We love the Bwlch. It’s always an interesting challenge, but it also offers achingly beautiful views from the top. Best of all, there are three ways to take it on.
One route we’ve talked about already, coming from Neath and heading towards Treorchy & Pontypridd. We’ve also talked about the route from Treorchy in our Cambrian 1K post. This particular route however takes on the Bwlch from the south, through Nant-y-Moel and back down through Tonypandy and Pontypridd. Very similar to a route taken by guest poster Gareth Thomas, but without the Rhigos thrown in.
The great thing about this route is that there is only one major climb; it can be completed in a few hours and once you get out of Cardiff, much of the ride is through beautiful scenery.
About the route
As with most of our rides these days, it starts and ends at Plan2Ride in Tongwynlais. From here you head up towards Pentyrch, down onto the main road to Pontyclun, onto Llanharan and Brynna and then up through Blackmill to Nant-y-moel.
The climb begins at the clock tower, pretty much. You’ll head up through the pine trees, emerging at a hair pin bend before taking on the final stretch where you pass above the trees and are greeted by a great view to the right. By this point, the worst is over and it is nearly all downhill from here.
When you come down the other side you’ll pass through Ystrad, Tonypandy, Porth and Pontypridd before returning to Tongwynlais. There are some busy roads here, but if you prefer, when you reach Pontypridd you could make a bee-line for the Taff Trail instead.
You’ll find the GPX for the route here.