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Triathlon in Carmarthenshire

Our brand new series of Travellers’ Triathlons aims to give you an exciting way of exploring the beautiful landscape on offer here in Carmarthenshire; making for the ideal fitness-themed holiday for those in search of an active break, or new challenge, in the great outdoors.

Comprised of three unique triathlon routes (The Pendine Path, The Coastal Challenge and The Riverside Route) each combines a swim or kayak, cycle, and run or walk in three different areas of the county; taking in lush valleys, green woodlands, flowing rivers and breathtaking beaches (to name a few!) The triathlons each work roughly to Olympic Triathlon distances and are designed to be completed independently, at your own pace. You needn’t be a fitness fanatic to take part either, as each can be adapted to suit fitness levels; with running routes easily walked, swimming routes swapped with kayaking or paddle boarding and route distances shortened.

These can be completed in one day as a fitness challenge or taken at a more leisurely pace over a few days, and elements from each can even be combined to create new triathlon routes personal to you- how you do them is entirely up to you!

Tri One - The Riverside Route

This route has the glorious River Teifi at its heart, combining a swim in the river itself with a run / walk and cycle along its riverbanks through the verdant Teifi Valley. You’ll visit the beautiful market town of Newcastle Emlyn en route, as well as the village of Cenarth - famed for its salmon, often seen leaping through the waterfall. Suitable for and adaptable to all fitness abilities. To follow the route, please follow the Google Map routes and detailed descriptions below (routes are not signposted).

SWIM / RIVER BOB / KAYAK - River Tiefi at Llandysul (750m)

Head to the north of the county and the River Teifi for the start of your triathlon, where the river route at Llandysul provides the perfect spot to begin your picturesque challenge. Due to the challenging nature of the waters, we suggest a guided swim with an expert from Llandysul Paddlers. Starting at Llandysul Paddlers centre, you’ll enter the river where there’s a beautiful 750m swim downstream as it flows through the Teifi Valley - seeing the glorious wooded riverbank with views to the surrounding mountains (go under the road bridge and finish just before the bend in the river). Those in search of a more leisurely pace can 'River Bob' or Kayak their way downstream, with equipment and guiding again available through Llandysul Paddlers. A self-guided kayak trail begins near the Canoe Club in Llandysul and exits at Llangeler (grid reference SN377393), approx 5.2km; recommended for competent kayakers only. Alternatively, those after a self-guided swim challenge can take the plunge in Llandysul lake on site at Llandysul Paddlers, where 8 full swim laps of the lake’s perimeter will total 1.5km in distance for a truly Olympic challenge.

Carmarthenshire Triathlon

CYCLE - Newcastle Emlyn Cycling Trail (24km)

Once you’ve dried off, don your helmet and head to the market town of Newcastle Emlyn in the far north west of the county for stage two of your sightseer’s triathlon - the cycle! Slightly shorter than the usual Olympic distance, this route is ideal for biking beginners or those in search of a more gentle pace. Start the trail at the town’s leisure centre, turn right out of the Leisure Centre and take the second left onto the A484. From here, you’ll leave Newcastle Emlyn via the A484; cycling along the beautiful Teifi Valley and following the River Teifi as it meanders along the valley floor. Continue along this road until you arrive at Cenarth - the perfect spot to take a break at the local teashop and take in the beautiful views of the river as it crashes over Cenarth Falls. Hop back on your bike and continue along the A484 towards Llechryd, when in the village turn left across the stone bridge (just around the bend to the right is the Carpenter’s Arms if you need another break), when over the bridge turn left again. From here, enjoy the cycle along quiet country lanes between the farmers’ fields of the verdant Teifi Valley until you reach the first junction, where you’ll turn left along the road to Penrhyw. Turn left at the junction in Penrhyw, where you’ll join the B4332, you then bare left at the next junction and bare left again at the next junction. Then take the second right turn off the B4332. Continue along this road for 2.5 km, then go straight ahead across the next junction and bare right after it. Follow this road for 2.6km, you will rejoin the A484, turn right at this junction and follow the road back into Newcastle Emlyn to complete your trip!

