tarmac.
If you’ve enjoyed a first foray into this seldom-ridden corner of Mid-Wales, it’s the kind of route that would work in either direction, so check it out in reverse too.