A vineyard, a beach and a castle
Distance 38 miles
Time: 5 hours plus sightseeing time
This is a leisurely day ride allowing time to call in at the Pant Du vineyard cafe, a swim at a sandy beach and to visit Caernarfon Castle, a World Heritage site.
At the bottom of the track from Graianfryn, turn right and ride through the village of Penisarwaun. Follow the road as it turns left at a junction, down the hill and across two small bridges, the first over the long closed railway to Llanberis and the second over Afon Rhythallt (afon is Welsh for “river”). Take the left fork in Llanrug, the Penbont pub will be on your right, and ride on up the hill and straight across at the main road junction.
This minor road takes you into Waunfawr where you turn left along the A4085 road. You’ll pass the Snowdonia Park pub and Welsh Highland Railway station on your left after the bridge over Afon Gwyrfai. Stay on this road as it winds its way down passing Llyn Cwellyn on your right until you reach Rhyd Ddu where you turn right towards Nantlle along the B4418. This is a lovely quiet undulating road with views of peaks, lakes and woodland. Nantlle is an old slate quarrying village, the horse drawn Nantlle Railway was operational until 1963 after which the quarries in the valley all closed in turn. Between Talysarn and Penygroes is the Pant Du vineyard, the café and shop are open from April 1st to October 31st. The vegetarian lunch options are limited to cheese toasties and baked potatoes but the cakes are worth stopping for and you can buy their excellent cider, I preferred the less strong of the two options. I don’t recommend the red wine, we haven’t tried the white.
The B4418 turns left in Penygroes but we go straight on over a small bridge that crosses the A487 road and onto a quiet road that brings you to the A499, a fast straight road which can be busy at times so you’re advised to use the cycle path. Turn right here, after a mile or so you’ll need to cross over to follow the sign to Dinas Dinlle. This is a popular beach, sandy with shingle at the top of the beach and good for swimming. After a refreshing dip (should you be inclined), retrace your route as far as the first left turning and turn left opposite the Harp Inn in the pretty village of Llandwrog.
Ride along this minor road then turn left after crossing Afon Gwyrfai, just before the village of Sanon. This takes you to the coast and along the eastern shore of the Menai Strait which separates the Isle of Anglesey from the Welsh mainland. The road takes you into Caernarfon, an ancient town with a few remaining fragments of the town wall. There are some interesting old streets but the main attraction is the 13th century castle, built by King Edward 1 and in remarkably good condition, a World Heritage site.
Keep to the shore and ride along Lon Las Menai, a cycle track built on the trackbed of the railway line, closed in 1971. Stay on the track until you reach a large roundabout, then turn right up the hill towards Bethel but at the next roundabout go straight on rather than turning left into the village. Take the next left, opposite a former chapel, and continue to the junction where you will turn right for a short distance, taking the next left where the road divides. This takes you into Penisarwaun to join your outward route which you follow back to Graianfryn.