Top 5 Mountain Bike trails in Wales
For mountain bikes, Wales is something of a Mecca and the number of classic trails located in the lush green valleys and forests grows every year. Almost every forest or scenic bit of the country seems to cater for mountain bikers and the sport has become a major tourist draw for the area. These purpose-built loops make things easy with clearly marked routes usually centred around a visitor centre with a car-park and café. The tricky thing is choosing which route to tackle. Here are some of our suggestions:
1. Afan Forest Park
You can either start the Afan Forest Trails from the Afan Forest Park visitor centre or the Glyncorr Mountain Bike Centre and there are routes to suit all technical abilities, ages and levels of fitness. We started from Glyncorr and tackled the black runs of the The Wall (24km) and White’s Level (17km), which took the best part of a day and consisted of sustained single-track runs through forest combined with technical rocky sections. You’ll need a reasonable level of fitness and a decent bike to tackle these runs, but the purpose-built trails are superb with many high level vistas to admire while you’re catching your breath and rehydrating. There are over 100km of trails to ride here, so you’ll need a full weekend to tackle them all.
Glyncorr Mountain Bike Centre
The Glyncorrwg Ponds
Port Talbot SA13 3EA
Tel: 01639 851900
2. Brecon Beacons
Offering over 14 official routes, the Brecon Beacons National Park offers a wide range of trails, ranging in length from the 8km easy yellow Visitor Centre route to the 51km Grwyne Fawr Reservoir route, which is cheerily listed as a ‘killer black route’! There are several hubs around which the majority of the Brecon Beacon trails run through, with the most extreme route starting from the Talgarth hub and rising up to heights of 700m with lots of tough technical sections. For a more family friendly experience, we’d suggest you head to Brecon itself where you’ll find three routes aimed at everything from novice to experienced riders.
Brecon Beacons Visitor Centre
Brecon LD3 8ER
3. Coed Llandegla
A great place to start your cycling adventures can be found in Wrexham, North Wales, at the Coed Llandegla Forest. For starters, you’ve got a visitor centre with a café and bike shop – you can also hire bikes from here, too. The routes on offer include a 5km family challenge route which is aimed at giving novice riders more confidence in their off-road riding skills, a 12km blue beginner route and, for more experienced riders, an 18km red intermediate route. They also offer a more hardcore 21km black route.
Coed Llandegla Visitor Centre
Wrexham LL11 3AA
Tel: 01978 751656
If 30km of single-track trails winding through the picturesque Snowdonian National Park doesn’t sound appealing to you then you probably need to consider another hobby! The trails are split into two loops – the Dolen Machno (19km) and the Dolen Eryri (11km), and can be tackled individually or as one larger loop. To get to the trails head along the A5 and take the B4406 to Penmachno. Drive through the village and carry on for about 1km. The trailhead is up the forest track on the right and the postcode is LL24 0YP.
One of the first forests to be developed into a purpuse-built mountain-bike trail, Coed-y-Brenin has the reputation of being one of the classic trails. It offers a variety of routes ranging from easy family routes to more daunting expert trails. The singletrack routes include the ‘Falseteeth’ and ‘the Cavity’ drop, all set against an impressive Snowdonian backdrop. For 2013 they’re developing a range of skill trails designed to improve your technical riding skills. There’s a café – complete with a balcony overlooking the forest – and a bike shop at the visitor centre, which is found by using this postcode in your Sat Nav: LL40 2HY
Tel: 01341 440747
Want to know more about things to do in Wales?
See our suggestions for the top sights, here.
Fancy something different? See the six weirdest Welsh activites, here.
We've also got some great Welsh travel features in the May 2013 issue of MMM.