Trans Cambrian Way - MTB

Trans Cambrian Way - MTB

Ride 102 miles off-road across the heart of Mid Wales, from Knighton to Dovey Junction.

3 to 5 nights
102 miles
Moderate / Demanding to Strenuous

From £370 per person

Discover the available tours

About this route

From the English Border to the Irish Sea, the Trans Cambrian Way MTB shoulders through the oldest mountain range in Europe to uncover the utter wilderness of Mid Wales. Through these sparsely populated landscapes, this self-guided mountain biking holiday charges along rocky technical trails, gravel paths beside Wales’ famous reservoirs, and through pine forest with fast single track descents to keep you busy.

There are numerous climbs to scale, but each and every effort delivers miles of adventure. You’ll enjoy a huge variety of scenery out here, between the dramatic landscape of the Cambrian hills, the green slopes of the Elan Valley and miles of wild open moorland. Cycling holidays along the Trans Cambrian Way are a whopping 70% off-road. The trail occasionally follows the route of Glyndwr’s Way and passes close by the sources of both Severn and Wye rivers. Cycle-friendly Welsh villages promise a decent pint and a bed at the end of each day.

© Contours Walking Holidays Trans Cambrian Way - MTB map
Knighton/Dovey Junction
102 miles (163 km)
19th March to 31st October

Holiday highlights

Touring high above the endless hills of Wales, with staggering emptiness in all directions.

Blasting through the Elan Valley, with its great descents over enormous reservoirs and the odd ford in the mix.

Completing a trail that’s just over 100 miles long and crosses Wales from border to coast.

Available tours

CodeTourDurationDifficultyPrice per person
C-TCW-MB1 From Knighton to Dovey Junction (for Machynlleth) 3 nights, 2 days riding Strenuous£370
C-TCW-MB2 From Knighton to Dovey Junction (for Machynlleth) 4 nights, 3 days riding Demanding£460
C-TCW-MB3 From Knighton to Dovey Junction (for Machynlleth) 5 nights, 4 days riding Moderate / Demanding£595

Trans Cambrian Way - Mountain Bike 3 nights, 2 days riding

£NNN per person
  • Itinerary
  • What's included?
  • Extra nights?
  • Tour facts
  • Elevation & terrain
  • Travel info
  • Weather

Travel to Knighton where your first night's accommodation has been booked

Day 1

Knighton to Pontrhydfendigaid. 53 miles (85km) / 4600 ft (1402 m) ascent

Day 2

Pontrhydfendigaid to Dovey Junction (for Machynlleth). 49.5 miles (79km) / 4498 ft (1371 m) ascent


Depart from Dovey Junction (for Machynlleth) after breakfast

Your Itinerary

The daily mileages quoted are average trail miles only and do not include the distance from the trail to your accommodation. We do not expect you to have to travel more than 2.5 miles from the trail to your accommodation.

Below are the additional costs that may apply depending on your requirements. Our standard prices per person are based upon two people sharing a room; if you are on your own, or are part of a group but require a room of your own, then the Solo Traveller or Single Supplements apply respectively:

Solo Traveller Supplement
£60.00 per person / per night
Single Supplement
£40.00 per person / per night

You can add rest days at any of the overnight stops:

Extra night (Standard)
£65.00 per person / per night

What's included?

  • 3 nights' accommodation in en-suite rooms (where available) in selected B&B’s, hotels, inns and guesthouses along the trail.
  • Breakfast each day.
  • Door to door luggage transfer.
  • Maps with the route marked on and a guidebook or route notes describing the trail.
  • An information pack containing an itinerary, instructions on how to find your accommodation each night and a kit list.
  • Detailed travel instructions on how to get to the start of your holiday and back from the end of it.

Extra Nights & Rest Days

Book an extra night into your holiday and see the sights, explore the local trails or take the time to rest and relax in picturesque surroundings.

Wondering where to book that extra night?

Choose Knighton to spend some time wandering the historic streets, checking out Offa’s Dyke or exploring Kinsley Wood. The town has an unexpected attraction hiding just a few miles down the road: the Spaceguard Centre and Observatory, complete with planetarium and working telescopes.

