The Nelson Loops

Here’s a great little ride for someone looking for a climb or two. It starts and ends in Tongwynlais, but goes all the way up to Nelson.

Along the way you’ll face a couple of climbs, but as climbs go they’re not that bad. One is Heol-y-Fforest towards Caerphilly and the other is Senghenydd.

The Route

Starting from Plan2Ride in Tongwynlais, head up Mill Road, past the castle where it becomes Heol-y-Fforest. Climb up to the top and keep going until you reach the Black Cock Inn. You can either take a left here onto Blackbrook Road to come out further down Thornhill Road (A469) or continue straight on along Ffordd Waunwaelod for an extra bonus climb.

The descent from the top of Ffordd Waunwaelod is a fast one, but the traffic can be heavy and inpatient. There’s also a fairly reliable gust of wind as you round the left-hand bend beyond the church. If you are in any doubts about your descending capabilities, Blackbrook Road is probably a safer option.

Once at the bottom of Thornhill Road, continue to the roundabout, get into the 2nd lane to go straight over the roundabout, to head down the old Nantgarw Road towards the garden centre. Take a right onto Gypsy Lane. At the end of this lane, take a right and almost immediately take a left onto Bronmynnyd all the way to Abertridwr. Follow the road along until you reach the main road (Thomas St) and continue along as it becomes High Street then Commercial Street.

At this point, eating might be a good idea because there is the bigger of today’s climbs just ahead.

Keep going along this road until you reach Senghenydd, where it’ll bend around to the left and become a country lane –a fairly steep country lane, we might add.

Blwch Carnygelli

This is one of the climbs featured in our first Challenging Climbs post. There is one sharp bend on the way up and the whole climb averages around 5%.

After the bend it levels off and descends slightly, before a further climb up to the farm and beyond. Once you reach the cattle grid, the hard part is over.

There are some amazing views to be had here. On a clear day you’ll be able to see Pen-y-Fan and the Brecon Beacons to the north, so it’s worth taking the time to grab some photos and get your breath back –you earned it.

Two ways back

There are two ways to get back to Cardiff, other than going back the way you came up.

Continue along this lane and enjoy the brisk descent down into Nelson. At the bottom of the road you’ll come to a roundabout.

You can take a left and follow this first route, or take a right and follow the second one.

It’s probably worth mentioning at this point that if you do take a right at the roundabout, you are a stone’s throw away from Llancaiach Fawr, should you fancy a ghost tour before you head back. You just need to take a right onto Gelligaer Road from the B4255. However, we have not yet scoped out the bike parking situation here.

The first route

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The second route

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This one is essentially taking the route back used on our Hengoed Loop. Truth be told, it’s a far more pleasant but perhaps a little slower.

Again, thanks to David for showing us these routes.

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