Rural Bike Routes in Pembrokeshire

woods near YerbestonPembrokeshire has so much great coastal scenery, with great views and impressive climbs, that it’s easy enough to forget that there’s some wonderfully quiet and scenic lanes inland. Of course, there’s the Preseli area – with some decent moorland. Indeed, it reminds me of Ilkley Moor which has always been a favourite route. It’s a few hundred feet higher at the top of the Preselis than Ilkley Moor, though the road nearby is about the same as the road over Ilkley Moor. But nearer home, a route around the backwaters around Yerbeston and Martletwy, true deeply rural Pembs, seemed like a good idea. The area is quite wooded, ah yes some great bits of woodland as the photo shows – from near Yerbeston (where there are evidently some good off-road routes too). It’s also relatively undulating compared with the coast so if you are not a fan of hills it’s mostly not too bad, though the Preseli’s (Elvis’ little known welsh origins!) are certainly hilly. The traffic is a bit lighter though lots of tractors are to be expected, and farm shops too. Haven’t yet found the ultimate tea room stop though.

landshipping memorial to the 1844 mine disasterAlthough it looks rural, like so many rural backwaters it has a history of industry and in 1844, on St Valentine’s Day, Pembrokeshire had its worst mining disaster at a now very quiet spot – Landshipping. The memorial is especially touching because the mine evidently employed quite a few children. What was a four year old doing in a mine? Basically the mine went out under the river (the Cleddau, the main river in Pembrokeshire) and the roof collapsed at high tide, killing 40 miners, many of whom were school age. There isn’t a wikipedia article at the moment but there’s a good BBC item about it. It seems incongruous since it is now a quiet place on a sunny day to look out over the water towards Picton Castle (which you can see from the road down to the disaster memorial).

The Preseli hills are just to the north of this area – well, 15 miles away or so. They provide Pembrokeshire’s highest col – Bwlch Gwynt at 1325′. You can do the top of the Preseli’s from there easily, on a dry day… That’s quite a decent col so it’s about time I did it…

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