Monday, 23 December 2013


It was my brother in law`s 60th birthday on 21/12/13 and a small gathering was planned for the evening. As a bonus Andy and I decided on a bike ride from Chester out to the Wirral and back mostly on traffic free routes.


Dee Marshes Cycle Route

The forecast was not great with the possibility of high winds and rain by the end of the day. Overall the weather was OK with the occasional head wind but no rain.

At the Burton Marshes there had clearly been a recent storm, but a lot if work had been carried out to clear the path.

There were lots of bird watchers looking out onto the marsh and we found out later that some buff coloured pippit had been blown in on the wind.

We carried on to Parkgate which had at one time been a holiday resort, but the foreshore was now marshland.

On our way back we detoured to visit the RSPB centre at Burton and then found a well situated cafe on the bike route. Here we had a huge piece of warm chocolate cake and cream washed down with a mug of coffee.

Happy Birthday

There were numerous cyclists on the route, individuals and groups.

The only hill was the incline over a bridge such a difference from where I live in West Wales.

The lack of photos is down to my camera being left behind.

Tuesday, 17 December 2013


With the Sustrans workday cancelled and Tuesday probably the only fine day of the week, Paul and I decided a bike ride would be a good idea. We had unfinished business in the Rhandirmwyn area when the last time we cycled this area I punctured and the circle was not completed and so we were here again.


We parked just off the A40 adjacent to the Afon Tywi before crossing the bridge into Llandovery. Within a short distance Paul realised that his brakes were NOT connected, thankfully not when it was important to stop. The route took us over the Afon Tywi at Dolauhirion and then steadily uphill to Rhandirmwyn.

Afon Tywi at Dolauhirion

Waterfall enroute
 There is a tea room in the village but although the door was open the cafe was not serving - blast!  However we were carrying our own vittles and a coffee break was had down by the river near the campsite entrance.

Mist in the valley
We now crossed the river and began our ride back downstream but stopped for lunch at the Forestry site at Cwm Y Rhaeadr. This looks a good place to explore.

The ride continued through Cilycwm and alongside the Afon Tywi.

Carmarthen Fans in the distance

 An easy decision was made to continue into Llandovery and to the well known biker and cycle eatery, The West End Cafe. I can recommend the bara brith.

It was a short ride back to the car.

Another good day.

Thursday, 28 November 2013

Coast 2 Coast (Lougher to Swansea Bay)

Is this now a weekly ride out - hope so!

Paul and I decided on the NCN route 4 from Lougher bridge (dividing point between Scarlets and Ospreys) and down the almost traffic free route to Swansea Bay and then through Mumbles and a planned coffee/tea at Verdi's.

Lougher Estuary

Attractive sculpture in Swansea Bay

The weather was  dry and calm, not far off the forecast. We had a coffee break (home made) near Dunvant and the on to the front at Swansea Bay. The last time we were here we turned east and visited the Marina in less than clement weather.  Today we headed west along the trail through Mumbles and as far as the pier. The latter is now being renovated and was closed to the public.

\Towards Mumbles Pier

We returned as far as Verdi's where they were doing a brisk trade. It was far to hot inside and so being true outdoor people we  had our refreshment outside.


A calm sea
 It seemed a bit rude to open our own sandwich boxes and so we cycled back onto the cycle route and had lunch by the ponds before returning to Lougher.

Friday, 22 November 2013

Cross Hands To Sandy Water and back (Route 47)

With biking back on the agenda Paul and I decided on a ride from Cross Hands on route 47 to cycle as far as we wanted and then return.  Paul had not cycled the short bit from Cross Hands to Tumble and so we parked by the cinema in Cross Hands and set off.

The weather was sunny but cold and we both wore extra layers!


The route does have trees on both sides for some way and the leaves made a good if not slippy covering.  We passed two groups who were assisting Sustrans on litter picking and track maintenance. In fact both Paul and I were helping Sustrans on Wednesday where we learnt and then carried out hedge laying.

Some new furniture

 We had a first coffee break near the Heritage Centre at Cynheidre. Warmed up we pedaled on to Sandy Water Park and had lunch overlooking the sea.  We could see a number of vehicles way out on the estuary presumably involved with cockle picking - must have been cold today.

Overlooking Sandy Water Park

Looking back to Pont Agen

Where's the haystack?
The return journey was a bit slower as it is uphill most of the way albeit gradual and we had a head on wind to contend with .  Our average speed was about half that to the trip down.

Frightening selfie!
A good day to be out.

Sunday, 17 November 2013

Millenium Coast Path (14/11/13)

Following an extended bout of sciatica which has meant no cycling since early September I was SO pleased to be back on the saddle today.

Paul and I parked up just out just outside the main gates of the Country Park and headed out onto the Millennium Coast Path and headed east towards Llanelli.

