A famous poet, a life-saving dog, a medieval fort and legendary museums all feature on a fascinating ride around Swansea. Starting at Swansea Bay’s iconic Waterfront and ending at the Loughor Bridge, this leg of the Legends Cycle Trail encompasses Swansea Marina and Waterfront, Clyne Valley Country Park and Loughor.
Dylan Thomas Centre, Dylan Thomas Statue, Swansea Museum, The National Waterfront Museum, Swansea Jack Memorial Statue, Clyne Valley Country Park, Loughor Castle.
If continuing from the Neath Port Talbot section of the route, the cycle path follows the A483 into Swansea and into the City Centre. Cross the Sail Bridge, near to the River Tawe Barrage (the first tidal barrage across a river in the UK) at grid reference SS66199291.
Your journey begins here at Swansea’s Waterfront featuring a five-mile stretch of sandy beach. Your first legendary spot is straight ahead of you at Somerset Place where you can discover more about Dylan Thomas, the world-famous Welsh poet at (a) Dylan Thomas Centre.
Next, head towards Swansea Marina on East Burrows Road for 450m towards Dylan Thomas Square (past the Attic Gallery and the Pump House) where you will find the (b) Dylan Thomas statue.
Now take a right along Burrows Place for 250m, past the Tramshed and along the Museum Green, to (c) Swansea Museum on Burrows Place.
Then cycle back across the Museum Green towards the (d) National Waterfront Museum.
From here re-join Cycle Route 4 along the Promenade and enjoy a picturesque cycle around the Marina and seafront at Swansea Bay. Stay on this route for 2.5km until you reach (e) Swansea Jack Memorial Statue.
Continue along Cycle Route 4 for 2.8km to Clyne Valley Country Park, where you will need to cross Mumbles Road (at a Pelican bicycle crossing) to pick up the route. Within its 700 acres you will find a varied landscape, from open and wooded hillsides, steep gorges and quarries to meadowland. Expect a great diversity of plants and animals - it’s a haven for bird watchers and you might spot grey squirrels, badgers and foxes. Clyne Quarry in the north provides spectacular views and the Clyne River weaves through the area, creating attractive lakes and ponds, along with some manmade water courses. From the start to Clyne Valley you will have covered around 6km.
Continue your journey (along Route 4), until you reach Gowerton, join Oakland Drive, Woodland and onto Gorwydd Road, past Gowerton Railway Station. At the Station, continue for around 1.3km on the B4295 and turn right onto Pont y Cob Road, which skirts the Burry Estuary where the River Loughor joins the sea. When you reach Loughor head towards the Castle via Culfor Road and through Parc William. This is an 11.5km ride and you will see (f) Loughor Castle ahead of you and to the right.
Pick up Cycle Route 4 across Loughor Bridge, from where you can start the Carmarthenshire section of the route at Bynea after approximately 4km (The Bynea Car Park is at SS554984 at start of Millennium Coastal Path)
LEGEND POINTS OF INTEREST
a) Dylan Thomas Centre
Enjoy a fascinating glimpse at the life of one of the world’s most famous writers. Hear the recognisable voices of celebrities including Prince Charles and Richard Burton as they read lines from some of Thomas’s best works. Explore the 'Love the Words' exhibition, and use the new interactive touch-screen displays that focus on the brilliance of Dylan’s technique, explore the notebooks he wrote in Swansea between the ages of 15 and 19, and learn about the tragic circumstances surrounding his death, aged just 39, in New York in 1953. dylanthomas.com
b) Dylan Thomas Statue
In the Dylan Thomas Square you’ll find a bronze statue of the writer, perched on a chair, gazing out over the Marina. The lines on the bronze plaque are from his poem Fern Hill. Behind the statue is the Dylan Thomas Theatre, home to his old company, the Swansea Little Theatre. There’s also a statue of Captain Cat, a character from arguably Thomas’s most famous work, Under Milk Wood, nearby.
c) Swansea Museum
Built in 1841 and the oldest museum in Wales, Swansea Museum is a treasure house of the ordinary and the extraordinary from Swansea past and present, including an ancient Egyptian Mummy, Roman Bone Comb and famous archaeology collection. You can also view a recently rediscovered 17th-century Flemish masterpiece that’s estimated to be worth around £3m. swanseamuseum.co.uk
d) National Waterfront Museum
The National Waterfront Museum in Swansea tells the human story behind Welsh industry and innovation, both modern and over the past 300 years. The museum has more than 100 audio visual exhibits, encompassing 36 brilliant state-of-the-art interactive displays and some large historic objects from across the country. Gems include a replica of the world’s first steam locomotive, a brick press and one of very few surviving railway coal wagons. museum.wales
e) Swansea Jack Memorial Statue
Black retriever Swansea Jack showed just how loyal a dog can be to humankind when, during his lifetime he rescued 27 people from the water around the docks and riverbanks of Swansea. He received a silver cup from the Lord Mayor of London for his efforts, and he is still the only dog to have been awarded two bronze medals (the canine VC) by the National Canine Defence League (now known as the Dogs Trust). When he died, aged seven, in October 1937, his memorial statue was paid for by public subscription. Refuel in the nearby 360 Café with fantastic views across the Bay towards Mumbles, before the next stage of your journey through Clyne Valley Country Park.
f) Loughor Castle
Loughor Castle was built around 1106 by the Anglo-Norman Lord Henry de Beaumont during the Norman invasion of Wales by recycling the remains of the Roman fort of Leucarum which was originally on the site. The castle is in ruins now, but is still an impressivem haunting sight. Look out across the Burry Estuary towards the coast of Gower and Carmarthenshire to appreciate the strategic position of this ancient site.