Tales of the Trails: Llanwonno forest long route
This route was created as part of Cycling UK’s Tales of the Trails project, funded by the National Lottery Heritage Fund. Cycling UK has worked with Ynysybwl Regeneration Partnership to capture the stories of residents and bring them to life with cycle trails which take people into the landscape where they happened.
Presenting the very best of Llanwonno forest, this route will reward the rider with panoramic views of the Brecon Beacons, reveal stunning forest vistas, a hidden waterfall, and beautiful Victorian dam, the perfect spot for a picnic. It also connects places which reveal the hidden histories of the valley, from the ‘corpse road’ to a legendary fell runner and the strength of the mining community here.
The route is primarily off-road, on bumpy double track fire roads and is best ridden on a hardtail mountain bike or gravel-adventure bike.
If you fancy a less adventurous ride, there is also a shorter route option.
Corpse road (Mynachdy Road)
This road was known as the ‘corpse road’ because it was the way used to carry coffins up to St Gwynno Church at the top of the hill.
St Gwynno Church
This graveyard is the burial place of legendary athlete Guto Nyth Brân or Gruffydd Morgan (1700–1737), one of the greatest runners of his time. There are many stories about him, including that he caught a hare chasing sheep or outran a bird in flight. His final feat was to run 12 miles in an astonishing 53 minutes. Upon completion of the race, he was clapped on the back in congratulations and promptly died of a heart attack.
His life is celebrated every year on New Year’s Eve with the Nos Galan road races, when a mystery runner carries a torch from Ynysybwl to Mountain Ash to kick off the races.
Guto Nyth Brân sculpture
This sculpture outside the pub was created by a local artist. If you look through the hole in the centre towards the church, you can see the gravestone of Guto Nyth Brân.
Daerwynno Outdoor Centre
The dedicated volunteers at this community-run outdoor activity centre offer a year-round program of activities for school children, including climbing, orienteering, canoeing, and wildlife and nature education.
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