One-day ride: Carmarthen
West Wales is wild, beautiful and absolutely packed with amazing riding 50 miles 50 miles 60 miles 55 miles
VISITORS FROM ENGLAND, upon reaching the Brecon Beacons, may be inclined to think they’ve found the greatest roads south Wales has to offer. But carry on further west along the A40 and new ranges of hills rise up, rich in riding to reward the traveller. Go further and you’ll even see the sea.
Carmarthen claims to be the oldest town in Wales and for those who prefer legend, is also supposed to be Merlin’s birthplace. More usefully for motorcyclists, it has plenty of places to stay and good facilities.
Our full day’s route sweeps inland, through the foothills of the Brecon Beacons and up through Elan Valley to Devil’s Bridge. It swoops briefly out to the coast then crosses the Cambrian mountains before heading back to the fishing village of New Quay on Cardigan Bay, with the final run back to Carmarthen taking in some of the twistiest roads of the day.
STAGE ONE Carmarthen to Llandovery
From the Pensarn A40/A48 roundabout (by Aldi), take the A484 towards Llanelli. After two miles turn left on the B4309 to Pontyates. In Pontyates, turn left on the B4317 to Pont-henri. In Pontyberem turn right on the B4306 to Llannon. When it meets the A476, turn left to Llandeilo (a really tight junction). Turn left in Ffaifach on the A483, crossing Llandeilo town. Go straight over the roundabout on the A40 towards Llandovery, then take the first left for the B4302 to Talley. When this road meets the A482, turn right to Llandovery. In Llanwrda, turn left on the A40, go over the railway, past the garage, and into the town centre.
Morning coffee: West End Café This biking institution is on the corner of the A40. If the parking is full, there’s a car park opposite. Treat yourself to a home-made cake before moving on. www.westendcafe.co.uk
STAGE TWO Llandovery to Devil’s Bridge
From the West End Café, head back on the A40 towards the railway crossing but turn right just before the garage on the A483 to Builth Wells. In Beulah, turn left on the B4358 to Newbridge on Wye, where you turn left on the A470 to Rhayader. Turn left by the clocktower in
Rhayader on the B4518 to Elan Valley, then after half a mile turn right on the mountain road to Aberystwyth. (You can extend the ride by following the road around the reservoirs and turning left when it meets the mountain road again, to rejoin the main route.) At the A4120, turn left.
Lunch: Two Hoots Tea Room You could grab a bite right by the falls (for a posh lunch, book into the The Hafod – www.thehafod. co.uk) but we’d go a little further to the Devil’s Bridge station and the Two Hoots Tea Room.
STAGE THREE Devil’s Bridge to New Quay
Continue along the A4120 to Aberystwyth. When it meets the A487, turn left towards Cardigan. After a mile and a half, in Llanfarian, turn left on the A485 to Tregaron. Stay on the A485 all the way to Lampeter. When the road meets the A482, turn right to Aberaeron. Turn right at the mini-roundabout to go into the town centre, then turn left on the A487 to Cardigan (there’s a handy garage opposite this junction). Stay on this road for five miles then in Llanarth, turn right on the B4342 to New Quay. When you get there, follow the signs for the beach (traeth) parking area.
Afternoon tea: The Blue Bell You could just grab an ice cream and sit on the beach but for something more civilised, try the Blue Bell. It’s right on the front, overlooking the harbour, with an upmarket bistro upstairs and a more informal café and deli downstairs. www.thebluebelldelibistro.com
STAGE FOUR New Quay to Carmarthen
From Newquay take the A486 to Llandysul. When it meets the A487, turn right to Cardigan. At the roundabout on the Cardigan bypass, turn left on the A484 to Carmarthen. Stay on the road through Newcastle Emlyn – and keep your eyes peeled after three miles: you want the easily missed left-hand turn by a small white house for the B4335 to Llandysul. When this meets the A486, turn left (still to Llandysul). Go straight over the Rhyd-y-galfe roundabout on the B4336 to Llandysul. Stay on this road until it meets the A485 and turn right to return to Cardigan.
Stunning roads and views make a Carmarthen-based ride a great day out