We're very fortunate to have Sustrans. These folks have done an amzing job converting the abandoned rail lines into traffic-free routes which wind up and down the Southern Valleys of Wales. The circular route I followed is shown below.
So sit back and relax and ride with me up through Cordell Country.
Six Bells & The Gaurdian. This grand monument is at first hidden through the trees as you cycle up NCN 465 from Aberbeeg. As you get closer the trees clear, the valley opens, and this sculpture quietly dominates the skyline. It is a powerful tribute to the lives sacrificed for the coal industry. There is a visitors centre with a small cafe and heritage room located across from the car park. Read more @ Guardian of the Valleys.
The irony of Margaret Thatcher closing the mines, putting hundreds of thousands out of work and devastating the Welsh economy... is that nature has reclaimed the valleys.
Up over the mountain from Brynmawr one feels as if you have completely left civilization. All I could hear was the wind and my rolling bicycle tyres...
Far off in the distance you can see The Blorenge.
A restored steam train pulls out of the Blaenavon High Level Station during a weekend railway gala...
This project is under development. Check back for additional information to be included on the Big Pit National Coal Museum and the Blaenavon Ironworks & National Heritage Center... meanwhile here's the route.
|Traffic-free||Shared Use||Quiet Road|
|Cordell Country Heritage Ride|
|ROUTE METRICS: Round-trip|
|Approx. Time:||6 -7 hrs.|
|Elevation:||+2620 ft. / -2620 ft.|
My ride started in Newbridge heading up NCN Route 465 toward Brynmawr. I then rode NCN 46 over the Heads of the Valleys to Route 492 and down through Blaenavon to Pontypool. In Pontypool I rode NCN Route 466 back to Crumlin and Newbridge. "Just like that."
Guardian of the Valleys - http://www.blaenau-gwent.gov.uk/leisure/14674.asp
Big Pit: National Coal Museum - http://www.museumwales.ac.uk/en/bigpit/
Blaenavon Ironworks & World Heritage Site - http://www.visitblaenavon.co.uk/
Pontypool & Blaenavon Railway - http://www.pontypool-and-blaenavon.co.uk/
The Blorenge - http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Blorenge