It is unlikely if you live near the Black Mountains that you haven’t heard of or visited the Blorenge, halfway between Gilwern and Blaenavon. It’s a sweet little hill, great to take any family member on an afternoon stroll.
We’ve been up to walk, pick wild blueberries, have an ice cream from the van that never seems to leave, and try to get close to a wild pony. You may have even visited for a wild swim in Keeper’s Pond, or watched someone paddle board or sail a miniature boat. It is a very popular spot.
Because of the popularity, many bikers, mountain or otherwise have visited too. And there seems to be the classic 2 or 3 routes and descents that people follow. But this 550m hill is deceiving and it provides so much more to ride than this. We have 8 pretty awesome descents in and around it, and we create our Megamix ride out of them. Depending on the day and the riders, we can give you a tour around this hot spot that you probably haven’t been on before.
There are 2 main ways up
We either pedal along the canal to warm up and then head up a steep road climb and a tough bridleway to get to the top. It’s harder than the other option, but it’s a fun challenge with a quicker reward of a descent.
Otherwise we travel around the base of Gilwern Hill taking our time and coming in from the Tips to start the fun.
Of course, a different shorter ride can be done directly from the Keeper’s Pond carpark.
What about those descents?
Whether its a classic like ‘Garn Down’, previously known as bike breaker, which get’s it’s name from it narrow gully full of potato lumps of rock that you need to negotiate somewhat blinded by the other hillside foliage.
Or the swoopy fast descent into the Punch Bowl, a hidden pond where bare knuckle fights once took place. Where we often aim for as a lunch spot, which you can get to from the other side on a rocky steep bridleway.
The views are epic, to the north the whole Black Mountains range is set before you. From the trig point at the top, a stop is necessary to take in the 360 degree beauty from the Sugar Loaf, Skirrid, to the Bristol Canal and over to Pen y Fan & the rest of the Brecon Beacons National Park.
There is more…
Have you explored over in ‘The Tips’? It seems like a dystopian wasteland of old mining slag but hidden in and around the rolling lumps are technical climbs, and fun and fast descents. If you know where to look.
Are you aware that there are also hidden pony tracks that aren’t on the map but are considered open to riding because of historical law? We do, and we ride them.
Descending off of the southeast side of the Blorenge gives you an everlasting descent that changes up between grass, rocks, gullies, and open fields.
There are short and punchy bridleways with rock beds that can be mixed in. Or we flow around the Blorenge top on what is affectionally known as Telly Tubby land.
This is a great mixed day of riding which can fit into your cruising blue attitude or need for a black challenge. Get your friends together and join us for a ride.