Nestled in a nook between the Hawequa and Groenberg Mountains, Wellington dates back to the seventeenth century and was once known as Limiet Valley, as it was on the border or frontier of the Dutch’s Cape Colony. Now it is famed for its wine, vine rootstocks and, of course, mountain biking trails.
When French Huguenot settler farms first started to spring up, in what today is Wellington, the region quickly evolved from Limiet Valley to Val du Charron or Wagenmakersvallei (Valley of the Wagonmaker). The former name is honoured by the Val du Charron wine estate, which the Absa Cape Epic traverses on each of the three stages which finish at CPUT’s Wellington campus.
The town remained an informal cluster of farmsteads, churches and businesses until 1840 when the municipality was established. It was then that it was renamed Wellington; in honour of the 1st Duke of Wellington, Arthur Wellesley. Both the Western Cape town and the capital city of New Zealand owe their name to the British success at the Battle of Waterloo which took place 25 years before the official foundation of either.
Though a renowned wine region in its own right Wellington is pivotal to the South African viticultural industry as it is where 80% of the country’s vine nurseries are located. These nurseries supply grafted, phylloxera-resistant, rootstocks which not susceptible to the aphid like bugs which feed on the roots of vines leading to deformations and the gradual reduction of nutrient uptake from the soil.
Wellinton’s mountain biking heritage runs as deep as their well-established rootstocks. The town boasts the Wild Boar Trails to the north east as well as easy access, via a 15 kilometre road ride to the south, to the Paarl Mountain trails. Both trail networks are part of the wider Wine Lands Trails.
Visit Wellington: www.wellinton-info.co.za
Route Director's Tip
Straight away there’s the longest climb and the longest descent of the day. Then the fun stuff starts. We linked up the very best around Meerendal so it’s worth really savouring these trails and enjoying the moment – the time you’ll make up by racing full gas has minimal rewards compared to the rest of the week.