Trail Guide – Anglers and Artists
Readers of this blog will know that I’ve been doing quite a bit of mountain-biking recently and armed with my trusty Forerunner GPSr have of course been recording where I’ve been. Many of the routes have been along properly way-marked trails at trail centres, other have been in more remote areas so I thought I would share some of my favourites routes with you here.
First up is ‘Anglers and Artists’, a nice remote route around various lakes in Mid Wales. It also passes close to some of the geocaches I’ve hidden in the area. The total route is 20km long and starts off relatively high, has a steady, undulating start followed by a nice descent into Artists Valley and then a long climb back to the car.
The best place to park is just over the top of the hill on the fire road that leaves the Nant-y-Moch road at SN 702 909 and park at SN 731 911. (See Google Earth File below). If you head up here from Talybont on the A487 then the drive up is pretty interesting in itself.
From here head up towards the forest and turn right at the crossroads onto a nice little descent through a recently clear-felled area of forestry. There is a tricky little rocky step part way down this and then a nice descent down to the mines and back onto forest fire road.
You come out at the bottom of this and turn left and then look out for a turning left onto double track about half a mile along the forest road. This track can be quite wet at times but flows nicely through the woods down over a little rocky bend and then through a river crossing so you’re going to get wet anyway so don’t worry about the puddles!
From here you follow some trails used by moto-cross bikes which again can have some pretty deep and very muddy puddles. It is best to find a way around some of the deeper ones. The trail then heads up through a little gate and then into a shallow, steep sided gully full of loose rocks. Time to select a low gear and grind your way up through this gulley. There are one or two tricky sections but nothing too technical.
The path opens out for a bit and then undulates across the hills. The views from here are worth the effort. The lake of first New Pool and then Llyn Penrhaeadr are off to your left and there are great views across the hills to Cadair Idris. There are a couple of nice little narrow raised sections to negotiate and the odd little stream crossing, plus some more rock garden gulley to negotiate before you come to another gate and then a steep climb up a junction where you want to turn left. (It is possible to go right here and join up with the Mach 3 route). Going left take you up past some farm buildings to a gate which is normally locked. Over this and then up to the forest where you turn left and over another (usually locked) gate before plunging through the forest on overgrown double track towards Llyn Penrhaeadr.
Here you come to yet another locked gate before cycling along rocky double track above the lake and on towards Anglers Retreat. The fire roads open out here. If you are tired at this point then you can simply carry on along the fire which will take you up to your starting point. The route however continues off into Artists Valley. You go through a gate and then just before the fire road starts to head up into the forest turn right onto another fire road up towards Llyn Conach.
This takes you past one of my favourite lakes in the area and is a perfect place for a little rest and some flapjacks if you’ve brought them with you! Once recuperated continue on along the track and then down into the forest on rocky double track. the descent is quite a long one but easy going. It takes you across a fire road and then down through a clear-felled area before taking you across another fire-road and then onto a bridleway along the edge of the forest. There are no major obstacles, but it can be quite a nice descent. At the bottom the track continues along through the forest for a little way before emerging at the bottom of afire road.
You now follow the fire-road up on the start of quite a long climb back up to your starting-point. At the first junction go left and then when you come to a large junction on a right hand bend just follow the fire road around to the right. There is one steep section of bridleway not long after this that you need to turn left off the fire-road onto. This cuts off the corner of a fire-road bend and will get your lungs going for a short time! At the top of this turn left again and simply follow the fire-road to the top. At the top you come to the first set of crossroads in the fire-track where you started the ride. Turn right here and head back down to the waiting cars.
The route is fairly easy with no major obstacles but care should of course be taken. It is quite remote and there will be no mobile reception for much of the route so go well-prepared with spares, tools, extra clothing food and water…. And a plan should it all go wrong!
If you have a GPS unit with you whilst on this trail then it passes several geocaches that I have hidden which may provide you with an excuse for a rest:
The first you get close to is Watery Wales 2 – Pistyll y Llyn. This is a little way off the trail as you plunge through the forest towards LLyn Penrhaeadr. As the trail bears down steeply to the left go straight on through the tress and ride / carry your bikes out through the other side of the forest. It takes a bit of effort to get to but is well worth it for some amazing scenery. I especially like the way that the valley suddenly opens out before you as you approach from this direction.
Next up is Watery Wales 2 – Llyn Penrhaeadr which you cycle pretty close to on your way past this lake.
Followed a little while later by Watery Wales 2 – Angler’s Retreat which is just a short distance off the trail near Angler’s Retreat.
There is another up above Llyn Conach too, but it is a a little bit of a trek across difficult ground, especially with a bike.
A Google Earth file of the trail is available here: Anglers and Artists – Google Earth File (Just download it and open with Google Earth). A topographic plot of the route is below.