Padstow to Pontsticill Forest


  • Padstow 5th June 2014
As with any departure from Padstow, I’ve a pleasant cycle along the Camel Trail towards Bodmin Parkway railway station. This time, an appointment with the Penzance to Paddington (London) train.
First, just the small obstacle of a fallen tree … not so small! No going over, no going round, so remove the panniers, drag them and bike under.
Camel Trail on-route to Bodmin Parkway railway station
Fortunately the summer is looking like a good’un and long may it continue!
Severn Beach station
From the Severn Beach end-of-the-line station stop I’ve a pleasantly flat cycle to the Severn Bridge.

Severn Bridge
As with any first day on the road, I’m always keen to set up my first nights camp early. I was up early … that’s a good enough reason!
Generally my camp routine is usually shabby and things take that little bit longer.
I'll find a way in!
Perfect, find a gap in a hedge, go check out the woods, then hurry everything in before someone drives past. Check for any signs of man and dogs having been around. No rubbish, is a good indicator!
Once in, I’m pretty much out-of-sight, out-of-mind! Works every time.
Not bad for a first nights wild camping
First mornings porridge’n’brew to kick start my first full day.
Fisrt morning porridge n tea
Not too soon after setting off, I meet this nice chap. He’s cycling from Holyhead back to his home in Kent. Ex. policeman, retired. At 55 … lifestyle!
Ex Policeman cycling Holyhead back to Kent
Nothing better than a coffee stop and a bit of cricket in Usk.
Cricket in USK
Village of USK
One can’t beat a quiet lunch spot in a church yard!
Normal lunch stop for me
Aways a use for an unused phonebox
Except for a few tiny hills, its been flat most of the way. And I expect it to continue as we (bicycle) join the Monmouthshire & Brecon Canal. Yippee!
WOW… what a way to cycle tour!
Monmouthshire & Brecon Canal - Barges
So much for none hills! As the canal cycle path is generally fenced off by farmers and frequented by walkers I really need to get well off track to find any respectable wild camping spot. This, then takes me looking in the only direction possible, and that’s up … bummer!
Somewhere near Llanellen
A spot is found. Very secluded and well away from even the noise of traffic in the valley below. It’s out there, you just have to work for it sometimes.
Cosy with it raining outside
The next day was, rain rain and more rain. Not going out in that! So a day of rest. Cycle two days, rest … why-hurry-me?
Plenty to keep me occupied. Lie in, breakfast, read (Kindle), listen to (iPod) a BBC Radio 4 Science Podcast. Generally along the lines of interstellar space, physics or travel (all downloaded before setting off). The Infinite Monkey Cage is a particular favourite, science’n’ laughs!
Firestarter - Prepare
This was the day though I didn’t have enough/bring meths (poor planning), to cook with, not drink!
So I set about finding some dry kindling and MAN.MAKE.FIRE!
All sorts of uses for my Trangia Stove.
Firestarter - SetFirestarter- Light
It all worked fine, just! Lots of cleaning though and now I smell of smoke. Not doing that too often. Plus, also increasing the odds that someone might see or smell the smoke and report me to the cops that there’s a hobo living in the woods. That’s a fair assumption!
Firestarter - Cook
Obviously no wild camping spot would not be right without the customary ‘poo’ station or better known as the ablution block!
Ablution block!
This trowel has got to be one of my best bits of kit!!!!


Video 1 0f 2
I certainly can’t fault the canal and infrastructure for it’s beauty. Impressed so far.
Glebe Wood
Route 46
Head north’ish!
The Valleys!
I’ve always heard it been said, “he’s from the valleys”. Now I know what they mean. A roller coaster of valleys in a row. With the loss of the mining industry, some of the old railway lines are now in use as walking/cycling trails.
Very pretty, but the towns seemed a bit, well tardy! I expect unemployment to have taken it’s toll, as this area was ALL once mining.
What’s becoming my customary lunch stops, Merthyr Tydfil offering me just that with obligatory photo opportunity … a church!
I’m aware looking at my map, that there’s plenty of forestry land further ahead, so it’s the time of day where my search for water begins. Pontsticill steam train station
Fortunately, no water shortage as I stop in at Brecon Mountain Railway which is settled on the shores of Pontsticill Reservior.
Pontsticill reservoir
Following a bridle way into the forest it’s not long before I find myself the right stop … deep into the woods of Narnia!
My idyllic tranquillity is soon turned into chaos as I pitch my tent … something snaps. OMG! I know this isn’t good.
Thread stripped. Duck tape holding!
Then at that precise moment, the heavens opened up. I’m now faffing around with trying to get Gorilla tape around the damage and I forget the inner of the tent is open to the extremes. Broken tent!
Five minutes pass and the rain clears, everything is drenched and I have three quarter of a tent standing. Well, at least it’s standing.
Next on cue is a legion of midges. So much for serenity!
Pontsticill forest
OH well … have a cup-of-tea and the world will be in harmony once more!
Tent broke while erecting, then rained heavily, then lots of midges!
It could’ve been  a lot worse, I could’ve been sleeping in a flat tent! Thank you Gorilla Tape.
Certain things a bicycle warrior should not be without and this is one of them, really is the STRONGEST out there. The other  don’t-leave-home-without, is zip ties.
  • Pontsticill Forest 8th June 2014

Map 1

Google Maps have very kindly changed their map building application. So have removed all my work from previous maps. Thanks! With that, I’ve implemented a new high-tech-system. Photograph my actual maps … SIMPLES!


You can click on each photo in this post for an enhanced Flickr view or the above Flickr slideshow for further photos.





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