Chester – Delamere Forest – Guilden Sutton

My son and partner live just outside Chester and luckily my brother-in-law Andy also lives in Chester.

The main purpose of my visit was to carry out gardening work at my son`s but I had time off for good behaviour and Saturday was pencilled in for a bike ride with Andy.

The plan was to cycle on the Chester Greenway and then on route NCN 70 to Delamere Forest and find our way back again on NCN70 and 71 to Guilden Sutton.

Route

The weather was cooler than late with just a hint of rain but ideal for cycling.

The Chester Greenway is traffic free and built on a disused railway. We headed east but he way west takes you to the Wirral all on traffic free trails.

Once off the Greenway we cycled on mainly country roads with little traffic. Anyone thinking that Cheshire is flat well think again. There were some hilly bits with a couple of 10% inclines. I did walk for one short stretch.

Morning coffee (no cake) was taken at the cafe at Manley Mere and then lunch at the cafe in Delamere Forest (no cake). Not by design but we took a forest trail which coincided with a race celebrating the Sandstone Trail and it was very busy.

 

They breed them big here

 

No cake

 

After lunch we took another forest trail around Blakemere Moss a shallow lake teeming with wildlife.
Blakemere Moss

 

Segway riding
Back on the roads we cycled through some lovely Cheshire countryside and villages back to my sons home in Guilden Sutton, pretty well tired out.

 

Golden Secrets

I bought some time ago a guide to a number of cycle rides based at Llandovery and with a day spare I decided on the longest ride which is described as “Golden Secrets”

Route

I parked the car by the bridge over the Afon Tywi and set off crossing Dolauhirion Bridge and thereafter followed the described route.

The weather was just right for cycling being not too hot or cold and little wind.

 

 

 

 

The route shows two steep areas but the first which leads to Bwlch y Rhiw was not too bad and I cycled the whole way rewarded with a lovely descent passing Cwrt Y Cadno and then the entrance to Dolaucothi Gold Mine.

 

I was hoping the next steep bit on the outskirts of Caio would be similar to the earlier one, but no, this was beyond my output and I walked slowly up pushing the bike and munched a banana at the top.

My friend tells a story about Caio when he was asked by a traveller if he knew the way to CA  10, When the traveller showed my bemused friend a map he realised it was Caio!

I had a short lunch stop in Porthyrhyd ouside the old post office. This Porthyrhyd sometimes gets muddled up with the other Porthyrhyd near my home and about 7 miles east of Carmarthen..

From here it was relatively flat with one steep descent back to the car.

 

Millennium Coast Path

Paul and I decided a ride on the Millennium Coast Path to include fried egg on toast at the Pavilion Cafe seemed a good idea.

Route

We parked at the Wildlife Centre and cycled west passing the North Dock Discovery Centre and on to the Pavilion Cafe. However we had made good progress and cycled on to Burry Port and stopped here near the lighthouse.

Breakwater leading from lighthouse

There is a plaque here now reminding readers of the power station which once dominated the area and which I did vaguely remember.

We cycled back to the Pavilion and enjoyed double fried egg on toast and a warm drink.

My cycle computer turned 1000 miles on this trip which has taken me from Christmas 2012 to complete!

 

Lougher to Weobly Castle and Return

I was on grass cutting duty for my son today as he is a work slave trying to educate the youth of Swansea.

So as to make the best of the day I took my bike along with a plan to cycle from Lougher bridge and head out on the north coast of the Gower.

Route

This was a new route for me and a recce for a possible overnight further into the Gower.

I was pleased to find a traffic free part of the route along the North Gower Way which led to the outskirts of Penclawdd.

 

Then at Crofty I took a minor road which took me alongside Llanrhidian Marshes, with warnings that high tides may flood the road and the danger of unexploded ordnance on the marsh!

 

On through Llanrhidian I then took the road to Weobly Castle, one I had not previously seen. I did not pay the fee but perhaps next time when I repeat the ride with Paul.  It looks like there may be fine views from the castle.

I retraced my ride back to the car.

