Bwlch Pen Barras
Bwlch Pen Barras

A brutally steep road to Bwlch Pen Barras in Wales

Bwlch Pen Barras is a mountain pass at an elevation of 360m (1,181ft) above the sea level, located in the Clwydian Range Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, in north-east Wales. It includes climbing 25% at various points.

The road over the pass is asphalted. It links Tafarn-y-Gelyn and Llanbedr-Dyffryn-Clwyd. It’s a pretty tough climb popular with cyclists. The pass is also known as Bwlch Penbarras or Old Bwlch. Its location also makes it an ideal segment to link up with other climbs in the area, including The Shelf and Horseshoe Pass.

There are 2 routes to reach the pass. From the west side (from Llanbedr-Dyffryn-Clwyd) the road gains 260 metres (853 feet) in altitude in just 2.25km (1.4 miles), the first half of which is at a gradient approaching 25%, followed by an even-steeper hairpin bend before the gradient finally eases slightly. More than two kilometres in length, the climb is introduced softly but very quickly begins to rise steeply, reaching a fearsome crescendo as it bends left on a huge 25 per cent hairpin. The other route, the east side, has a less severe gradient, but from the summit it is dead-straight for over a mile downhill, which provides an exhilarating descent for cyclists who have struggled up the pass from Llanbedr.


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