Wizo Trail - Pembrokeshire County Council

Cycle Pembrokeshire

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Wizo Trail

Overview
Information

    The Trail meanders through part of the central area of Pembrokeshire once controlled by Wizo, the Flemish chieftain and fierce warrior who was the feudal baron of many of the large estates in the area, including those where Picton Castle now stands. He built the castle at Wiston, which he made his home, and founded the nearby church.

    The Trail takes you to 3 castles as well as a number of other interesting buildings of antiquity. You are also able to visit extensive gardens, some pretty waterside locations and even a local craft ale brewery

     
    Fact File
    Highlights

    A longish trail dedicated to Wizo the Fleming. The ride may take you most of the day if you stop to explore some of the many points of interest along the way. Magnificent sites you will see include castles, churches, gardens, pretty villages and the foreshore of the Eastern Cleddau River. A packed lunch and a drink is recommended

    Grade: Active Trail Grading Statement

    Distance

    26  miles (42km)

    Time 5  hours plus additional time for stops
    Start/Finish 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
    Nearest Station

    Haverfordwest  1/4 mile (a cycle path leads to the start of the Trail)

    Terrain The first 21/2 miles is mostly on a traffic free path. Apart from a short  section of bridleway at Llawhaden, the remainder of the Trail (apart from the very end) is on quiet rural lanes. Some main road crossings  are necessary which will require care, particularly if you have younger or less confident riders in your group. One of the crossings is on a section of the A40 where the national 60 mph speed limit applies. Advice on the safest way of crossing at this point is given in the Trail Directions. Gradients are generally shallow with some local undulations. There are uphill sections on the approach to Wiston and  another on the approach to Plain Dealings. Neither of these should provide a problem to anyone used to cycling. The bridleway at Llawhaden has an uneven surface and is very steep so a dismount and push is recommended for all but the super fit riding mountain bikes
    Elevation

    Total climb (sum of all uphill sections) - 520 metres

    Refreshments

    Haverfordwest and Picton Castle

    Toilets Haverfordwest Bus Station (end of multi-storey car park) and Picton Castle (when open)

     

    Trail Directions(distances in miles)

    0.0              Start. Turn left out of County Hall following the cycle path. Cross on the traffic lights to the path fronting the County Hotel. Cross the next junction and continue over a number of other crossings following the red surfaced path. Once through two short subways (ignore the right turn in the first) turn right and climb the ramp adjacent to the road. Follow the path to the top of the hill and cross the access into the retail park. Cross the road at the traffic lights just before the hospital entrance then continue on the path. Bear right just beyond the entrance into the Springfield Retail Park (opposite) and continue straight on where the path joins a minor road. Shortly after you rejoin a cycle path leading immediately to a road crossing. Cross this road with great care and continue on the cycle path (bearing right at the roundabout) until you get to another road crossing opposite a car sales centre. After crossing, turn right and follow the path for about 1/2 mile

    1.9       Turn right into a lane signed No Through Road ‘Except for Cycles’ and continue on this lane through 2 sets of bollards which prevent access for motorised vehicles

    2.5       At the ‘T’ junction with the B4329 road turn left. Take first right (after about 1/mile) into Cross Lane, then right again at the next ‘T’ junction, then first left into Dingle Lane after about 150 yards

    3.4       Cross the railway level crossing and continue on the lane for about 3 miles until you get to the village of Wiston. This lane is generally uphill. Gradients are not too severe and there are distant countryside views on both sides of the road

    6.6       Pull in to the parking area alongside the red telephone kiosk at Wiston. Cycle stands are available for you to walk to the church alongside the stands and the castle opposite. Both are worth a visit, then afterwards carry on along the lane and turn left at the ‘T’ junction. Cycle up past a pretty little pond on the left and turn right at   the first junction a little further up the hill. Continue on this road on this mainly downhill road for nearly 2 miles enjoying distant views of the Preseli Mountains to the left

    8.9       Turn right at ‘T’ junction following sign for Llawhaden, then after a mainly uphill mile you arrive at the tiny unsigned hamlet of Plain Dealings where you need to turn left at the ‘T’ junction. However if time allows, a quick visit may be made to the Caffle Craft Ale Brewery at the old school which is about 200 yards to the right from the junction. Contact the brewery beforehand if you’re interested in paying a visit or taking a guided tour (www.cafflebrewery.co.uk for contact details). Having turned left at the above junction, take the first right (after nearly a mile) by Sycamore Ranch

    12.0     After a steep downhill section you arrive at a farm fishery and resort on your left. This is well worth a visit with its very attractive landscaped lakes

    12.3     Llawhaden Church is on the left. Just beyond the church it is worth briefly crossing the old hump-backed bridge which spans the Eastern Cleddau. You will be rewarded with a fine view of the river and the triple arched bridge itself which was built in the mid 18th century. Cross back over and follow the road up the hill for about 150 yards. Then turn off onto a bridleway track on the right signed ‘No motor vehicles’. If you haven’t started pushing your bike already, now is the time to do so. The track is quite steep but short and leads you directly up to Llawhaden village centre. Turn right at the top following a sign for the castle. If the bridleway is very wet it could be slippery and you may prefer to continue up the tarmacked road and turn right for Llawhaden at the next junction. Again, follow the castle sign once you arrive at the village

