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Make tracks to Carmarthenshire

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9 Sep 2020
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Discover the breathtaking routes and incredible scenery that make Carmarthenshire the cycling hub of Wales

The Welsh county of Carmarthenshire’s rugged coastline, epic mountains and breathtaking vistas provide a dramatic backdrop for a cycling getaway.

The myriad road routes vary in length and challenge, with vast beaches, grand castle ruins and picturesque rural market towns all peppered throughout the region.

Landmarks you’ll discover along the way include the National Botanic Garden of Wales, the Neo-Gothic Paxton’s Tower and The Boathouse, Dylan Thomas’ Laugharne home overlooking the Taf estuary.

Across the county you’ll also find places to stay with lockable storage, rooms to dry kit and hose down facilities - from chic cottages to elegant pubs with rooms and boutique hotels whether you’re on a weekend or week-long adventure.

There are first class restaurants and coffee roasteries on hand for refuelling, while destinations like Ginhaus in Llandeilo are perfect for whetting the whistle after a long day in the saddle.

Thanks to those stunning landscapes, golden beaches and wide array of  routes, it’s easy to see why Carmarthenshire is becoming known as the cycling hub of Wales. In fact, there are 23 routes mapped out on Plotaroute, allowing you to download the GPS files to your navigation devices. Each route lists a difficulty rating, distance and elevation, making it easy to gauge the challenge ahead.

To get a flavour of what’s in store, here we highlight four road routes to take cyclists from the Black Mountain pass to spectacular views of the sea on the Millennium Coastal Path.

Explore the stunning road routes that make Carmarthenshire the cycling hub of Wales at DiscoverCarmarthenshire.com

 

Ride through West Carmarthenshire 

This 102km route explores the western side of Carmarthenshire, taking in the imposing Laugharne Castle and a coastline looking out over Carmarthen Bay. The journey begins in Whitland, home to the first ever Welsh parliament in 930, heading on to Carmarthen and then the flats of Pendine.

There you’ll find a long stretch of beach with a history of speed – Malcolm Campbell hopped into Blue Bird and shattered the land speed record there in 1924. Expect a challenge as you leave Pendine, though, as the road shoots uphill. The 3km full climb (at a 6% average gradient) is a test for tired legs, but the view from the top is glorious. 

Places to stop

• The Boathouse – The final home of poet Dylan Thomas in Laugharne
• The Lunch Box – Sandwiches and sweet treats in Whitland
• Tea by the Sea – A cosy cafe on the Pendine sea front

Click here for more information on the West Carmarthenshire ride

 

Follow the Carmarthen Bay coastal route 

A 62km route that has a bit of everything. Great views of the sea, quiet roads cutting through beautiful scenery, and the almighty 2km Crwbin climb to get your legs pumping.

The Millennium Coastal Path is one of Carmarthenshire’s true cycling highlights; a traffic-free route connecting Llanelli to Burry Port that’s popular with cyclists, walkers and families.

For something a little more challenging, there’s the aforementioned Crwbin climb, with gradients peaking above 15%, and tight corners as you make your way through the village. 

Places to stop

• Yr Osaf – Pembrey Country Park’s new food offering
• Daisy’s Little Coffee Shop – Cakes and coffee at Pembrey Country Park
• The Waun Wyllt – 18th century pub dining in Llanelli 

Click here for more information on the Carmarthen Bay ride

Embark on a big wilderness adventure

Starting out in the market town of Llandovery, this 105km route showcases some of the most scenic landscapes Wales has to offer.

You’ll sweep past the Llyn Brianne reservoir, encounter the most remote chapel in Wales and pass the Cambrian mountains known as the ‘Desert of Wales’. There’s beautiful emptiness to be found, with hills, valleys and quiet roads aplenty.

Make sure to fuel up and bring anything you need with you as you won’t find too many shops or amenities on this route. It’s called ‘Big Wilderness’ for good reason.

Places to stop

• Royal Oak – Bed and breakfast located in Rhandirmwyn
• Llandovery Castle – Castle ruins overlooking the River Tywi
• West End Cafe – Authentic Welsh cafe in Llandovery

Click here for more information on the Carmarthenshire big wilderness ride

 

Experience big hills and big views 

Starting in the Amman valley, this route runs through the industrial heartland of Carmarthenshire over the Black Mountain and on to a demanding climb up Gwrhyd Road.

The latter makes this one of the more challenging rides in Carmarthenshire, with gradients reaching 20% as you power to the top. You’ll be rewarded with fantastic views, before passing over Mynydd Betws and returning to Ammanford.

With 2,000m of climbing and 101km under your belt, you’ll leave with the satisfaction of conquering one of Wales’ toughest road cycling routes. 

Places to stop

• Ginhaus – Cheese, gin, wine and beer in  beautiful Llandeilo
• Penygawse – A tea room and guest house located in Llandovery
• Coaltown Roastery Canteen – Great coffee in Ammanford

Click here for more information on the Carmarthenshire hills and views ride