Llansteffan, Carmarthenshire, DimExcuses Beach Guide.

Llansteffan, Carmarthenshire

With a massive expanse of sand, Llansteffan is one of the best dog walking beaches in South Wales.

Llansteffan, DimExcuses Beach Guide

It is a short drive from Carmarthen through Johnstown. There is free parking, public toilets, a small cafe and a fish & chips vendor. There are views across the estuary to Ferryside and the Arriva Wales train can be seen as it takes it coastal route towards Swansea.

All the gang, Molly, Rocky & Sadie.

The geology is striking with alternating layers of sedimentary rock showing deposition in reducing conditions to create grey layers often interchanging to oxidising conditions to create contrasting red layers. Or in less technical terms rocks that look like streaky bacon.

Bacon Rock

These pictures courtesy of @lizzieLoubi on twitter.

Red & Grey Layers

There is a holy spring that feeds into a river that enters the bay. It is a great rehydrating spot for thirsty dogs.

Llansteffan River

Molly has to go further into the archway than anyone else.

Molly tunnel explorer

Molly and Sadie the springer love this river. It is a real cooling stop.

Molly and Sadie in the river.

There is plenty of room at Llansteffan to run a pack of dogs. Our little pack of Molly, Sadie and Rocky love it there.

The Carmarthen Pack

When not running on the beach they are exploring the rocks.

Molly and Sadie

Llansteffan beach is an essential stop on a visit to Carmarthen, especially if you have a dog. Try it next time you are heading to Wild West Wales, DimExcuses.

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The Old Oak. DimExcuses MTB Ride, Derwen Trail, Brechfa.

Raven's Wings

This is just a glimpse of my favourite and trusted trail, ‘Y Dderwen’ (Welsh for ‘The Oak’) trail in Brechfa, Carmarthenshire.  It is only a glimpse as I forgot my phone and couldn’t map the trail on GPS for you.  The trail is situated in the Brechfa Trial Centre in wild west Wales and can be found on the Cognation website.  The trail centre also hosts the Gorlech red trail and the famous Raven black trail.  The Raven shares the same car park and linking fire roads as the Derwen trail we were riding.  The Gorlech trail can be found further up the road with its own car park at Abergorlech.  The fantastic Raven’s Wings sculpture is in the carpark for weekend warriors to get their facebook and blog photos (above), ahem…

The Derwen is in two parts and is ideal for entry level rider or a family.  The first part is the green loop that is 9 km long with some moderate climbs and descents.  At the midway point in the green loop you can opt for the more challenging blue  route.  This adds an additional 5 km to the ride, a challenging climb and incredibly fun rollercoaster decent.  A group of differing abilities could split into two at this point with some doing the blue run and the others waiting further on at one of the picnic benches and shelters provided.  Below is one of the much needed bench stops.

Bench stop

Here we are below at the summit of blue trail.  Myself and first time DimExcuses riders Sam Donaldson and Paul Jones.

us brave few...

We were lucky with the weather, but I would class this as an all weather trail for the hardy rider.  Obviously the wetter it is the more technical the riding becomes, especially over loose stone sections and areas where puddles develop.

Bench

It is a great ride, designed and built by Rowan Sorrel.  He has a great understanding of trails, and I find is green / blue routes designed to really flow.  A slower rider can easily follow the track, while a more experienced rider can get a lot out of the berms and table tops along the way.

Post ride

I find the 15 km of both trails combined  a perfect length for the less regular rider looking for a day out.  We were around the trail and back at the carpark in less than 2 hours.  It was then a case of heading up the road to Abergorlech for some home cooked local food in the Black Lion Pub.  We must be charmed because just as our food was being served along with a well earned pint of IPA ale, the heavens opened and in came the weekend’s heavy rain showers.

Rain at the Black Lion

As the Derwen is my favourite route, and one I like to share with people new to trail centres, I will soon be back and this time I may remember my phone, DimExcuses.