There’s a lot to be said for a good climb, but Llanwonno takes some beating. Not quite an “epic” climb as far as the top 100 list goes, but it sure is a tall task easily accessible from Pontypridd town centre.
The route we have for you is around 40KM from Plan2Ride in Tongwynlais, but there are other routes to Pontypridd that you may wish to consider if you want to avoid the traffic and the dual carriageway through Ponty. You could follow the Taff Trail all the way up if you prefer, or use NCN Route 4 from the Penrhos Cutting.
The climb starts on an unassuming left turn from the town as you skirt around the one-way system. Turn onto Gelliwastad Grove and head up until you reach Graigwen Place. Take a left and if you hadn’t already, shift down into the small chainring and buckle up. Take a right and start climbing. The first section is an ascent of roughly 200m at around 10%, but there’s a short respite as you clear the houses on the right and head into the wilderness.
As the hedgerows clear to the left you’ll be greeted to a view rather like the one above, so it’s worth stopping here for a breather and a photo, before continuing on. There’s another 100m of climbing to go, but it is more of an undualtion that creeps gradually upwards –unlike that first part!
However, it is a beautiful country lane through farmland that sweeps past the St Gwyno forestry before taking the road down to Ynysybwl. As you turn onto Pleasant View you’ll find a pub with an impressive outdoor area. If you have the time, you could stop for refreshments here, but if not there’s an excellent descent that you can take as your reward for all that climbing.
The road sweeps through lush forestry as you head down into the village and right back to the bottom of the hill. If you feel like it, you could go around again, or if you are feeling really brave, you could cross the river and take Common Road, Ty Gwyn Road and onto Eglywsilan. The Eglwysilan Road will take you back to Upper Boat, allowing you to follow either Main Avenue or the Taff Trail back to Tongwynlais.
If you do attempt such lunacy, please let us know how you get on. Eglwysilan is bad enough on fresh legs!