MTB : Where to ride in Wales
Mountain Biking: A Welsh Guide to Winter
When the sun starts to fade and the rain starts to become an ever present phenomenon there are still some epic places to get out and enjoy your bike all year round. Wales certainly doesn't fail when it comes to mountain biking the rugged terrain and national parks lay host to some of the best riding spots in the UK. Here are my top five riding destinations in Wales.
Bike Park Wales
Number of trails: 36
Bike Park Wales (BPW) has quickly become one of the UK’s leading bike parks its speciality in design from complete beginners right up to seasoned pro’s. Here is the lowdown of what the place offers;
36 trails from green to double black.
Uplift service (£32.50 day pass)
On site cafe and bike shop
Ample on-site parking.
Open all year round.
Bike Park Wales is a one stop shop for your mountain bike needs. There is a range of trails with an uplift service for when the legs get tired or if you fancy letting the hammer.. maybe on a hire bike! You can even borrow a Go-Pro to document the days antics. The variety of trails is a major pull for BPW as there are few places in the UK which provide anywhere near the same trail offerings.
Number of trails: 8
Coed-Y-Brenin (CYB) is located in the heart of Snowdonia, North Wales. The trail centre has been historically described as the mountain bike mecca and was Britain's first trail centre. The trails are busy all year round but with plenty of parking and lengthy loops it’s easy enough to avoid any ques! Whilst there is plenty of recreational riding CYB also hosts cross country and enduro events which highlights its popularity from amateur to event organisers.
Range of trails from green to black.
Cafe, parking and bike wash on site.
Open 7 days a week
Park up and ride
The Northern alternative for BPW, even without an uplift service there is plenty of riding to keep one entertained for a weekend. Focussed more towards trail and cross country riding a downhill bike may well be overkill. The centre has hosted a number of enduro events in recent history which has opened the centre up to a new style of riding moving away from a well groomed trail over to a more natural and backcountry riding experience.
Number of trails: 13
Llandegla is again a well established trail centre servicing the very Northern tip of Wales and neighbouring parts of England. The popularity of the trails is seen on summer days when even the overflow carpark is filled to the brim. There is an onsite cafe, bike shop and information centre run by One Planet Adventures who also provide excellent aid when a crash turns serious (fortunately I was not on the receiving end of that myself!). The important bits are;
Open all year round although the car park is locked shortly after the centre.
12 month season passes are available for the car park for repeat visits.
On site shop, cafe and information.
Variety of cross country focussed routes.
Skills and freeride park.
Llandegla Forest is well known in the cross country racing scene, the trails have cultivated professional up and coming talent from neighbouring areas. Now lycra is a little far for me however it’s fair to say it produces quite the attraction on the weekends. Staff in the centre are very helpful and there is a bike shop to keep you rolling. A must visit.
Nant Y Arian
Number of trails: 4
Nant Y Arian (NYA) caters for much of Mid-Wales in its location close to Aberystwyth. The forest park is not only a mountain bike attraction but also for hiking and bird watching witnessing the famous Red Kite feeding. The trails cater from amateur to professional varying in length and technicality. The centre has just invested heavily in a new skills area which is access directly from the centre.
Open all year round.
Play areas for kids and other outdoor activities on site.
Cafe and visitor centre.
Varying trial lengths.
New skills park.
NYA offers a family friendly location which can easily cater for a weekends energy, whilst there are excellent trails on offer there is also other recreational activities which can keep the MTB haters at bay. The new skills area was opened by the famous Atherton family earlier in 2017.
Number of trails : 4
With the development of BPW Cwmcarn is another one stop shop for your mountain biking needs in South Wales. 5 minutes off the M4 it’s ideally situated on the M4 corridor and boast both trail riding and uplift service. Not only does it have the riding opportunities it has onsite accommodation for weekend adventures.
Natural and bike park trails
Cafe, bike shop and visitor centre on site.
Open all year round.
Cwmcarn is an excellent uplift service which runs directly up a tarmac road, the trails are regularly maintained and offer a variety of mixed trails. The forest park is an excellent base for riding a number of more off piste riding in the neighbouring valleys although is very easy to get lost! The uplifts run on weekends and the summer it’s always worth jumping on the uplift at the end of the day to save the weary legs!