Llansamlet/Ystalyfera/Swansea Bay/Llansamlet

19/7/2014

With one day left of our boys week I suggested a bike route which Andy had not done. This was NCN43 which links Swansea bay to Ystalyfera.

Route

We parked up at the trading estate in Llansamlet and set off heading north to Ystalyfera. As said in previous blogs this is a traffic free route and  well worth cycling.

No pictures I am afraid. However i cycled this at the beginning of June with Paul http://randombikerides.blogspot.co.uk/2014/06/llansamlet-to-ystralefera-and-back.html

On reaching Ystalyfera the cafe was again closed – early closing on Saturdays, although we were told that the owners were considering extending weekend opening. Not to be outdone we  crossed  the road to have coffee and cake in Asda.

We decided on returning to Llansamlet to continue on to Swansea Bay, which was part of the route which was new to me.  The path is again traffic free and passes next to the Liberty Stadium, home of the Ospreys (not a place for a  Scarlet fan) and Swansea FC.

We crossed  the road to enter the marina area and pedalled around , watching some expensive yachts enter through the lock gates and then back to Llansamlet.

The end of a good week of “being outdoors”

Llanddarog to Clyne Farm and Back

15/7/2014 and 16/7/2014

My brother-in-law, Andy came down from Chester for what is becoming an annual “boys week” where we try to have some bikepacking, backpacking and where possible a canoe trip.

The forecast for the week was looking favourable and the decision was made to take the bikes for two days from 15/7/14 and then backpacking for two days and a one day bike trip to round things off.

I had decided to use the cycle  trip I had used last year from my home in Llanddarog and cycle to the Gower with an overnight at Clyne Farm and return the following day.

Route out

Route back

With bikes packed we set off heading on roads towards Cross Hands and then joining the cycle track which takes in the old mineral railway line down to Llanelli where it joins the Millennium Coast Path which leads to Lougher Bridge.

We stopped near Sandy Water Park for a coffee break and on to Lougher.

From here there is a cycle lane and quiet roads leading to Gowerton which then joins a traffic free route all the way down to the Gower at Mumbles. On reaching the coast we cycled around  to  the well known watering hole of Verdis. It was full to bursting and so we found another outlet for a welcome ice cream.

It was then time to cycle back along the coast and then climb steadily up towards Clyne Farm. To be honest it meant a push as the hill is very steep. It does however give good views once at the top.

We soon had the tents erected, showered and sorted out our evening meal.

Despite some 35 miles of cycling we walked back down to the seaside and enjoyed a couple of pints in the West Cross and of course back up the steep hill!

I slept well but I vaguely heard the patter of rain during the night.

We packed up wet tents in the morning and set off back to Llanddarog. The weather did improve and we stopped for a coffee break near the North Dock in Llanelli and then pedalled our way back home.

 

 

Llansamlet to Ystalyfera and back

Paul and I decided to revisit NCN 43 as the environmental works on the Afon Tawe had been completed and the original route was now reinstated. We would also ride the Glais loop on the way back.

Route

We parked up near the lake on the Llansamlet retail park and joined the cycle route. Following the major riverside protection works the cycle path has been relaid and in due course the current  bare banks will have tree cover.

We had a coffee break not far from Clydach and sat next to the iron sculptures which represent local people.

 

This a great route to cycle which is completely traffic free as far as Ystalyfera. We continued on into the town, which Paul noticed seemed to be shut! In fact the cafe at the end of the traffic free route was just closing – at dinner time.

Afon Tawe

 

I have written about this route before and was taken by the home made memorial to 4 miners who lost their lives in the private Gleision mine a few years ago. There is now a more formal memorial.

Our return journey took in the Glais loop which gave the only granny gear climb of the day and we revisited the work we had carried out with Sustrans where trees were planted and a picnic table made.

Kidwelly to Pavilion cafe and back

Spring Bank Holiday Monday was set fine for a bike ride and I decided to cycle from Kidwelly and head as far east towards Llanelli as my legs would go.

Route

The route is NCN4 and included the new diversion.  The old route went via Pembrey Forest had been changed because of continuous flooding.

The new route takes in minor lanes and some single track off road for a short while before returning to the main route at Pembrey village.

