Dramway Trail - Pembrokeshire County Council

Cycle Pembrokeshire

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Dramway Trail

Overview
Information

    A pleasant and interesting cycle trail which starts and finishes near the old Ironworks at Stepaside. The relatively short and flat route follows the line of the disused Saundersfoot Railway built in 1835 to link the ironworks and nearby coalmines to the harbour at Saundersfoot.

    The railway was used primarily to transport drams of coal to merchant sailing vessels moored alongside the harbour walls. At the end of the Trail take time to walk up and visit the interesting ruins of Grove Colliery. Steps alongside the nearby Ironworks lead up to the incline track and the colliery is located about 300 yards up this incline

     
    Fact File
    Highlights

    Relics of an industrial era including ironworks, colliery and mineral railway. Beaches, superb sea views and tunnels 

    Grade: Easy Trail Grading Statement                                       

    Distance

    4.0  miles (6.5 km)

    Time 1 hour plus additional time for stops
    Start/Finish

    Stepaside Ironworks Car Park (Grid Ref SN140073, Sat Nav SA67 8LT). Free car park. Turn off dual carriageway section of main A477 road just east of Kilgetty village following signs for Stepaside. Cross bridge at bottom of hill and turn left following sign for Pleasant Valley. Turn left again at bottom of hill. After nearly 1/2 mile turn right following sign for Ironworks. Car park is straight ahead

    Alternative start: Harbour Car Park, Saundersfoot (Grid Ref SN136048, Sat Nav SA69 9HE)    

    Nearest Station Kilgetty 1mile (Turn right out of station access road and take first right after Stepaside School. Cross over high level road bridge and turn left at crossroads. At bottom of very steep hill bear right just  before junction with main road. Follow track past, but not over, a narrow stone bridge and carry on until you arrive at the junction leading to the car park immediately adjacent to Stepaside Ironworks
    Terrain Mainly on a surfaced traffic free path with one minor road crossing. One short section on a quiet country road and another section on an urban cul-de-sac in Saundersfoot
    Elevation

    Total climb (sum of all uphill sections) -  5 metres

    Refreshments Wiseman’s Bridge, Coppet Hall (‘Coast’ building) and Saundersfoot
    Toilets Wiseman’s Bridge,Coppet Hall (‘Coast’ building) and Saundersfoot

     

    Trail Directions(distances in miles)

    0.0       Start. After taking some time to admire the old Ironworks buildings, cycle towards the car park exit and join the cycle path on the right just before the ‘T’ junction. Cycle alongside the stream through the aptly named Pleasant Valley. Depending on the time of the year you cycle this route, there will generally be an abundance of plants and wildlife to observe. This section of path is a bridleway so be aware that you may encounter horse riders as well as cyclists and many pedestrians

    0.8       Pass Tramway Cottage on the right and join a minor rural road ahead. Carry straight on and take a glimpse if you can at the stream to the left. This was converted into a canal in the 1790s but without much success as the gradient was too steep

    0.9       Cross the road and join the path to the right which runs alongside the beach at Wiseman’s Bridge. There are toilets to the left just before the road crossing and a pub serving food beyond the toilets at the other end of the beach. Continue on the elevated path until you reach a tunnel. A bit further along there’s a second tunnel, cut into some spectacular sedimentary rock bedding planes, which takes you out alongside Coppet Hall beach and the ‘Coast’ building. Follow the path around the land side of the car park into a 3rd tunnel. Cycling in these tunnels is not allowed for safety reasons so please dismount and push your bike through to the other end. Also this section of the Trail can be very busy with pedestrians so take care

    1.7       When you exit the 3rd tunnel you are entering the coastal resort of Saundersfoot. Carry straight on along the road ahead. You are still on the route of the old railway but be careful as this section is also used by other vehicles although these are generally few in number and slow moving. You will soon be in a street lined with shops and an outline of where the railway used to run is clearly marked in the middle of the road. Don’t follow this road around to the right. Instead carry straight on along the edge of the Harbour Car Park for about 50 yards until you reach a large building on the right – the old Saundersfoot Coal Office which was the operations hub of the coal industry in the area

    2.0       The Saundersfoot Coal Office is the point where you turn around and follow the same Trail back to Stepaside. But before doing so it is worth securing your bike to the stands adjacent to the building so you can explore the village and its harbour

    4.0       Trail finish

          

    Points of Interest along the Way
    1.  Stepaside. This small village, set in the heart of some of Pembrokeshire’s finest countryside, was a thriving industrial community in the C19th and home to both coal mining and iron making. It was given its unusual name when Oliver Cromwell and his army passed through on route to Pembroke in 1648 and asked people in his way to step aside

    2.  Grove Colliery. An anthracite coal mine and one of many in the Stepaside area. It was developed in 1853 and has one of the deepest mine shafts in Pembrokeshire at 182 metres. Five years after its opening it was linked to the nearby Kilgetty Colliery via a half mile long tunnel. Coal from the Grove was lowered down to the Saundersfoot Railway on a self acting incline. The Grove had its own smithy, carpenters’ shop, stores and stables which housed the pit ponies. The restored ruins of the colliery are now a Scheduled Ancient Monument

    3.  Stepaside Ironworks. Opened in 1849 by the Pembrokeshire Coal and Ironworks Company, the ironworks consisted of 2 blast furnaces with blowing machines, workshops, limekilns, coke ovens and a foundry. The ore was primarily obtained from shafts driven into the cliffs between Saundersfoot and Amroth. The entrance to 2 of these can be seen on the immediate approach from Wiseman’s Bridge to the Trail’s long tunnel. The Ironworks buildings are still impressive to this day,            particularly the remains of the engine blast house and the casting house which has a striking three bay gabled front of dressed stone with three arches. Like the Grove Colliery, the ruins are now a Scheduled Ancient Monument

    4. Wiseman’s Bridge. Nestled between Amroth and Saundersfoot, this little village behind a pebble ridge and a broad sandy beach is very popular for family outings. At times when the sea is rough and the tide is low, the sand is sometimes scoured away to reveal the petrified remains of a drowned forest. Best quality anthracite was once loaded onto sailing ketches on the beach to feed the demand of cities like Bristol, Swansea and Cardiff. The Wiseman’s Bridge Inn was visited by Winston Churchill and Allied commanders in 1943 when the beach was used as a training ground for the D-Day landings

    5.  Coppet Hall. Another popular beach with golden sands and links via tunnels to both Wiseman’s Bridge and Saundersfoot. Originally called Coalpit Hall in the C19th when coal was shipped out from pits a few hundred yards up the valley

    6.  Saundersfoot. A fishing village located in the heart of the National Park and is one of the most popular seaside resorts in the UK. Long ago it was just a few medieval cottages in a forest clearing used as a hunting ground by the Norman Earls of Pembroke. Then in the C19th it grew into a thriving coal port and exported 30,000 tons annually from its harbour. When the coal industry vanished, Saundersfoot evolved into a seaside resort

       

    ID: 3701, revised 06/08/2018