The 8 mile Brynmawr to Abergavenny Cycle Route is one of the most spectacular Cycle Routes in the UK it follows the route of an incredibly well engineered railway track that originally ran between Abergavenny and Swansea.
It is a joy to cycle, and an important link between the Usk Valley and Brynmawr. The Heads of the Valleys road is not suitable for cycling, so this is the only safe route.
There is unfortunately a problem, the cycle route is in two parts, as a landowner on the route has refused to allow the cycle track to follow the disused railway track through one parcel of land.
Sustrans has put a diversion in, which follows local country lanes, but this is the problem, the diversion forces cyclists onto steep and narrow lanes causing a steep descent in the wrong direction and a steep climb to get back on the cycle track.
The section in question is a mere 800 yards but the diversion is more than twice that distance, and involves losing then having to regain 150 feet of altitude. It adds at least ten minutes to the journey, more for cyclists who have to get off and walk as the lane is very steep.
The diversion acts as a barrier, it’s not safe for children and not suitable for all but the fittest cyclists to ride. It has the effect of forcing people to turn back the way they came.
Monmouthshire County Council and Sustrans have agreed that there is money to complete the route, it’s just the intransigence of the landowner that is holding it back. A huge amount of compulsory purchase of land has taken place in relation to dualling the Heads of the Valleys road between Abergavenny and Brynmawr. It is time for the the same firm action to be taken to provide a parallel cycling route.
Map and text courtesy Cycle the Gorge