The Trail follows the route of the rail link built between 1852-6 under the direction of Isambard Kingdom Brunel, the most famous of all Victorian Engineers. From Merlins Bridge you pass through the water meadows of Cinnamon Grove and ascend to a small plateau offering panoramic views across open countryside.
You then descend into the solitude of Bolton Hill Woods. Once through the railway cutting at Johnston, the Trail runs along the track bed of the former Great Western Railway leading eventually through Westfield Pill Nature Reserve, Neyland Marina and on to the southern end of the route at Brunel Quay.
On returning to Haverfordwest, relax on the river bank alongside County Hall and admire the views, or walk to the remains of the town’s Castle or Priory. Cross the footbridge and the Priory is about 300 yards to the left by the side of the river. Alternatively cross the road bridge and the castle is up a flight of steps leading from Castle Square on the right. Cycle stands are available at weekends on the river side of County Hall and others available at all times at the north-eastern and north-western ends of the nearby multi-storey car park, and at the railway station.
19 miles (30 km)
|4 hours plus additional time for stops
|County Hall, Haverfordwest (Grid Ref SM956155, Sat Nav SA61 1TP). County Hall can be seen from Salutation Square Roundabout, Haverfordwest and the entrance is signed. The car park is available (free) for users of the Trail at weekends. Other nearby car parks are available on weekdays (charges apply) and all have cycle paths (on the road side) that connect to the start of the Trail
|Haverfordwest 1/4 mile (cycle path leads to start of Trail)
|Mainly on a tarmacked traffic free path with a few minor road crossings. Some gentle uphill sections between Haverfordwest and Johnston but reasonably flat or very shallow sloping elsewhere
|Total climb (sum of all uphill sections) - 317 metres
Cafe on Brunel Quay (with cycle stands), Johnston and Haverfordwest
Brunel Quay and Haverfordwest
Brunel Quay, Neyland (Grid Ref SM966048, Sat Nav SA73 1LS) (5 miles from Johnston Station)
Mostly off-road linking Haverfordwest with Johnston and Neyland – once the terminus of Brunel’s Great Western Railway. Sites include woodlands, a wildlife reserve, Brunel Quay and the picturesque Cleddau estuary. A medieval castle and priory await your return. This Trail includes the shorter Westfield Trail.
Trail Directions (distances in miles)
0.0 Start: Turn right out of County Hall following the cycle path adjacent to the busy Freemans Way road
1.1: Carry straight on alongside roundabout, cross road at signals following National Cycle Network Route 4 signs for Neyland. Just beyond McDonald’s the path again crosses the road and continues on for about 250 yards. Turn left at the first turn
1.5: Continue straight on passing the entrance to Under the Hills Caravan Park. After about 150 yards turn left over bridge following Route 4 sign for Neyland. Continue on this path for nearly 2 miles
3.5: Cross road and continue on path through Bolton Hill Woods. This next section is a surfaced bridleway with small gates that will need to be opened and closed
4.3: At the ‘T’ junction on the Trail turn left over a cattle grid. This next short section also serves as a farm access so be aware as you may encounter an occasional motorised vehicle. After crossing the railway bridge, turn right onto the traffic free path
4.9: Carry straight on (path to left leads into Johnston village and railway station). You will soon be following the route of a disused railway leading all the way down to Westfield Pill Nature Reserve and Neyland Marina. On route take care at 3 minor road crossings
8.5: Carry straight ahead on the low level path (Route 4 parts company with the Brunel Trail at this point, leading up the hill on the right and over the high level bridge you see ahead). Follow the Trail under the bridge
8.9: Start of the section of Trail alongside Neyland marina. Take care as this is no longer traffic free although vehicle usage is light and the road is traffic calmed. The Trail continues past a waterfront cafe (with cycle stands) and on past a number of boat yards to the Brunel Quay car park
9.5: Brunel Quay car park. Turn around and follow the same route back to Haverfordwest
19.0: County Hall, Haverfordwest – end of Trail
Points of interest along the way
Interesting remains of a Norman castle overlooking the town and surrounding area. It was later used as a prison up until 1878. The Town Museum is housed in the former Governor’s house in the castle grounds. Entry to the castle is free at all times but fees apply for the museum which is open April to October (10am to 4pm), Monday to Saturday
Remains of an early C13th Augustinian priory with the only surviving ecclesiastical medieval garden in Britain.
Bolton Hill Woods
A traditional broadleaf woodland with secluded stream. There is evidence of early coal mining in the woods
Westfield Pill Nature Reserve
A sheltered inlet with lagoons and islands which provide a sanctuary for hundreds of different species of birds and animals including herons, otters and over 20 varieties of butterfly
One of the largest and prettiest yacht havens in Wales
Until the mid C19th, Neyland was a quiet fishing village. In 1856, the renowned engineer Brunel established an Irish Packet Service at what was then named ‘New Milford’, and developed a wide range of infrastructure projects including a quay and rail link to support the ferry service. Numerous information boards on the quayside detail the history of this exciting project. The ferry service ended in 1906 and the railway closed in 1964. This part of Neyland languished until its transformation under an ambitious regeneration plan drawn up in the mid 1980s. Brunel Quay has impressive views of the Cleddau Bridge and Estuary