We like a good list here at TWC, and today we’ve picked some of the top Welsh trail centres that, if you have never ridden them before, we encourage you to plan a riding trip to take them in this year.
There’s some cracking riding around Britain, and nowhere is this evidenced better than the honeypot of trails scattered across Wales. It’s not easy picking the five best, but we’ve given it a go.
Coed Y Brenin
This is the trail that, well over a decade ago now, started the whole trail centre revolution that has changed the way we ride bikes and view our sport. While other trail centres have come along and tried to wrestle the crown from Coed y Brenin, it’s still one of the best in our books.
There’s a good mix of smooth and downright rocky naughtiness on the selection of trails, and the two Black trails, Dragon’s Back and the Beast, are a stern test of any mountain biker’s skills and confidence on the bike.
Afan Forest Park
Afan is one of the oldest Welsh trail centres and its big trump card is its easy access (for most people) as it’s just a short drive from the M4 motorway. That means you can be there in 3-4 hours from London, for example.
Once there, there’s a good choice of trails. And there’s new stuff coming along, like the recently opened bike park which lies part of the way around the Wall trail. The Wall itself has had a couple of new sections added too which makes starting from the Afan car park more attractive than it has been for a while.
Further along the road, the Glyncorrwg centre is best for post-ride grub, and from here you can access all the same trails, but importantly it is the start of the ever-popular White’s Level trail. Want a big ride? The W2 links White’s and the Wall for a 44km romp around the forest.
Continue west from Afan to the end of the M4, keeping going a bit more and then head north, and you get to Brechfa. While it can’t boast any of the facilities of Afan (it’s basically just a car park and portaloo), it does make up for this with some of the best trail riding in Wales.
Top trail builder Rowan Sorrell was involved in the design and this shows, it’s got real character and plenty of flow. It makes good use of the natural terrain. There’s a red and black, or you can combine both for a big 40km adventure. Really worth the trip this one.
Nany Y Arian
Be sure to take in the view of the Red Kites that populate the valley below the car park before plunging into one of the nicest welsh trail centres. It’s not as techy or rocky as some other trail centres, there’s not much risk of getting your wheels high up in the air, but for a proper cross-country thrash this is a beauty of a trail. It’s plain good fun.
The two red trails are very good but a bit on the short side for riders wanting to stretch their legs. The longer black route packs in the distance and is a treat for fans of more natural trails than overly manicured ones.
We might draw some criticism for including Cwmcarn in here, but it’s such a good little trail that it is right up there with any must-ride recommendation.
It’s a corker of a trail, starting with a lung-busting climb that weaves through the forest and up the valley, before a mostly downhill second half brings you whizzing back along one of the most eye-opening sections of trail anywhere in Wales. If you’ve ridden it, you’ll know which section we're talking about. For anyone that hasn’t yet ridden here, you’ll know exactly what we mean when you ride it.
There’s only one trail here, and it has been like that for a very long time, but there are plans for another trail in the near future, so there will soon be even more reason to visit. If you live on the M4 corridor then you have the final and most note-worthy reason to drop by Cwmcarn – within two-and-a-half hours from London you’ll be riding.
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