The Best Cycling Cafes in the Wye Valley and Forest of Dean

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Welcome to the very first report on the best cafés for cyclists, from our band of roving reporters. Although this is the first installment, it is just the start of the Wye Dean Deli Confidential guest reporter slots.

Today’s review is inspired by the members of the original Monmouth Wheelers, and their experience of more than 40 years of pedalling around our wonderful country roads, in search of a good coffee and re-fuelling stop. If you want to know where the really great cafés are, ask a cyclist.

The Monmouth Wheelers: our cycle cafe review contingency!
The Monmouth Wheelers: our cycle cafe review contingency!

Friendly family café for the hungry cyclist and non-cyclist alike

We start with a firm favourite in the heart of the Forest – the Dean Forest Cycle Hire and Cafe at Parkend – situated only a few pedal strokes from the restored station. Behind the cycle hire and repair business frontages this little gem of a friendly family cafe caters for everyone and is not the exclusive haunt of Lycra-clad cycling obsessives or rad muddy mountain bikers.

Time for a pick me up?
Time for a pick me up?

Family run business with everything a cyclist could ever need – including repairs!

Angela and Alex converted an old garage into this family business only 3 years ago, and are now one of the premier bike hire sites in the forest, with a great range of road and mountain bikes, helmets , clothing, maps and everything you might need to navigate the many cycle trails in the heart of the Forest of Dean. If you feel inspired, this is also a real bike shop, and there is a great range of off road, leisure and road bikes for sale, as well as lots of clothing and accessories.

Alex, bike expert, but also a latte artist!
Alex, bike expert, but also a latte artist!

They have created a very comfortable setting for both the café and the well equipped bike shop. There’s even a fully qualified bike mechanic available for any running repairs.

Back to the food!

But to the main point – the café! It’s open 9 – 5, seven days a week throughout the year, so you know that they will always be there when you need to stave off the bonk.

Grandma’s fruit cake: a fiercely guarded recipe
Grandma’s fruit cake: a fiercely guarded recipe

In summer, there is outdoor seating at the front and a small garden at the rear, where you can try one of 20 flavours of Marshfield Farm ice cream, specially imported from the Bath area.

Always a warm welcome

We have always had a warm welcome however wet, overheated or dishevelled we are, and can guarantee an excellent range of coffees from their pukka Italian style coffee machine. This is certainly one of the best coffees in the area and I’m told that the hot chocolate is “not too shabby” either. Their coffee is even popular enough for them to supply ready ground bags with their own logo!

You'll always get a warm welcome from the lovely Angela!
You’ll always get a warm welcome from the lovely Angela!

The café menu is simple fare with a good range of locally made cakes, freshly baked pasties, bacon butties and Belgian waffles, but the pièce de résistance is their best-selling Grandma’s fruit cake or for those in need of an extra boost Grandma’s high energy fruit cake with added goodies. They really are made by Grandma, although they do keep her well hidden – presumably to stop anyone getting the recipe.

Need to refuel on your cycle route? The Monmouth Wheelers know all the best places in the Forest of Dean and Wye Valley
Need to refuel on your cycle route? The Monmouth Wheelers know all the best places in the Forest of Dean and Wye Valley

Parkend is well situated in the heart of the Forest, and a good destination for a morning ride from Monmouth, Chepstow or Ross on Wye, or even for those more adventurous from further afield. The local roads are reasonably safe and traffic free, but be warned, you’re never too far from a challenging climb. And do look out for the rather gormless local sheep that enjoy resting on the roadsides, but only infrequently seem to move!

Stay posted for more on the best cafes on cycle routes from the Monmouth Wheelers!

To get there: Dean Forest Cycles and Café, New Road, Parkend, Gloucestershire | GL15 4HG 01594 368009 | contactus@deanforestcycles.co.uk

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