Cycling UK has announced its intention to launch a new long distance off-road cycle route in north Wales, at the end of the summer 2023. Our Amanda has already been for a bit of a sneak peek at it – spot her in the promo images here. There are a few final bits to do before the trail can be revealed, but here’s an update on the proposals, and information on how to hear first when the route – which will include new official access in place – is announced. Plus, if you sign up, you also get a chance to win some gear from Alpkit – result!
Here’s the announcement from Cycling UK:
Called Traws Eryri, which is Welsh for Trans Snowdonia, the route runs for 130 miles (210 km) through some of Wales’ most beautiful and remote countryside as it connects Machynlleth to Conwy.
The charity estimates it will take competent adventurous riders four to five days to complete the off-road route which has 4595m of ascent. With Yr Wyddfa (Mt Snowdon) having an altitude of 1065m, it is equivalent to riding up Wales’ famous mountain from sea level more than four times.
The route takes you into the wilds of Wales, and aims to show visitors and locals alike that there is more to Parc Cenedlaethol Eryri (Snowdonia National Park) than its famous mountain, as it takes in the Mawddach estuary, the forests of Coed y Brenin and Gwydir, and remnants of north Wales’ slate mining heritage.
Sophie Gordon, Cycling UK campaigns officer behind the creation of the Traws Eryri said:
“Cycling UK has a pedigree of creating exciting long distance off-road cycling routes which allow riders to dive into the culture and wilderness of the lands they pass through. Working with Natural Resource Wales, this has been our first foray into creating a route that goes through some of Wales’ wildest and arguably best landscapes.
“The Traws Eryri is unashamedly an adventure route, which Cycling UK hopes will soon be on the must-ride lists of local, national and international visitors.”
The route’s creation was funded by Natural Resources Wales, and put together by the cycling charity over three years. Over this period, Cycling UK engaged with local communities and off-road riders to get their views on the best possible route, and negotiated with landowners to agree new cycling access on suitable sections of trail to link the route together.
John Taylor, NRW’s North West Wales Team Leader for Recreation, said:
“This is a fantastic, collaborative project between ourselves and Cycling UK using local knowledge to shape a really great, sustainable tourism project.
“The route will connect existing mountain bike trail centres with an off-road cycle route, blending the best of public rights of way and existing tracks to offer a longer-distance, wilder-feeling cycling route.
“This will build on the existing cycle tourism product, support local businesses, and provide a low carbon cycle attraction, offering an alternative to car dependent tourism.
“This type of project fits in with our wider work to tackle the climate and nature emergencies.”
Cycle tourism spending from cyclists in the UK generates £520m per year. There are 1.23 million overnight trips each year, benefiting small businesses in particular, and these contribute £433m to the economy. A survey of riders of King Alfred’s Way, a route starting in Winchester which Cycling UK launched in 2020, shows on average every cyclist spends £83.60 per day on food and accommodation.
“Routes like Traws Eryri aren’t just great fun to ride, but as Cycling UK has found also can have real benefits for the local rural economy,” said Sophie Gordon. “With a ride like this, you’ll need to stock up on supplies from all the local shops, pubs and tea rooms you pass through – and many of these will be off the beaten track.”
Christopher Frost. Chair, North Wales Tourism / Go North Wales said:
“The brand new Traws Eryri cycle route is another great adventure here in north Wales which enhances the fantastic product for sports tourism. The route passes through off-the-beaten track locations which offer great views and landscapes for cyclists as well as well-trodden destinations that really offers something new for the region.
“This is a welcome addition to the new routes that Cycling UK has presented in recent years and as the ‘adventure capital for Europe’, we at North Wales Tourism are extremely excited to see it launched.”
Riders wanting to be the first to receive details on the complete route can sign up via the Cycling UK website and will also have the opportunity to win bikepacking luggage – special luggage carrying equipment to attach to bikes – made by outdoor company Alpkit, worth more than £280.
The Traws Eryri sits within Cycling UK’s wider goal to see the creation of a network of long-distance off-road routes across the length and breadth of Great Britain, taking in its amazing places and wild landscapes.
It is the seventh long distance cycling route Cycling UK has launched since its riders’ route for the North Downs Way was unveiled in 2018.
In 2019, the charity launched the 800-mile Great North Trail which starts in the Peak District and finishes in either Cape Wrath or John o’ Groats. This was followed by King Alfred’s Way in 2020, a 220-mile loop route from Winchester that travels through the ancient Saxon kingdom of Wessex in the south of England; the 150-mile West Kernow Way in Cornwall (2022); and last year the 145-mile Cantii Way in Kent and 232-mile Rebellion Way in Norfolk.
Riders can be the first to know about the route at: https://www.cyclinguk.org/traws-eryri-learn-more