Nearly missed this sign because of overgrowth

 

Single track

Once on the Millennium Coast Path it was very busy with cyclists and walkers enjoying the sunshine.

Worms Head on Gower

 

And again

I rode through Burry Port and then stopped at the Pavilion Cafe for a coffee (no cake) and then returned back to Kidwelly taking the coastal path to the entrance of the Pembrey Country Park and then rejoining my outward track back to the car in Kidwelly.

Burry Port harbour

 

Looking back to Burry Port

 

Flowers, beach, sky, lovely

 

Taff Trail and Cardiff Bay

As pay back for my away days, my wife and close friend flew off to Tenerife, not a walking boot or bike between them.

It was my job to transport them to the impressively named Cardiff International Airport and so as not to waste the day, I took my bike with the plan to cycle part of the Taff Trail and around Cardiff Bay

Route

Parking was on my mind but there was free parking in a large car park adjacent to the International Swimming Pool and the Whitewater Centre in the Sports Village.

The Taff Trail was signposted but because of various street works it was not that obvious to start with but I was soon cycling alongside the Taff passing the Millennium Stadium (no Six Nations Cup this year), into Bute Park, Pontcanna Fields and past the The Swalec Cricket Stadium.

Millennium Stadium

 

 

 

 

 

Melingriffith Water Pump

My goal was Castell Coch and after a flat ride it was a struggle up the steep hill to view the castle.

Castell Coch

 

 

Photos taken I retraced my steps to the Bay but then went clockwise to circumnavigate the Bay passing the Millennium Concert Centre, impressive sculptures, the Norwegian Church and  crossing the Barrage back to the car via Pont Y Werin.

More modern accommodation

 

Penarth Head in the distance

 

Millennium Centre

 

 

Norwegian Church

 

Commemorating Scott

 

 

Pilot Boat exiting the barrage

The whole of the Taff Trail is on my tick list and hopefully I can delete this later on this year.

1. Tumble to North Dock 2/ Penclacwydd to Pavilion Cafe

Tumble to Llanelli

I am  falling behind a bit as I forgot to mention our ride on 17th January. With the forecast looking good we decided at short notice to cycle from Tumble  to the Discovery Centre at North Dock Llanelli.

The route is traffic free for its total length and follows for the most part the old railway line and then onto the Millennium Coastal Path one we have ridden a number of times.

Route

Just after starting the forecast was clearly wrong as it rained but thankfully not for long and thereafter the it stayed dry and with light winds.

On passing above the lower Swiss Valley Reservoir it was a change, although not surprising with all the rain we have had, to see the overspill in full flow.

At the coast the tide was again well out and we could see the cockle pickers in the distance.  They must have good local knowledge as I wouldn’t fancy taking my car onto the sands and at a fair distance away.

Thankfully Paul and I discovered an ancient cycling law that states that wherever possible the route MUST include a cafe and so as we are law abiding we parked up outside the Discovery Centre and had a nice coffee and bara brith.

Suitably replenished we set off back home.  the additional calories we took on were soon ridden off as we cycled uphill to Tumble and the car.

Penclacwydd to Pavilion Cafe.

Today, 23rd of January was looking reasonable for a ride without rain although the wind could and was a nuisance.  We parked up at Penclacwydd, the National Wetland Centre and headed west. There was a strong headwind for the whole of the outward journey and we were hoping the direction would not change for the return.

Route

I am always amazed and pleased to see people walking, running or cycling along the path and they seem to in all weather conditions.  The Millennium Coastal Path was a good investment and despite the recent storms the path was clear of sand and debris, well done Carmarthen Council.

The golf club car park looked full and there were a few hardy souls actually playing.  We passed our previous week’s watering hole and headed for the Pavilion Cafe in Pwll, Paul had mentioned the all day breakfasts. The cafe was busy and we sat down to double egg on toast with coffee, once again abiding by the cyclists law (see above).

 

It wasn’t far from the cafe that Emilia Earhart landed her plane after flying from the USA.

Luckily for us the wind had not changed direction and the ride back was much easier.