Mountain biking in Pembrokeshire holiday cottages

Mountain biking in Pembrokeshire

Courtney Kelly 23 February 2023

Pembrokeshire is almost certainly best known for its wandering shoreline that spans 186 miles and includes some of the best coastal scenery in the UK. However, this sea-hugged region is also a mecca for mountain bikers looking for off-road riding on forest tracks, bridleways and other trail types.

With such a varied landscape full of mesmerising backdrops, the cycle routes and tracks in Pembrokeshire are well-suited to all fitness levels, meaning families and novice riders can holiday here on two wheels and find easy on- and off-road trails.

Read on to find out about some major trails around different parts of the county, each offering a variety of scenic and historical points of interest. Or click the button below to start searching for your Pembrokeshire cottage straight away.

Last Invasion Trail

A woman stands next to her bike, ready for a ride

If you like your mountain bike trails in Pembrokeshire coated in history, you’ll love the Last Invasion Trail which starts in the car park of the coastal village of Goodwick. Not only does this trail allow riders to take in some spectacular oceanside scenery but bikers will be able to visit a number of interesting sites of the last invasion of Britain. This was when a French force of around 1,400 weapon-clad soldiers landed near Fishguard in 1797. Luckily for the residents, poor soldier discipline and drunkenness meant that the invasion lasted merely two days but it’s still an important part of the history of this region and only adds to the wonder of this trail.

  • Length: 18 miles
  • Ability level: Moderate to difficult
  • Highlight: Beyond the car park of the harbour village of Goodwick, there is a Neolithic burial site showcasing several exposed tombs
  • Stay nearby: Moon River | Sleeps 2 + 2 dogs

The Llys-y-Fran Trail

The Llys-y-Fran Reservoir

The Llys-y-Fran Reservoir is in a country park in the heart of Pembrokeshire with views of the Preseli Hills. It’s here that you’ll find a well-maintained track around the reservoir along with 1.5 miles of additional routes that deviate from this path, eventually returning to the reservoir. Riders must cycle anticlockwise along the routes which are colour-coded blue and red according to difficulty. The Blue Trails - which include names like Dam Good View, Fern Gulley and The Otter Spotter - contain climbs that are short but vigorous. The Red Trails include Kingfisher Canyon, Rocky Road and Peregrine Pass and involve long and sustained climbs. A good level of fitness is required for both coloured trails. Also, be aware that walkers share these routes and have right of way.

  • Length: Routes vary from 225m to 1km
  • Ability level: Different sections are colour-coded as either blue/moderate or red/difficult
  • Highlight: There’s a cafe to replenish your fluids or hire bikes if you forgot yours, and there’s even an on-site adventure playground and dog agility centre 
  • Stay nearby: Llety Wen | Sleeps 2 + 2 dogs

Brunel Cycle Route

The boats in Neyland, one of the possible starting points for the Brunel Cycle Route

Part of the Celtic Trail (see below), this there-and-back linear route is perfect if you want to experience gentle mountain biking in Pembrokeshire. You can start either inland at Haverfordwest or on the banks of Cleddau Ddu at Neyland Marina. If you begin at the latter destination, you can start by taking in the colourful yachts bobbing in Brunel Quay, before setting off to follow the delightful Cleddau Estuary as it passes through Westfield Pill Nature Reserve. This reserve is full of beautiful woodland that you can admire as you leisurely make your way towards the former Great Western Railway line which links to Johnston. This line was built between 1852 and 1856 under the tutelage of the Victorian era’s greatest engineer, Isambard Kingdom Brunel. From Johnston, continue to Haverfordwest where you can park up the bikes for a while and enjoy the castle ruins and priory before heading back to Brunel Quay.

  • Length: 19 miles
  • Ability level: Easy to moderate
  • Highlight: At Merlin’s Bridge (just before Haverfordwest), make sure you check out the water meadows of Cinnamon Grove
  • Stay nearby: Millbank Cottage | Sleeps 4 + 2 dogs

Canaston Cycle Trails

A biker takes on a forest trail

For traffic-free paths with a variety of trails, chose Canaston Woods for your mountain biking holiday in Pembrokeshire. These tracks near Narberth are ideal for families as they are colour coded according to the level of difficulty they pose. In and around the woods, there are 420 acres to explore but your focus will be the mountain bike track running through the heart of the woods. As stated, there are family trails which are well-surfaced and flat or more challenging bridleways which are unsurfaced. The canopy of the woods provides welcome shade during the warmer months, whilst there are several streams to cross which will provide you with a refreshing splash on the ankles as you ride through.

  • Length: Various routes provide different lengths but the Canaston Wood Circular is a great 3.8-mile trail
  • Ability level: The Canaston Wood Circular is an easy route
  • Highlight: A quiet trail, you’ll rarely meet other cyclists here
  • Stay nearby: Ty Kate | Sleeps 4

The Celtic Trail

A family enjoy a fun ride

If you’ve got a few days to kill whilst on your mountain bike in Wales, plus you fancy seeing a little bit of everything that the country can offer, carve some time out for yourself and your biking buddies and tackle the Celtic Trail. This long-distance route gives you the opportunity to experience the power of the Pembrokeshire coast and the serenity of the Carmarthenshire countryside, as well as gaining some knowledge of Welsh culture and history along the way. The Celtic Trail spans the breadth of South Wales, stretching from the Irish Sea to the border with England. There are coastal paths to follow (where you can stop off at popular beaches, such as Newgale), riverside trails to meander along, and old railway lines to cycle beside. National Route 4 and National Route 47, which make up the trail, are full of family-friendly traffic-free paths as well as some slightly more challenging routes.

  • Length: 358 miles in total, but this can be broken up into more digestible bite-size chunks
  • Ability level: Easy to moderate
  • Highlight: An enjoyable stretch in South Pembrokeshire will take you from Tenby to Pembroke
  • Stay nearby: Whitesands (Tenby) | Sleeps 6

Preseli Stones Trail

The ancient stones of Carn Menyn

So many of these trails involved Welsh history in some shape or form, but that’s just because Cymru is so rich with stories from the past. The Preseli Stones Trail is no different and will take you along the southern foothills of the Preseli Mountains, which provides some outstanding views. Your expedition will begin in the village of Rosebush, near an old railway station and will lead you past Maenclochog and on to Mynachlogddu and Rhos Fach Common. It is here on the Common that you’ll be able to marvel at the dolerite rock outcrops of Carn Menyn – this rugged landmark is said to be the source of the bluestones that make up the inner circle of Stonehenge! These stones are said to have been erected 3,000-4,000 years ago and were thought to have supernatural powers. Perhaps you could harness this power to give you the energy needed to make it back to Rosebush?

  • Length: 12 miles
  • Ability level: Moderate
  • Highlight: After this trail, it’s worth visiting Rosebush with its old zinc pub, slate quarries and railway relics
  • Stay nearby: Wilwin | Sleeps 6

Self-catering cottages in Pembrokeshire

Galwad-Y-Môr, Saundersfoot

After a day of adventuring around Pembrokeshire's beautiful mountain bike trails, relax and unwind at one of our self-catering holiday cottages. We have coastal properties, rural cottages, dog-friendly accommodation, and romantic boltholes close to Pembrokeshire's many mountain bike trails. Browse our holiday collection by clicking the button below.

Disclaimer: Whilst every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy of the information at the time of writing, please ensure you check carefully before making any decisions based on the contents within this article.

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