Also known as Lôn Las Cymru, Route 8 runs down the whole length of Wales and is one of the toughest of all the long-distance routes on the National Cycle Network. It’s tougher even than the famous Sea to Sea (C2C). As such it represents an excellent challenge for anyone looking for a spectacular and adventurous ride.
On this fantastic, challenging journey you’ll pass the Brecon Beacons national park, which has loads to do, including lots of trails for walkers, runners, cyclists, mountain bikers, horse riders and wildlife-watchers. If you have some extra time and you enjoy being out in nature we’d definitely recommend spending a few extra days in the Brecon Beacons.
The southern section of Lôn Las Cymru starts or finishes in either Cardiff Bay (Route 8) or Chepstow (Route 42 - this option joins Route 8 at Glasbury) and ends in Llanidloes. You’ll follow the mainly traffic-free Taff Trail between Cardiff and Brecon and then rolling country lanes through Mid Wales, following the approximate course of the River Wye north from Glasbury.
Glasbury to Holyhead also forms part of EuroVelo 2. EuroVelo is a network of fantastic long-distance cycle routes which connect the whole European continent. These cycling trails are a bicycle tourist’s dream: epic journeys which take in some of the best landscapes and places of cultural interest in Europe.
The northern section of Lôn Las Cymru runs from Llanidloes to Holyhead. It climbs steadily out of Llanidloes following the upper valley of the River Severn to the highest point on Route 8 at 510 metres, before dropping down to Machynlleth.
This section passes through the heart of Wales on minor roads, railway paths, forestry tracks and ancient coach roads. There are some tough challenges as the route crosses the Snowdonia National Park, which contains the highest mountain in Wales, and the range of the Cambrian Mountains.
There are two route options between Machynlleth and Porthmadog. A more coastal route includes the Mawddach Trail between Dolgellau and Barmouth and takes in Harlech, whilst the inland route passes through Dolgellau, Coed-y-Brenin Forest and Trawsfynydd.
The routes rejoin at Penrhydeudraeth and continue to Caernarfon on the Lôn Eifion trail and then to Bangor on the Lôn Las Menai. After crossing the Menai Strait via the Menai Suspension Bridge onto the island of Anglesey the route follows quiet roads across the island to Holyhead. Holyhead is the largest town on the island and also a busy port with connections to Ireland.
Route 8 is an exciting route which will challenge and amaze you as it passes through wild and beautiful Welsh landscapes. You can tackle the whole length of the route or enjoy smaller sections.
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.