If you have never thought of cycling whilst on holiday or fancy a weekend away with a difference, then Cycle Breaks is for you. Base yourself in one of the picturesque villages of Newport or Saundersfoot and explore the Pembrokeshire Coast National Park at a gentle pace.
Cycle Breaks is based around 10 cycle routes, 5 in Saunderfoot and 5 in Newport/Fishguard, all of which have been especially designed on virtually traffic free roads to be fun rather than hard work. Aimed at the youngest to the oldest riders, the routes where possible have more down hills than up hills and anyway the up hills allow you get off, take a rest and enjoy the scenery!
The routes are themed indicating what you are likely to see en-route and have plenty of refreshment stops as just about every village you pass through has a local pub or tea shop. There are attractions along the way to divert your attention and if you find you have spent too long there, don't worry, every route has a short cut which will bring you home in time for tea.
Even if you are an experienced rider, Pembrokeshire Cycle Breaks is for you. Joining two or three of the routes together can provide between 60 and 90 miles of challenging cycling especially if you cycle them the wrong way round!
The 5 easy to read maps come in a pack containing a booklet with commentary on each of the routes, details of route length and time to complete, cycle hire and repair shops as well as Tourist Information Centres.
Below is a taster of what you will find in each of the packs:
Situated in the Pembrokeshire Coast National Park to the north of the county, the coastal town of Newport is an excellent base for cycling breaks with easy access to some of the most dramatic scenery in the whole of the county. The five cycle routes take in the coastline as well as the wild Preseli Hills and take between a few hours and a whole day to complete. The varying nature of the landscape means that cyclists are never sure what lies around the next corner, be it a secluded cove or breathtaking view, inspiring them to pedal on to see what they can discover next.
The shortest route, Standing Stones and Round Houses, runs 25 miles between Newport and Pontyglasier across a landscape dotted with ancient standing stones and hill forts. At the start there's a challenging climb through the Preseli Hills past Carningli Common up to Bedd Morris, a Bronze Age standing stone, affording spectacular views over Newport Bay. It also takes in Castell Henllys, a reconstructed Iron Age hill fort where visitors can experience how people lived some 2,000 years ago.
History and Beaches, 26 miles, has a few uphill stretches on its way from Newport to Cardigan but the views are stunning. The route goes through the Welsh Wildlife Centre near Cilgerran, with seven different habitats on the banks on the River Teifi to explore, and the picturesque village of St Dogmaels. The third is a 32-mile route through The Preseli Hills, home to the Bluestones that made up the inner circle of Stonehenge, and the beautiful Gwaun valley, while the fourth, Valleys and Country Parks (31 miles), is a ride between Fishguard and Llys-y-Fran. Cyclists can take a short cut at Puncheston to Little Newcastle or continue with a ride around the Llys-y-Fran Country park reservoir.
Finally, Crafts and Lighthouses is a 34-mile ride between Fishguard and Porthgain (with an optional short cut) via the remote coastline and lighthouse at Strumble Head from where it's possible to spot porpoises offshore. The full tour passes Tregwynt Woollen Mill and Llangloffan cheese farm while for those in need of sustenance the Sloop Inn at Porthgain is an excellent stop.
The pretty seaside village of Saundersfoot sits on a beautiful wide bay with its award-winning Blue Flag sandy beach and colourful harbour with pleasure boat moorings. Situated within the National Park in the south of Pembrokeshire, it's on the Celtic Trail, a long distance cycle touring route that leads to Fishguard. Saundersfoot, with its wide range of accommodation, is also an ideal starting point for cyclists with several routes spanning out from the village both along the stunning coast and inland.
At 34 miles, Mills and Mining runs between Saundersfoot and Blackpool Mill. The first section through Canaston Woods is off road and steeped in coal mining history; the tramway route and stone and brick pumping house are all that remain today at Reynalton. Also on the route is Blackpool Mill, which dates back to 1813 and is one of the best examples of a corn grist mill in Britain.
A shorter ride at 21 miles, Carew heads inland from Saundersfoot through rolling countryside to Carew Castle dramatically located on the edge of a millpond while the 16 mile Heritage and Gardens ride leads to Tavernspite. The first section hugs the coastline using the old narrow gauge railway tunnels cut through cliffs and on via a wooded valley to the craft village of Stepaside; the ride also passes the eight-acre National Trust garden of Colby Woodland which houses one of the finest rhododendron and azalea collections in Wales.
Sand, Castles and Palaces, 25 miles, runs from Saundersfoot, through the Victorian spa town of Tenby with its Blue Flag beaches, past the medieval castle at Manorbier and onto Lamphey where visitors can see the remains of the 13th century Bishops Palace. And finally Castles, Palaces and Chapels (21 miles) starts from the walled town of Pembroke with its 13th century Norman castle and leads through Lamphey to Stackpole. The ride can be extended through Bosherston to St Govan's Chapel; a tiny hermit's cell built into the cliff and also takes in the only section of the 186-mile long Pembrokeshire Coast Path open to cyclists.
ID: 9 Revised: 28/1/2011