Visit Southern Wales

Visit Southern Wales Blog

Archive for tag: mountain biking

History and Handlebars

You'd be forgiven for thinking that Caerphilly is all about the castle.

To be fair, covering 120,000 m2 Caerphilly Castle does tend to dominate the town.  It was built by Norman invaders but it was an attack during the 17th century that left the castle with its most striking feature - a leaning tower, which at 10 degrees has more of a tilt than its more famous counterpart in Pisa.

When you've finished exploring it there is a lot more to do in this corner of Southern Wales.  A journey of 8 miles and almost 400 years brings you to Llancaiach Fawr Manor and the year 1645.  You'll meet the servants of the manor who are busy looking after the house for the master, Colonel Pritchard.   They'll regale you with tales of what life is like for them amidst the turmoil of the civil war which rages around them.

What you need with so much history in an area is a museum to bring it all together.  Well, luckily for Caerphilly there's the Winding House.  As the name suggests, the building housed the winding mechanism for the local colliery (in fact you can still see the engine in action on special days throughout the year).  Today the museum is home exhibitions and artefacts charting the area's past.

Back in the 21st century and over in the next valley is Cwmcarn Forest's Mynydd, quite possibly the biggest, hardest, most technical downhill mountain biking track in the country.  It also has terrific views over South Wales, not that you'll be able to take them in as you hurtle down the side of the mountain.  There are also a number of other tracks at the centre if you're not quite up to the big one or if you're after something a little more sedate you can enjoy the beautiful 7 mile long forest drive.

To find our more about Caerphilly, please visit the website

Have you Packed for Wales

Here it is.  The new Visit Wales TV advert. 

Asking "Have you Packed for Wales", the advert features Caernarfon Castle, the new Mountain Biking centre near Merthyr Tydfil and the Wales Coast Path amongst other places.

The full advert and campaign will be launched this Saturday - St David's Day. 

In the meantime, take a look at the advert and let us know what you think.

Tour de Caerphilly

This time next week, thousands of people will start to congregate at the top Caerphilly Mountain for what is rapidly becoming one of Wales' biggest annual sporting events.  For the third year running the Tour of Britain rolls into town.

Starting in Machynlleth, stage 5 winds it way through the Elan Valley and Brecon Beacons before arriving in Caerphilly where after 150 miles of racing the riders will face one final obstacle, the infamous Caerphilly Mountain.  Not content to make the riders struggle up it once, the route takes the race around the outskirts of the town and back to the foot for another go.

It will certainly prove to be a tough conclusion to the stage, especially the second time around.

Some of the world best cyclists will be competing as they aim for the race leaders Gold Jersey as well as making the final preparations for the World Championships in Florence the following week. 

Household names such as Bradley Wiggins and Mark Cavendish will be taking part as well as world class sprinter Alessandro Petacchi, winner of the famous Liege-Bastogne-Liege race Dan Martin and the young sensation from this year's Tour de France, the Columbian climber Nairo Quintana.

To find out more about the race, visit the Tour of Britain website

Discover Merthyr Tydfil

Take a look at this video of Merthyr Tydfil.  It might not be the obvious choice when thinking of a holiday in Wales, but as the video proves there's so much to do and some stunning scenery.  Enjoy!

Dare you take on the Mynydd

Are you up for a challenge? Well in this neck of the woods they don't come much bigger than the Mynydd

The Mynydd is a mountain biking track at Cwmcarn near Caerphilly.  To the un-initiated (i.e. me) it looks as if you have to be mad to ride your bike down here. Taking the steep drops, tight turns and huge jumps at break-neck speeds seems to be impossible. Yet they do and that is why this is considered to be one to the best tracks in the country by mountain biking enthusiasts.  It has been rated as a Black track, which means it is officially classed as severe and should only be tackled by experienced riders. You daren't take your eyes off the track, which is a shame as the views from the top are stunning.

The Mountain Biking Wales website describes it as

"a track which offers steep technical sections, a very fast open section near the bottom, jumps, drops, berms, infact probably one of the biggest berms you'll ever see, as well as some doubles and even a massive gap jump if you want to try it."

Don't believe me how hair raising it is, then take a look at this video: