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Mountain Biking, Talsarn, Llandovery, Wales by fenby
The weather can get very nasty up there even in the summer, so I would not advise this route unless there is a good weather forecast.
Hazards and warnings
Getting lost and exposure.
The stretch over the Black mountain is windswept and indistinct in places, so taking a map (landranger 160) and a compass would be a good, as would knowing how to use them! It would be dangerous to rely completely on a GPS up there.
This route is all about scenery and wilderness. In terms of difficulty the first climb is very strenuous, and there are some good technical XC bits.
The main focus of this ride is the stretch over the Black mountain. It is very wild up there: for much of this stretch there are no signs of civilization (not even agriculture), just wise open moorland. The geology of the area is limestone; a consequence of this is that there are thousands of shake holes dotted around. It is possible to climb down into caves at the bases of some of the larger ones and a few are filled with water. There is an interesting feature at SN 230 179 where the River Giedd drains into a sink hole.
The first mile or so of the ascent is steep. Don't let this put you off because once you've got this ascent out of the way the going is much easier. Navigating between SN 785 209 and SN 802 197 can be tricky because the path is indistinct. There is a nice descent off the mountain into Glyntawe.
The Roman camp just north of the Usk reservoir is interesting.
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