Route 4 is a fantastic long-distance cycling adventure. The route stretches east to west from London to Fishguard. It takes you from the busy capital city to the green countryside of west Wales. On the way you’ll pass several gorgeous areas. These range from the Georgian grandeur of Bath, the only UK city designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site, to the 13th century medieval fortification of Caerphilly Castle in south Wales.
The whole cycling trail is 432 miles. However, there are lots of railway stations along the route, which makes it easy to enjoy smaller sections, or to complete the whole route across a series of trips.
Route 4 takes you through stunning scenery in England and Wales. In England, you’ll start in the capital, where the trail follows the Thames as closely as possible. This allows riders to relax and enjoy their trip away from busy traffic. You’ll pass Putney Bridge before reaching the expansive Richmond Park and Windsor Great Park.
Route 4 gives you a fascinating glimpse into Britain’s past as you cycle along stretches of calm canalside. Between Reading and Bath you’ll follow the Kennet & Avon Cycle Route, much of which is on canal towpath. This canal has a fascinating history and was lovingly restored by local volunteers after it fell into disrepair.
After you pass Bristol you’ll cross into Wales. A highlight of this section is crossing the River Severn high on the Severn Road Bridge. In Wales sections of Route 4 follow the Celtic Trail East and Celtic Trail West.
The Celtic Trail East travels right into the heart of the South Wales Valleys, following many of the very same railways, tram roads and towpaths that once transported the raw materials of the industrial revolution. It offers a fantastic mixture of traffic-free rides and challenging adventures. The trail takes in breath-taking Valleys landscapes and brilliant historic and natural attractions including Chepstow, Caldicot and Caerphilly Castles, Newport Wetlands, and the mighty Hengoed viaduct.
Once you get into west Wales some sections of the route are very hilly. This makes the journey more challenging but you’re rewarded with beautiful views across the rolling Welsh countryside. On your way to Fishguard you’ll pass St David’s, Britain’s smallest city. St David’s is the final resting place of its namesake, Wales's patron saint, and has fewer than two thousand residents. It’s a delightful place to visit, particularly in the summer when you can visit its nearby beaches in the hopes of spotting seals.
When you reach your end destination of Fishguard you have the opportunity of taking a train home or of hopping on a ferry to Ireland to continue your adventure.
We have taken all responsible steps to ensure that these routes are safe and achievable by people with a reasonable level of fitness. However, all outdoor activities involve a degree of risk. To the extent permitted by law, Sustrans accepts no responsibility for any accidents or injury resulting from following these routes. Walking and cycling routes change over time. Weather conditions may also affect path surfaces. Please use your own judgement when using the routes based upon the weather and the ability, experience and confidence levels of those in your group.