Towy & Cothi Valley
Quiet lanes and a tour along two of the most beautiful river valleys in Wales
Total Distance: 45km/28 miles
Total Elevation: 720m/2360ft
Difficulty Rating: 5/10
Estimated Time: 2.5 to 3.5hrs
From Llandovery Car Park exit onto the A40 and follow for a 300 metres, then turn right (before the level crossing) onto the A483, signposted Builth Wells. Follow for 400 metres, then turn left signposted Rhandirmwyn & Llyn Brianne Reservoir.
Follow for 4km, turning left over a stone bridge signposted Cilycwm. Follow through Cilycwm and continue for follow for a total of 23km past the Towy Bridge Inn and onwards down the Cothi valley through Cwrt y Cadno and to a t-junction near the village of Pumpsaint.
Turn left onto the A482 and follow for just under 6km. As the road rolls gradually downhill, turn left signposted Porthyrhyd and follow through the village and on through Siloh. Shortly after the road drops downhill sharply, continue to follow until it flattens and follow signs 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.
Cothi Valley – A narrow, sinew of tarmac that winds down the valley
Cilycwm to Towy Bridge – A wider valley but equally nice on a well surfaced road throughout
Porthyrhyd to Llandovery – After lots of hard work early on the final section is one to enjoy
Rhandirmwyn – Towy Bridge Inn
Llandovery – Penygawse Tea Rooms
Llandovery – Craft Centre Cafe
Llandovery – West End Cafe
County Cycles – Bike shop, Cross Hands