Cycling the Cycle Route of Legends, South Wales, along the coast of Carmarthenshire on the Machynys Peninsula on Mallory on Travel adventure travel, photography, travel Iain Mallory_wales-1-4

Postcards from the Cycle Route of Legends, South Wales

The ride out of Carmarthen had included a challenging, a short, sharp pedal cranking, exhaustion inducing, heart racing ascent out of the city, with only another thirty miles or so of similar terrain. The undulating terrain of this part of the Cycle Route of Legends through the picturesque Preseli Mountains meant I was in for a long, tiring, but rewarding day, cycling the winding country lanes as Carmarthenshire gave way to Pembrokeshire.

Saved by a Rainy Day

Commencing two days earlier from the Afan Lodge in Neath Port Talbot, where the weather had played its part. Heavy rain had forced us to change our plans, Alison and I choosing to visit the legends in the car, keeping the bikes in the boot. Starting in the village of Pontrhydyfen, with a viewpoint from the nearby viaduct. we tried to guess which of the small cottages had been the home of Richard Burton.

Cycling the Cycle Route of Legends, stormy skies over the Mumbles, Swansea Bay on Mallory on Travel adventure travel, photography, travel Iain Mallory_wales-1

Dark skies over Swansea Bay

Before arriving at Swansea Bay to visit the Dylan Thomas centre, a museum dedicated to the Welsh poet we’d toasted the legend of Dic Penderyn, suitably with a dram of the Welsh single malt. As the martyr of the 1831 miners riot in Merthyr Tydfil was actually named Richard Lewis, we were slightly confused how it became the legend of Dic Penderyn. I later discovered this was his nickname, after the village in which he lodged.

Fortunately, the following day we were greeted with glorious sunshine, and enjoyed a pleasant ride from Swansea Bay, finishing in Carmarthen. The weather, and a generally flat route, probably helped make this our favourite leg, with beautiful scenery and some lovely places for an excuse to take a stop.

Cycling the Cycle Route of Legends, South Wales, along the coast of Carmarthenshire on the Machynys Peninsula on Mallory on Travel adventure travel, photography, travel Iain Mallory_wales-1-4

Cycle route Machynys Peninsula

There wasn’t nearly enough time to see even a fraction of the National Wetlands Centre, near Llanelli, as this really deserved a day alone. However, following the coastal path along the Machynys Peninsula, past the picturesque Jack Nicklaus golf course and onto lovely Burry Port Harbour it was worth the abbreviated visit.

The Cycle Route of Legends in south Wales, the Amelia Earhart memorial at Burry Port Harbour on the Welsh coast on Mallory on Travel adventure travel, photography, travel Iain Mallory_wales-1-5

The Amelia Earhart memorial, Burry Port

Burry Port was another stopping off point which we wished there was more time to linger, a pretty coastal village, with a long, sandy beach and small lighthouse. There’s also another legendary photo opportunity as there is a memorial to Amelia Earhart, who landed here after her famous trans-Atlantic flight.

Continuing along the coast, following the blue signs which mark the route, to the finish point for the day, the city of Carmarthen, having passed Merlin’s Hill. Arthurian legends abound here, and there’s even a shopping centre dedicated to the famous wizard.

The Cycle Route of Legends, Pembrokeshire, the stone circle of Gors Fawr near Trelech in the Preseli Hills, the bluestone of Pembrokeshire, Wales on Mallory on Travel adventure travel, photography, travel Iain Mallory_wales-1-9

Gors Fawr stone circle

The Cycle Route of Legends becomes Legendary

The third stage of the cycle route of legends was for finding excuses to stop. Roman amphitheatres, steam railways at Bronwydd Arms and the legendary bluestones of the Preseli Hills which form the inner circle of Stonehenge are a few highlights. Include the views from Bedd Arthur and fortunately there was plenty to pause for.

The final leg into FishguardPembrokeshire the scene of the last invasion of Britain was another leg punishing stage, but at least the ride into town was downhill.

We’d included a detour along the way to visit Little Newcastle, to visit the birth place of infamous pirate Black Bart.

Finally the Finish Line

The pretty seaside town also introduced us to another little-known legend, Jemima Nicholas. This plucky local lass drove the invading French back armed only with a pitchfork, though our heroine might have been helped by a few friends!

The final recommended stop on the Cycle Route of Legends was the Royal Oak, for refreshments. This is where the signing of the treaty took place, but to be honest, we were too taken by the beauty of the town and its bay.

Finish point of the Cycle Route of Legends, Fishguard and Goodwick Bay on the Pembrokeshire coast of South Wales on Mallory on Travel adventure travel, photography, travel Iain Mallory_wales-1-15

Fishguard, a worthy finish point


Cycle Route of Legends Fact Box:


The 192 km route through the counties of Neath Port Talbot, Swansea Bay, Carmarthenshire and Pembrokeshire. From the Afan Forest to Fishguard following the blue/red signs of the National Cycle network. It is generally well signposted.


The route is suitable for all manner of bicycle, but with a few stretches on gravel trails, road racing bikes may risk the odd puncture. The stretch from Carmarthen to Fishguard covers some hilly terrain, and cyclists need to be conditioned and relatively fit.


Neath Port Talbot accommodation and dining at Afan Lodge, friendly staff, simple digs and wholesome pub style food.


Swansea Bay accommodation at Somerfield Lodge, basic but comfortable place to stay, the bacon at breakfast is exceptional.


Dining at Bistrot Pierre, chain restaurant French dining, they describe themselves as “Great value French bistrot group“.


Carmarthen accommodation in the Merlin Suite of the Ivy Bush Royal Hotel. Traditional, luxury room in a well appointed hotel.


Dining options – Diablo’s on the Quay for friendly service, great steaks and a good choice of wine.


Cafe No.4 – Excellent fine dining in the heart of South Wales.


Pembrokeshire accommodation at Brynhaul bed and breakfast, small, friendly place to stay in the Preseli Hills.


Dining – Tafarn Sinc, pub dining with a surprising history.

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