WALK / RUN - Newcastle Emlyn to Cenarth (11km)

The perfect way to round off your triathlon in the north of the county - a wonderful walk or run following a route from Newcastle Emlyn to Cenarth along the course of the River Teifi; 5.5km in distance (totalling 11km there and back). Beginning at the Castle in Newcastle Emlyn, a riverbank town with its own medieval castle built by the local Prince, take the riverside walk around the castle, coming back to the castle, then head to the town and turn right on Bridge Street. Then take a left after Gwesty’r Emlyn Hotel following the countryside path until you get to the A484. A deep pool in the river along this route called "Pwll Dafi Williams" is said to be the place where the last British Dragon was killed; shot by a poisoned arrow and subsequently drowning in the pool. Follow the A484 North turning 1st left at the Mormon Church (approx 1km from the town). Then at the fork in the path turn right, the walk will then take you through quiet countryside and through farmers’ fields, following the river valley to Cenarth; an interesting village famed for seeing salmon leap over its waterfalls. Pop into the Coracle museum and tea room for some great cake and tea before beginning your walk back to Newcastle Emlyn.

Carmarthenshire Triathlon


Tri Two - The Carmarthenshire Coastal Challenge

The breathtaking beach of Cefn Sidan (all 9km of it!) acts as your backdrop for this coastal triathlon challenge. After taking the plunge with a swim in the beach’s sparkling waters, you’ll head along the famed Millennium Coastal Path for the cycle portion of your challenge all the way to Bynea, before returning back to Cefn Sidan and Pembrey for a run or walk through the lush woodland of Pembrey Forest. This is ideally suited for those with a good base level of fitness. To follow the route, please follow the Google Map routes and detailed descriptions below (routes are not signposted).

SWIM - Cefn Sidan Beach (1.5km)

This fantastic swimming beach totals 9km in length, framed by golden sands and magnificent views out to Carmarthen Bay. Start your swim from the main beach entrance, heading north west (right as you look at the beach). From here, you’ll swim 750 metres until you see a second larger path coming onto the beach, turn back and start your swim journey back to the main beach entrance to complete your 1.5km challenge. With cool, wavy waters, the swim is sure to be a physical challenge; we recommend heading up to the Sidan Pub for a bite to eat or a refreshing drink after your water-based challenge!

CYCLE - The Millennium Coastal Path (45km)

Running from Pembrey to Bynea, this stunning ribbon of path along Carmarthen Bay makes for the ideal cycle route for those in search of a challenge with incredible sea views; at a 44km round journey it’s certainly not a cycle for the feint hearted either! Begin your ride at Pembrey Country Park Dry Ski Slope (bike hire also available here, please contact 01554 834443), after leaving the centre, turn right then left, then left again (caution here - narrrow busy road), follow the Millennium Coastal Path eastwards, taking you along the glorious Carmarthen coast. En-route you’ll pass sandy beaches, vast sand dunes, secluded bays, the picturesque Burry Port Harbour and vibrant Llanelli, with its Discovery Centre (and great cafe should you be in need of sustenance!). From there, you’ll follow the cycle path around Machynys Peninsula passing the 'Jack Nicklaus' designed golf course and the Welsh Wetlands Centre, continueing along the estuarine section of path until you reach Bynea. Here, you’ll see a bridge across the main road which marks the end of the route, turn back here and re-trace your path westwards along the Millennium Coastal Path to complete your 44km ride, finishing at Pembrey Country Park Dry Ski Slope.

