Closest Town: Newcastle
Grading: Moderate | Duration: 2 - 3 hours
Location (Area/Province): Berg, Bush & Battlefields, and KZN - Natal
Configuration: 2 - 3 hours
Start Point: Pint and Pigout car park
Access: No fee
Beware of: Farm dogs
Cell Reception: Yes
A trail suited to moderately fit riders with some steep climbs, stunning views, single track, river crossings and a few steep descents.
On your bike
Leave the Pint and Pigout (a favorite watering hole) car park and travel along neighbourhood roads to Memel Road. There is quite a steep climb up on to the plateau for the next 10 km’s. At the top there is an awesome vista of the Drakensberg escarpment with a panoramic view of the route. Continue on a dirt road called the D495 which descends past a dam to the left and then back up past the Brink’s farmhouses. Pass three more farmsteads and the first river crossing.
At the end of the D495, which ends at a group of laborours’ houses, take a sharp right, go down a small valley and then progress up a short hill to the first farm gate. After the gate the “White Knuckle Alley” begins with a quick and rutted descent down to a stream. This is the beginning of the single track which skirts a wattle plantation.
Shortly thereafter are two more river crossings with the latter offering an impressive view over the escarpment.The trail then progresses towards a further farmstead with another small river crossing and two more farm gates- watch out for the farm laborours’ dogs who often enjoy racing the bikes! The ride then follows the farm access road until it junctions with the D96. At this point the route goes left and follows this road back into town.
For further stunning views of the mountains and back over town, a right turn will lead you up a steep climb to the top of Government’s Kop. The D96 follows the flood plane making the last section of the route fairly fast. Towards the end of it, the road passes Fort Amiel which has stood guard over Newcastle for both of the Anglo Boer wars.
After a short climb and decent, the D96 links back to the Memel road. Turn right and then left at the T-junction of the road with Allen Street. Take this route to the KFC (a source of sugar if one feels up for an icecream) and then turn left up the hill into Victoria Street and back up to the Pint and Pigout.
Off the bike
There are a number of memorials and monuments and is steeped in battlefield history. The nearby Chelmsford Nature has a wonderful variety of wild game and birding opportunities, fishing and watersport on the dam.
Telephone +27 (0)34 315 2468
GPS: 27°45′00.0″ South / 029°56′00.0″East