The Taff Trail – cycle it, walk it, explore it

a still reservoir with wispy clouds in a blue sky pontsticill reservoir

The Taff Trail is a popular 55-mile long-distance cycling and walking route. It follows the River Taff, running from Cardiff to/from Brecon. 

It runs along old railway paths, forest roads and canals before winding through towns and villages then into the heart of the Brecon Beacons/Bannau Brycheiniog National Park.

The Roost is approximately halfway along the trail. Out the gate, turn left and walk/ride 45 metres (walking that’s about 30 seconds) and you’re on it. It’s that close.

We want our guests and visitors to the area to enjoy the trail so we've pulled together some useful information about cycling, walking, mountain biking and other opportunities for exploring the Taff Trail and its surroundings.

Around Merthyr Tydfil

This section of the Taff Trail is around 14 miles long and is mainly traffic free. It’s a family friendly, easy ride or walk.

Merthyr Tydfil was once the iron capital of the world. You’ll see evidence of this heritage as you pass Cyfartha ironworks, head over Cefn Coed viaduct and the impressive Pontsarn viaduct. The trail continues on to the beautiful Pontsticill reservoir which is a lovely spot for a picnic.

Take a break at the Aberglais Inn. Dogs welcome. 

Visit Merthyr have a handy map.

Detour and visit Cyfartha Castle (there’s a museum, play area, walks and cafes) and Joseph Parry’s cottage (it was home to one of Wales’ best known musicians and composers. His most famous song is “Myfanwy”) to explore the town’s history further. 

Riding to Bike Park Wales from the Roost

If you're heading to Bike Park Wales to ride the mountain bike trails, why not leave your car/van in the Roost and cycle up? You can ride to the visitor centre in around 17 minutes. It’s all off-road and you won't have to worry about parking or having a cheeky beer or two at the end of the day. And, on the way back to the Roost, it's all downhill!

Turn left onto the Taff Trail just in front of the pub (don't take the lane that runs up by the houses) and follow the trail for no more than 5 minutes before turning left into the woods when you've just passed under a bridge.

There is an alternate route which includes a footbridge and quite a few steps. Turn left at the pub but follow the lane by the houses and not the Taff Trail.

a wooden sign post by a bridge pointing to different trails

The Gap road - a classic off road/mountain biking trail

The Taff Trail links in with the Gap, a classic and popular loop of the Brecon Beacons offering a mix of challenging climbs, thrilling descents, and tranquil valley roads. The route takes you into the mountains, along the Brinmore Tramroad (an 8-mile route in its own right that runs from Talybont-on-Usk to Trefil) and the Brecon Canal.

The Star Inn at Talybont has a lovely garden by the river and makes for an ideal rest stop. The Old Barn Tea Rooms is another good stop. It’s a in a pretty spot and does tasty sandwiches. And cake.

Heading south - the Trevethick Trail and Cardiff

Heading south towards Cardiff on the Taff Trail (right on the trail in front of the Roost), you can pick up the Trevithick Trail, a former tramway where the first ever steam-powered railway locomotive ran. This short trail runs for approximately 9 miles to Abercynon.

You can also continue on the Taff Trail all the way to the centre of Cardiff and on to Cardiff Bay (approximately 24 miles, a 2 hour ride). On the way you’ll continue along the River Taff, through Ponytpridd, past the fairy tale Castell Coch, on to Llandaff and into the city. If you don’t feel like cycling back, get the train back. The Roost’s local station, Troedyrhiw, is a 5 min walk/ride away.

The Bunch of Grapes at Pontypridd is worth a slight detour. Good food and a great selection of beer.

a path through the woods
castel coch a fairy tail castle
a bench on a woodland path with a sign for the taff trail

Stunning walks taking in the Taff Trail

The Taff Trail winds through the Brecon Beacons/Bannau Brycheiniog National Park where you’ll find walks for all levels with waterfalls, stunning views, fresh air, forests and peaks to bag. The big ones are Corn Du (873m), Pen y Fan (886m), Cribyn (795m) and Fan y Big (719m).

The car park at Blaen y Glyn Ucha is an ideal starting point for many walks, including this waterfall walk. It's just a 30-minute drive from the Roost.

The Beacons Horseshoe is a challenging walk with spectacular views that takes in three peaks.

Taf Fechan Forest is another option for a short, peaceful, riverside walk with a waymarked trail. You could also use the Taf Fechan Forest car park as the start for a longer work, linking up with Blaen y Glyn or the Beacons Way. There’s a useful guide with a walk and map here.

Pontsticill Reservoir is a beautiful place to walk, especially if you’re looking for an accessible wheelchair or pushchair-friendly walk with places to picnic. You could take a ride on the Brecon Mountain Railway to get there. An option for a longer circular walk is this one.

green valley with trees blue skies and clouds

Bike packing - Lôn Las Cymru, national cycle route 8

Lôn Las Cymru, national cycle route 8 is a challenging long-distance trail that takes in the Taff Trail and runs the length of Wales, from Cardiff to Anglesey/Ynys Mon. The trail winds its way through wild, beautiful Wales. It heads through the Brecon Beacons/Bannau Brycheiniog National Park and also Snowdonia/Eryri National Park, for that reason, it's hilly. It’s certainly not for the faint-hearted or novice at 243 miles.

Cycle.Travel has a helpful guide to the trail, including a stage-by-stage guide. 

If you fancy bike packing, stop off at the Roost. We are specifically tailored to cyclists and can provide bedding, towels, hot showers, comfy beds, and bike repair kits. All you need for a pit stop.

a man on a bike looking out over a reservoir with a cloudy sky

Check out the Roost

So there you have it. We hope you get the chance to explore the Taff Trail and beyond. If you're staying at the Roost and need more information or suggestions let us know. If you're not yet booked, have a look around and let us know if you need any more information.

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