Inspired by Jack Thurston's excellent book Lost Lanes of Wales, we've been exploring some of the many quiet corners of this beautiful little country best reached by bike.
It's the kind of road cycling where the banks are fringed with primroses, grass might be pushing through the Tarmac and you're more likely to be slowed down by sheep than cars. But with views this spectacular, and sometimes climbs this steep, the pedalling is leisurely indeed.
Coed y Brenin, the vast forest a few miles North of Graig Wen, is best known for its mountain bike trails. But miles of narrow lanes wind through beautiful oak and beech woodland as well as the ubiquitous pines. Passing the ruins of Cymer Abbey you pedal high above the Mawddach river and can head into the uplands where trees drop away to reveal epic views of Cadair Idris. With a good map and a bit of luck at the weekend, you might find yourself at the remote Dolfrywnog Newydd tea gardens deep in the forest. You don't have to arrive by bike, but I would say 99 per cent of customers do!
A little further afield, we recently spent a great day out at Devil's Bridge and the Vale of Rheidol Narrow Gage railway. It's about an hour and quarter drive South of Graig Wen through the Cambrian mountains. We popped our bikes on the gleaming steam train by the Two Hoots cafe at Devil's Bridge and enjoyed the hour's ride to seaside Aberystwyth. The scenery is beautiful, with skies studded with Buzzards and Red Kites being startled from their nests by the whistling train!
On the The 28km ride back to Devil's Bridge we cycled alongside the river, slipping through sleepy villages with their chapels and monuments to founders of schools, writers of Hymns and other Welsh cultural characters. Then it was a long, steep climb out of the pretty valley to the bare roof of the Cambrian hills with only the bleating lambs and the odd quad bike riding shepherd for company.
Please do pop in to reception and ask us about cycle routes if you're staying with us - we can point you in the direction of routes to to suit a range of abilities.