Depicting Llanelli beating the All Blacks
I wasn't too sure how far I could pedal, but thankfully there was no pain. We stopped for coffee at the Discovery Centre and as we were feeling fine carried on passing the Machynys Golf Club and the Wetlands Centre and eventually stopped for another coffee and cake overlooking the Lougher estuary. 

Must be Children In Need day

Paul relishing cake
Two other cyclists joined us who told us that they travel here regularly from Cardigan. I passed on suggestions for other traffic free routes and we set off back to the car.

Towards Worms head

Will he pass the cake drug test?

It was great to be back cycling and now more to come.Millenium Cpast Path

Wednesday, 4 September 2013

Ammanford to Brynamman.

Paul and I are gradually ticking off the various traffic free cycling routes in West Wales and today was the trail from Ammanford to Brynamman.

The route in fact starts at Pantyffynnon just up the road from the train station.  We however, joined it just outside Ammanford.  There is no route description in this blog as it is not fully shown on maps as yet.  However it is well sign posted and totally traffic free on a good tarmac trail, with frequent views of the Afon Amman.

If there was one grumble it is the way the council have installed gates which are either not convenient or just impossible to squeeze a bike through - the one at the back of Tescos is an example in point. I understand from Sustrans numerous complaints have been made.

However this did not spoil our enjoyment of the ride. There are quite a few interpretation panels along the route explaining the history as well as the Mabinogion stories connected with the area.

At the Brynamman end we left the trail and joined the road and peddled up the hill to the Black Mountain Centre where a welcome coffee and toasted teacake were had.

We cycled back and continued on to Pantyffynnon and in fact a bit further along a minor road  which led to a wobbly bridge, a ford.and to a railway line crossing where we stopped for lunch and then back to the car.

Overall about 18 miles of traffic free cycling.

Saturday, 24 August 2013

Brunel Trail

With the "Navigator" unavailable it was a chance to have a bike ride.

My neighbour, Paul suggested the Brunel Trail which runs from Neyland to Haverfordwest and the bikes were loaded up.

I had biked the trail before and although it starts in Neyland we started from the Pembrokeshire Adventure Centre at East Llanion which gave us a chance to cycle over the Cleddau Bridge with its extensive views.

After the bridge we cycled down to Neyland and the water front. For future reference, parking is free. In my previous blog about the Brunel Trail I mentioned the theft of the statue of Isambard Kingdom Brunel, but earlier this year it was replaced. I have no idea if it is made of a valuable metal.

Having read the numerous interpretation panels we set off on the route to Haverfordwest. Apart from the last mile or so the trail is traffic free and not near roads. We saw quite s few walkers, cyclists and family groups enjoying this safe route. As you approach Haverfordwest the trail is adjacent to the main road but on a wide shared space.

Lunch was had next to the river before our return back down the trail to the car.

Monday, 22 July 2013

Llangadog to Rhandirmwyn and back

Our outdoor adventure continued on Thursday and Friday following a day spent helping Sustrans 're-route NCN 4 near Burry Port and Pembrey.

The original plan was to leave the car in Llandeilo and cycle to Rhandirmwyn along the quiet lanes. Because of the hot weather I shortened this by leaving the car in Llangadog. Panniers loaded we commenced our trip .

We took the minor road heading north west from Llangadog and which joins the A4069 and then into Llandovery. The law dictates a stop at the West End Cafe the haunt of cyclists and motor bikers, where a welcome coffee and custard slice were consumed. A photo opportunity was taken in the town`s car park.

The next part of our trip went north west keeping the Afon Tywi to our left until we reached Rhandirmwyn where we sat on a bench for lunch. I had thought about using the camp site further up the river, but on inspection it did not inspire and the prices (2010) seemed a little high for what was offered. So back to Rhandirmwyn and the Camping and Caravan Club site. This is a perfect site, flat, well maintained with free hot showers. The cost to backpackers is less than the other site. Probably even cheaper if a member.

A very low Tywi

One warning though, it is close to the river and midges are present.  However they weren't too much of a problem. The tents were soon erected and following a shower I found a shady spot and dozed.

Another benefit of this site is the local pub, The Royal Oak. We sampled a few real ales before retiring for the night.

Eyeing my drink

 Nature nudged me awake during the night and the star lit sky was magnificent.

The next day we loaded up again and set off on our return journey. This time the way back to Llandovery was on the other side of the Tywi. Another break was called for at the West End Cafe.

Carmarthen Fan

Marginal gains

Even the car is blue

From Llandovery we took a different lane which headed for Myddfai but very steep which led me to dismount and push for a while. We turned right before Myddfai just on the border where the Brecon Beacons National Park starts. This took us back to Llangadog where we celebrated with an ice cream.

A very enjoyable week with weather to match.