Mountain Biking In Pembrokeshire
Mountain biking, in Pembrokeshire? Perhaps the initial reaction of adrenalin hungry mountain bikers that have toured the breadth of the UK and even overseas searching for their next two-wheeled adventure - bike lovers literally bursting with excitement and apprehension to hear about the technical challenges in store, and to become that particular trail’s next hardy contestant. Granted, Pembrokeshire may not be the most mountainous of landscapes and it can’t claim to host one of the country’s impressive purpose built mountain bike centres with routes like Afan Forest’s ‘White Level Trail’ offering rock drops, berms and cliff traverses. It does however boast some of Britain’s most spectacular countryside, with trails for all ages and abilities from family bike rides along the paths and bridleways of the Pembrokeshire coast to off-road technical ridge riding at the peak of the Preseli Mountains 536 metres above sea level.
Pembrokeshire is a popular destination for lovers of the outdoors and those who see sport and adventure as the perfect way to relax. Couples and families with children wanting to experience the dramatic views and varying terrain of the West coast of Wales in a sustainable way, regularly opt for mountain biking as the way to do just that. Fresh air and minimal traffic on more or less every bike route you take within the county makes cycling a very different and pleasurable experience compared to a similar journey through the city or typical suburbia.
For families looking for a fun day out with an easy level ride, there are several recommended routes offering an organic tour of Pembrokeshire’s best bits. Pedal through sweet smelling countryside, crisp woodland, around historic castles and forts, along pristine blue flag beaches and stop off at cafes and pubs along the way to replenish your energy levels with locally sourced or baked produce. Trails to look up include Brunel Cycle Ride from Brunel Quay in Neyland, Canaston Woods up to Narberth Mountain, Llys y Fran ‘Rollercoaster’ Route within a 350 acre country park and circling a pretty reservoir with a 100ft dam, The Celtic Trail from Tenby to Amroth and Stack Rocks to St Govan’s Trail that passes past the narrow steps which lead down to the famous St Govan’s Chapel at the water’s edge.
For serious mountain bikers with a thirst for a bigger challenge, the 23 mile trail through the Preseli Mountains offering views of the sea to the North and rich green landscapes to the South is an essential trip to understand the diversity in terrain, only a few miles from Pembrokeshire’s reasonably level coastal path and sandy beaches. This trail, graded as Moderate - Hard by ‘What Mountain Bike’ and described as ‘tough but rewarding with a slice of Welsh history’ by trailguru.co.uk must be visited in either Spring or Summer, particularly in dry weather due to erosion issues during the colder and wetter seasons. The steep ascent from the starting point in Newport is a gruelling climb up to the peak at 536 metres which then flattens out to a not-too-tricky ridge ride, where half way along there’s a fun section of standing stones requiring technical skills on the rocky sections and finally a 80 metre descent to the bottom, during which you should be aware of livestock. Well it wouldn’t be Pembrokeshire if you didn’t get a chance to meet the locals would it!
For bike repairs and maintenance whilst you are mountain biking in Pembrokeshire, visit Mike’s Bikes in Haverfordwest or Tenby Cycles in (yes you’ve got it) Tenby. If you’ve not tried mountain biking before, try it! And if you already belong to the camp of fresh air cycling as a way to see the sights, hop along to Pembrokeshire to see what you’ve been missing.