Abergwesyn Road is a narrow strip of worn tarmac crossing the Cambrian Mountains, in Wales. It’s an old drover's track stretching for about 20 miles between the small hamlet of Abergwesyn and the town of Tregar. A part of the road is known as the Devil’s Staircase. It is so called with good reason – a short but hellishly steep ascent in Powys, south Wales.
The lonesome stretch of rough single track still remains an adrenaline-pumping journey and is definitely not for the faint of lungs, heart, or legs. Traversing a ledge in the hillside, the road climbs from Abergwesyn, soon becoming incredibly steep and windy - a 1 in 4 gradient over an seemingly endless series of hairpin bends, the aptly named Devil's Staircase - through thick forests. The road is extremely narrow and twisty!
It is narrow, really twisty and very scenic. The road climbs up the Abergwesyn Pass – up the perilous Devil’s Staircase and through dense conifer forests to miles of wide, desolate valleys where sheep graze unhurriedly. Devil’s Staircase is a set of bends with some 25 per cent gradients thrown in to keep interest, before a fairly level section across some empty hillside and forest sections, where another steep descent reveals the other side of the hill.
There are 2 routes to reach the pass. Starting from Tregaron, the ascent is 13 km long. Over this distance, the elevation gain is 232 meters. The average percentage is 1.8 %. And starting from Abergwesyn, the ascent is 5 km long. Over this distance, the elevation gain is 227 meters. The average percentage is 4.5 %.
This is a single track metalled road. It is a delight to ride in the heart of sparsely populated mid-Wales. The area is really remote and truly makes you feel like you are in the middle of nowhere. It’s said to be one of the best roads in the whole Wales. road surface deteriorates quite considerably at times with the centre section covered in gravel. The descent will test your brakes to the maximum. There are two bridges across the road just before the Devils Staircase that disappear under water when it has been raining a lot. It's usually pretty quiet on a weekday, can be busy at weekends.