Carmarthenshire Triathlon

RUN / WALK - Pembrey Forest (10km)

Once your cycle is complete there’s just one leg of the coastal triathlon to complete - the run - and what better a setting than the miles of glorious forest and beach paths of Pembrey Country Park. For a 10km route, head off from the cafe nearest the beach. Head inland from the cafe and start your run by turning first left and following the track behind the sand dunes. Run for 750m, path bends to the right, continuing for 200m, at the fork in the road bear left passed the nature pond. Continue for 300m, then straight ahead at the junction and continue into the trees for 1200m, before taking the 4th turning on the right. Continue along the track, taking the 2nd right after around 700m. Follow the track as it curves through the forest for approx 3.7km. Eventually you'll get to the main Country Park entrance road, where you'll turn right and follow this road (Factory Road) to the Park gates. Take the first left when in the Park (at the Ski Slope sign), then bear left and follow the road around to the right, which will bring you back to your starting point by the cafe, completing your run. The beach cafe is a great spot for a cold drink to reward your hard work!


Tri Three - The Pendine Path

This route focuses around Pendine - famed for its land-speed record attempts on the beach. After a swim, paddle board or kayak, you’ll cycle through the south-west’s many quaint villages before ending with a breathtaking walk along the headland on the Wales Coastal Path; where you’ll discover the beautiful hidden cove of Morfa Bychan. Suitable for and adaptable to all fitness abilities. To follow the route, please follow the Google Map routes and detailed descriptions below (routes are not signposted).

SWIM / PADDLE BOARD / KAYAK - Pendine Beach (1km)

One of the longest beaches in Wales, Pendine Beach is around 8 miles long and has long been used for land-speed record attempts due to its flat nature. Enjoy the spectacular beach scenery with a 1km swim challenge. From the slipway in Pendine, near the village square, walk onto the beach and enter the sea. From here, you’ll swim to the left (as you look out to sea); swimming up the beach in an easterly direction for 500m towards the MOD lookout point. Turn around at the MOD lookout point and swim back in a westerly direction towards the village. Exit the water near the slipway, and head back in to the village for a well-deserved drink! There are restrooms situated next to the car park which are large enough to use as a changing room. This route is fantastic for those keen to try their hand at paddle boarding or kayaking, too. We recommend doing this with a professional watersports company.

Carmarthenshire Triathlon

CYCLE - Pendine to St Clears (45km)

This fantastic circular route takes you through some of southern Carmarthenshire’s most glorious countryside, ideal for those in search of an epic cycle challenge that takes in some of the county’s best coastal towns and villages. Starting at Pendine, famous for its land speed attempts and fantastic beach you’ll head to Laugharne on the A4066 (7km), home of Dylan Thomas, where you can stop for tea at the poet’s famed Boathouse to drink in spectacular views over the Taf estuary. From here, take the A4066 to St Clears (7km) - where Phillip Hughes the Butcher makes the best pies in the county! Stay on the A4066 through St Clears, straight through the cross roads, then turn right at the fork in the road towards Llangynin (4.5km) then on to Llanboidy (5km) along the Llanboidy road. After Llanboidy village turn left at the junction and continue straight ahead until the road forks, where you'll bear left and follow the road to Whitland, where a walk around the Abbey and visit to Hywel Dda Gardens is a must. Leave Whitland on the B4328, travelling south towards Tavernspite (4.5km), at Tavernspite turn left onto the B4314 to Red Roses (2.5km), stay on this road to return to Pendine (7km) to complete your cycle.

RUN / WALK - Pendine to Amroth (10km)

From the beachfront in Pendine, climb to the top of Dolwen Point up the steps and continue over the headland and down the hill to Morfa Bychan. This secluded cove is dominated by a large obstacle used for practicing the D-Day landings and when the tide is out you’ll see tree stumps poking through the sand; the remains of a forest, drowned at the end of the Ice Age. Continue up the hill and onto the coastal path, following it along the clifftops and down to the beach at Marros Sands. Walk along the beach then turn right at the ruined Marros Mill and continue uphill onto the track through Marros Farm, continuing until you join the coast road at Marros Village (note the church and stone monument). Turn right after the church. Continue for approximately 1km, where on your left you’ll see a drive with standing stones (a short distance forward is the Green Bridge Inn if you need a break), turn right at the standing stones driveway and follow the footpath back down to Morfa Bychan, then return over the headland (on your left) to Pendine, to complete your walking challenge.

Carmarthenshire Triathlon