Cycling In Pembrokeshire
With many miles of SusTrans cycleways criss-crossing the county and a network of bridleways and footpaths, Pembrokeshire offers cyclists the opportunity of exploring beautiful countryside and visiting historic features.
In several places, old railway tracks, long disused since Dr Beeching wielded his axe on small lines in the early sixties, have been turned into cycleways cutting through picturesque countryside and affording panoramic vistas of rolling hills, wooded valleys and spectacular coastal scenery.
And there are also places in the county where mountain bikes are encouraged and courses have been laid out on challenging terrain.
There are locations where mapped routes have been designed, notably at Saundersfoot, Newport, St Govans, Canaston Woods, Llys-y-Fran Reservoir and Country Park and in the Preseli Hills, and routes in the Pembrokeshire Coast National Park area are largely directed through quiet country lanes and byways linking coastal villages and hamlets, with the bonus of magnificent views.
Bikers can combine their cycling with other interests such as bird and wildlife watching, coastal sports and visiting prehistoric and historical sites.
Llys-y-Fran Reservoir and Country Park is a very popular cycling venue with an undulating and in places quite demanding track right around the perimeter of the reserve. Cycles and helmets can be hired at the Visitor Centre, and the track is suitable only for off-road bikes. The circuit has the added advantage of a variety of conditions, with flat areas on the banks of the reservoir and winding track through the oak woods on the northern edges, with quite steep ascents and descents through the little valleys. The wildlife along the route is interesting with woodland birds like nuthatch, woodpecker and tree creeper, jay and woodpigeon and various kinds of duck along the margins of the reservoir and in the little inlets around the water’s edge. The marshy areas also abound with damsel flies and dragon flies like tiny irridescent helicopters among the rushes and flag irises. A pleasant sight, too, is the tranquil gliding of sailing dinghies, for there are launching facilities and many people bring their own boats. Contacts at Llys-y-fran, which belongs to Dwr Cymru (Welsh Water) are: 01437-532273 or 01437-532694.
Cycling is also encouraged at Newport where Newport Bike Hire offers the opportunity to cycle ‘in the heart of Pembrokeshire,’ Their contacts are: Daytime 01239-826724 or 07779-227258.
The Pembrokeshire Coast National Park Information and Visitor Centre at Oriel y Parc, St Davids, runs an exciting two-day event called Cyclosportive offering serious riders the choice of three challenging weekend rides of 50, 75 and 100 miles. There are also family rides, which include a children’s treasure hunt. The contact website is www.toursofpembrokeshire.co.uk. A very popular family ride is the nine mile run along the purpose-built cycle track from Haverfordwest to Neyland Marina, the start of which is in the town centre near County Hall. It takes the rider alongside the railway line via Johnston and Rosemarket.