US member enquiring about conditions in the Cotswolds / Wales
I expect to be visiting Somerset in mid-summer, and I'm considering stretching that visit to include a bicycle tour of the Cotswolds and / or Wales. News of this past winter's storms and flooding did travel across the pond. Before any actual planning, it seems prudent to ask about conditions -- road and accommodations -- in both these regions, and whether either or both would be appropriate destinations for July, 2014.
Contrasting and comparing, subsequent to super-storm Sandy's visit to New York City in autumn 2012, bicycles proved to be an excellent mode of local transportation, but I don't think the impacted neighborhoods would have welcomed tourists. Further, the scope and pace of recovery varied significantly from neighborhood to neighborhood. I have no problem with impromptu changes of plans -- detours and alternate accommodations are fine -- but I can only guess about regional conditions after this past winter's storms, hence, asking for local guidance.
If, as I hope, these regions are resiliant, and a visit by bicycle to either or both the Cotswolds and Wales in July makes sense, do let me know.
While there was significant flooding in some areas such as the Somerset Levels this has subsided and conditions are back to normal, other than some very specific areas. Travelling in July there should be no more problems than normal.
The Cotswolds and Wales are both good areas for cycling, but I must admit to being biased, living in South Wales.
The Cotswolds has very pretty towns and villages, very quaint "olde English" and some rolling hills. Wales has much more varied terrain. The coastal areas around Pembrokeshire/Preseli mountains; the beautiful mountains/reservoirs of the Brecon Beacons & mid-Wales, and probably the most scenic & challenging area of all - Snowdonia/north Wales with its lakes and mountains. Plus there are the castles. If mountain biking is your thing there are also many trail centres and off-road riding opportunities.
Accommodation is plentiful, and internet searches will find plenty of Guest Houses, B&Bs and small hotels, but book early as things tend to get busier from mid-July, when the schools close.
To reiterate, you will not have problems travelling due to last winter's floods, we're fully open for business again.
Following up on this thread, I returned to the US yesterday evening after a delightful 3-week visit. Plans changed a bit. As expected, I did spend a week bicycling in the Cotswolds followed by a week in eastern Somerset. I didn't visit Wales. Instead, I spent an additional week noodling around Wessex.
I'd been aware of the network of (barely) single-lane roads, but on previous visits, I'd never experienced them. For bicycling, I found them ideal. Motor traffic was sparse, and what I encountered was skilled and courteous. Yes, I'm aware that's not universal, but it was my experience. Returning the favor, when my planned route led me to busier roads on which I was uncomfortable, I changed my route and went elsewhere.
Surprisingly, weather smiled on me. Mostly, it rained overnight, and on the one day with torrential downpours (last Saturday 19 July), I availed myself of an amenity you've sited at convenient intervals. You call them "pubs". When I saw cloud-to-ground lightning directly in my path, and counted the time between flash and crash -- it was about a mile ahead of me -- Somerset Arms in Maiden Bradley offered a prudent alternative and a friendly welcome. Another lunch stop worth mentioning is the Mells Café. As with the Somerset Arms, it's not the food or drink that was so outstanding though it was good; it was the welcome. And the Mells Café had a floor pump in the corner. No, I didn't need the floor pump, but these folks give more than lip service to opening their door to bicyclists.
Summarizing: I couldn't imagine a better way to enjoy southwest England. Thanks for the welcome.