Rhayader is a bustling hub of outdoors activity, boasting a great array of off-road trails. With a welcoming local cycle shop and a wide range of pubs and restaurants, Rhayader is a brilliant choice for an extra night. For an incredible wildlife experience, pop over to the Red Kite Feeding station just out of town to witness these iconic birds wheeling in flocks.

Book an extra night at the end of the trail in Machynlleth and enjoy the weekly local market, check out Welsh history in the old parliament building, and put your post-ride skills to good use on the local trails looping out of town. If you’re feeling particularly skilled — and have a full suspension mountain bike — you can head on up the road to Dyfi Bike Park, where the Athertons’ uplift service sends you whooping down some intense trails through the forest. The easier but no less beautiful Climachx trails lie a bit further up the road, boasting one of the longest downhill runs in Wales. Both centres are connected to Machynlleth along National Cycle Network Route 8, which puts you within cycling distance of the Centre for Alternate Technology as well.

You can add rest days at any of the overnight stops:

Extra night (Standard)
£65.00 per person / per night

Tour Facts

Total distance: 102 miles (163 km)
Duration: 3 nights, 2 days riding
Minimum daily distance: 49.5 miles (79 km)
Maximum daily distance: 53 miles (85 km)
Code: C-TCW-MB1 Grade: Strenuous
Season: 19th March - 31st October
Start of holiday: Knighton
End of holiday: Dovey Junction (for Machynlleth)

Elevation & Terrain

Route profile

Trans Cambrian Way - Mountain Bike Route Profile

The Trans Cambrian Way includes a couple of steep climbs, occasionally on grassy surfaces that can be more challenging after wet weather, along with some longer, steady ascents that take you into the hills beyond and that staple of Wales: the steady dip and climb as you cross the many slopes of its endless hills and valleys.

The undulations of the first day give way to an easy descent into Rhayader, followed by a steep but rideable tarmac ascent the next day. Steady rising and falling becomes a staple again until the Trans Cambrian Way hits the long but spectacular climb from Ystwyth Valley, with a fast descent into the coniferous woodland of Esgair Ychion. The trail climbs again into the moors above Dylife, with a brilliant sliding slate descent down Foel Fadian to a sharp but not-too-long-climb at the end. There are several steep inclines on the final stretch into Dovey Junction, but with two excellent descents along the way, you’ll soon reach the final tapering downhill into Dovey Junction itself, or the cycle-path to take you into Owain Glyndŵr’s ancient capital of Wales at Machynlleth.


  • Dirt bridleway
  • Gravel byway
  • Forest fire-road
  • Singletrack
  • Grassy moorland trails
  • Brief road sections

The Trans Cambrian Way is 70% off-road. It favours a mix of gravel tracks and trails over grassy fields and moorland, but weaves in stretches of single-track and some technical sections on the rockier, narrower trails. The slate dressing used in Wales can be daunting at first, with plenty of skittering about, but riding it becomes second nature after a while.

We recommend you have experience riding off road before attempting the Trans Cambrian Way. A mountain bike is by far the best choice, hardtail or full suspension.

Travel Information

By Air – The most convenient major cities and international airports are Cardiff, Bristol, and Birmingham.

By Rail – There is a rail station at the start of the trail (Knighton) and also at the end of trail (Dovey Junction).

From London – Trains run from London Euston/Paddington stations to Knighton.

Return to the Start – The easiest way to return to the start of the trail (Knighton), is to take the train from Dovey Junction to Knighton.
Alternatively, local taxi companies may be available. Please get in touch via our Contact Us page if you require further information.

Please note:

Most train lines will allow for bikes to be taken on board. We advise that you check on as you may need to book a space for your bike or there may be a limit as to how many bikes the train can store.

Most buses in the UK are unable to store bikes on board, so we would recommend avoiding this form of transport.

Weather Information

To find out more about the weather forecast for your chosen holiday's general location, please see the following websites:

  • MetCheck - This website allows you to look up detailed weather information for specific locations as far as six months in advance.
  • Met Office - This website shows regional area forecasts a few days in advance, with a general UK forecast description of up to 30 days in advance.
  • Mountain Forecast - This website shows what the forecast is like up on specific hills and fells, and offers forecasts a few days in advance.