DYFFRYN ROAD ROUGH-STUFF

19/04/09

A cold Sunday morning was to herald our ride along the cycle track through Pontypool to Blaenavon and along past the Big Pit mining museum. The track took us past the old opencast coal mine that is now the Garn lakes park. The track ends just past here so we joined the road that climbs to 450 metres and then drops into Brynmawr town. From here there is a lane that follows an old tram road which used to take limestone from Llangattock to the iron works in Nantyglo, near Brynmawr. This path stays level for about 4 miles and turns down into a near vertical descent to the village of Llangattock. We were now in the rolling farm lands of the county of Powys, a large agricultural county, which starts here and goes as far as Dolgellau, in North Wales. The sun shone and a pleasant ride to Llangyndir was had. After a brief stop for lunch we turned up into the Duffryn valley. A no-through road for cars this is a beautiful and picturesque steep sided vale that climbs gently toward Mynydd Llangyndir. At the head of the valley there is a steep track that weaves its way up into the trees and up a giant's staircase track to arrive, at 450 metres, on the road past the Trefil quarries. This dusty desolate road marks the border from Powys into the county of old Gwent and back into the urban industrial mountain landscape that is typical of this area. There is a cycle track here down the Sirhowy valley but unfortunately there is a break in it which made us cycle on an old coal tip, here Nick hit a rut and performed a spectacular dismount off his bike! We rejoined the path and cycled into Blackwood and then again on to another track, through the bird song drenched woods, to Risca. The canal was then taken to Newport and then a pleasant ride along the canal again to Cwmbran to finish off an excellent 70 miles cycling.

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