    12.8     Arrive at Llawhaden Castle. After a visit, turn around and head back to the village centre. Bear right at the junction and carry on up the hill through the rest of the village. At the first junction go straight ahead. This will take you past the remains of a medieval hospice on the left which is also worth a brief visit. On a clear day the views to the south are quite superb. Just beyond the hospice site, bear left onto a minor road signed Wiston. Follow this road for just over 2 miles ignoring all side turns

    15.0     Turn right at the point where the main road takes a sharp left turn up a hill. Follow the lane for 3 miles, again ignoring all side turns

    18.4     At the junction with the main A40 road, the Trail turns left and then right onto a minor road about 50 yards away. The A40 is very busy and cycling on it is not recommended unless you are very experienced. It is suggested that you dismount and push your bike along the nearside verge to a point opposite the other junction. Then cross with extreme care when an opportunity arises. Be sure to look in both directions and bear in mind that A40 traffic can be moving quite quickly. Carry on cycling when you’re on the minor road opposite, following signs for The Rhos

    19.9     In the small village of The Rhos, turn right just before the red telephone kiosk following the sign for Picton Castle

    20.4     Entrance to Picton Castle and Gardens. After an optional visit, carry on along the lane as before

    21.2     Arrive at Picton Ferry on the northern shore of the Eastern Cleddau River near the confluence of the Eastern and Western Cleddau. Until the Inter-War years, this was the location of a ferry to Landshipping and was the old route from Haverfordwest towards Pembroke. After a brief rest, cycle back up the lane and turn left after 200 yards. You will soon pass Rose Castle Tower on the right, one of the most mysterious buildings in Pembrokeshire. Nobody seems to know whether it’s the relic of an old church, a medieval tower house, a light tower or even a Victorian folly.

    22.8     Turn left along a lane signed Single Track Road

    24.2     Turn left at crossroads following sign for Haverfordwest

    25.2     At ‘T’ junction turn right following sign for Haverfordwest. Take care as this road is a bit busier than the ones you’ve been on although it’s within a 30 mph speed limit

    25.9     At the bottom of the hill turn left onto a very short section of cycle path immediately beyond a side road junction. Then cross the dual carriageway with care and turn left on the cycle path

    26.0     Finish at County Hall, Haverfordwest

     

    Points of Interest along the Way
    1.  Wiston. The motte-and-bailey castle in the village was built sometime in the first half of the 12th century by the early Flemish settler called Wizo. It was built on the site of an existing Iron Age earthworks. It ranks as one of the best preserved castles of this type in Wales. (Open daily 10am to 4pm, free admission). The nearby Wiston Church is also of Norman origin and contains a number of defensive features associated with this time. The settlement of Wiston obtained its name from Wizo the Fleming

    2.  Llawhaden Church. The church is dedicated to a 6th century Irish monk, Aiden, who was a pupil of St David. It unusually has two towers, a 13th century 2 storey tower and a 14th century 3 storey tower standing next to it. The church has an interesting historical past and is positioned in a peaceful, picturesque location on the side of the river. It is the parish church of Llawhaden, one of the oldest villages in Pembrokeshire. The village lies on the Landsker Line and on one of the pilgrim routes to St Davids

    3.  Llawhaden Castle. A fortified Bishops Palace rather than a castle, but impressively located on high ground overlooking the Eastern Cleddau valley. It was originally built in the 12th century and is very castle like in appearance. The majestic ruins are a delight to explore. (Open daily 10am to 4pm, free admission)

    4.  Llawhaden Hospice. This 13th century ruin is situated adjacent to the Village Hall. It was one of a number of stopping places for pilgrims on route to the shrine at St Davids. Their journeys were difficult and dangerous and often took several months. Hospices offered respite, shelter and medicine whether pilgrims were rich, poor, sick or well. The ruin which still stands is a tall, rectangular structure with a barrel-  vaulted roof. A recess inside suggests that it may also have been used as a chapel associated with other hospice buildings on the same site which have long since gone

    5.  Picton Castle. The estate at Picton was given by Wizo to one of his Flemish knights and it was at this time that the first castle was built on the site. The existing stone castle was     completed in the 13th century and transformed into a stately home in the 18th century. It is now set in 40 acres of magnificent woodland and walled gardens. It also has the largest collection of owls in Wales, a maze and a children’s adventure playground. The castle is open throughout the year (generally from 9am to 5pm) with escorted castle tours at fixed times throughout the day (entrance fees apply). Refreshments and toilets are available on site. It is possible to spend several hours exploring the castle and gardens and Trail users may prefer to save their visit for another day when more time is available to explore the attraction

                  

    ID: 3712, revised 13/07/2018