A route that takes in one of Wales' highest roads
Total Distance: 67km/41 miles
Total Elevation: 1150m/3775ft
Difficulty Rating: 6/10
Estimated Time: 3 to 5hrs
Route map for Black Mountain - Llandovery (M4) by Discover Carmarthenshire on plotaroute.com
From Llandovery Car Park exit onto the A40 and almost immediately turn left onto the A4069 signposted Llangadog. Follow to Llangadog, then turn left signposted Brynamman within the centre of the village. Follow the road over the Black Mountain to Brynamman and at the mini-roundabout turn right. Follow to a T-junction at Gwaun Cae Gurwen and turn right.
Follow for 3.5km to the village of Glanamman, turn right onto Ffordd Y Nant road, signposted the Council Offices. Continue on the road and climb up onto Mountain Road. After the summit, continue to follow to a t-junction and turn right, then pass through a small village and continue for 4.5km entering the village of Derwedd. As you enter the village and before the T-junction, turn right onto a minor road. Follow up a short hill and then down to a t-junction in Ffairfach. At the t-junction turn right, follow to the mini-roundabout and turn right.
Follow the minor road through Bethlehem and to the edge of Llangadog. At the t-junction shortly after a river crossing, turn left into Llangadog village and at the t-junction in the village centre turn right. Follow for 100 metres, then turn right and onto a minor road. After 5km the road bends 90 degrees to the right with a junction and a road going straight ahead and uphill. Take this road, follow up the hill and down to a t-junction where you turn right. Follow back to Llandovery.
If a quiet ride passing through a hidden gem within Wales is your idea of a perfect ride then this ride heading up the Towy and into the Cothi valley will be a ride you will remember for a long time.
Llandovery is a town where rivers play a huge part with no fewer than 4 rivers that pass through the town. The biggest of them is the River Towy, which is one of the longest rivers in Wales and the longest that stays entirely within Wales with the source within the Cambrian Mountains to the North and entering the sea at Llansteffan.
After leaving Llandovery the route follows the path of the river upstream with views of the rapids that flow, deep channels in the rock and fantastic bridges that are dotted throughout. It is a pleasant and gentle ride through Cilycwm and up to Towy Bridge, the point at which the ride begins to change and where it leaves the Towy and heads into wilder landscapes.
The road climbs gradually and while it never reaches lofty heights, the type of road and quietness makes it feel higher and wilder. From the highest point of the route it starts to follow the River Cothi, a much smaller river that eventually flows into the Towy near Carmarthen and the valley that holds views throughout the journey downstream. As the road flows downhill, crossing the river on a few occasions and through ancient woodlands it passes Dolaucothi, a national trust site where a former Gold Mine that dates back over 2000 years to the era of the Romans. It is a great family friendly location to visit with caves to explore and gold that can be found.
From Dolaucothi, near Pumsaint the route rejoins wider roads for a short section and one major climb before pealing off soon after the descent starts back onto quieter roads. Passing through the village of Porthyrhyd marks a point at which the road starts to point downhill and is almost all the way back to Llandovery. A twisting, rolling descent that starts with views over to the Brecon Beacons, through small woodlands and finishes by crossing the River Towy once again with just the final mile back to Llandovery to follow. A fantastic ride for those that love exploring the wilderness.
Black Mountain – A long, stunning climb that every cyclist could enjoy
Mountain Road climb – From the town of Glanamman up for 2km @ 7% is a challenge
Bethlehem – Popular at Christmas where the former post office still stamps cards, it is also a short but steep climb featured in many pro races
Llangadog – Post Office & Village shop
Llangadog – Mace village shop
Brynamman – The Black Mountain Centre and Cafe (on mini-roundabout)
Llandovery – Penygawse Tea Rooms
Llandovery – Craft Centre Cafe
Llandovery – West End Cafe
County Cycles – Bike shop, Cross Hands