Mountain Biking in Wales: Coed y Brenin

There are many opportunities for mountain biking in Wales. If you’re looking for some inspiration, one place to start looking is “mountainbikingWales“. This website provides links to 6 purpose built mountain bike centres and 7 mountain bike trail bases, including Coed y Brenin.

Mountain Biking in Wales.
Mountain Biking in Wales. Source Flickr by Leon Wilson.

Forestry Commission Mountain Bike Centres

There are five world class, purpose built, mountain biking centres maintained by the Forestry Commission. Each centre has several trials, suitable for differing abilities: from easy family trails, through moderate and difficult to severe. Each trail is way marked and it is possible to download maps too. All the trails are located in stunning countryside, but don’t admire the view for too long else you’ll crash your bike! The mountain bike centres often have facilities such as a bike shop, café, lounge area, open air deck, toilets, changing/shower rooms and car/bike parks. The centres are located at:

  1. Afan Forest Park, near Port Talbot, SA13 3HG
  2. Glyncorrwg, near Port Talbot, SA13 3EA
  3. Coed y Brenin, Snowdonia, LL40 2HY
  4. Cwmcarn, near Newport, NP11 7FA
  5. Nant yr Arian, near Aberystwyth, SY23 3AD

There are many other mountain bikes trails maintained by the Forestry Commission, so it is worth looking at the their website to find out if there are any that are closer to you.

Coed y Brenin Mountain Biking Centre

Coed y Brenin, or CyB as it is known, is located near the A470 between Bronaber and Ganllwyd. It was one of the first purpose built mountain bike centres in the UK and in 2006 it was re-vamped at a cost of £1.6 million pounds.

Coed y Brenin Mountain Bike Trails

Situated in the stunning countryside of Snowdonia, Coed y Brenin Mountain Bike Centre has no fewer than 7 dedicated mountain biking trails.

There is a single easy grade “Yr Afon“, there are no moderate grade trials, so its straight to difficult grade trails “Temtiwr“, “Tarw“, “MBR” and “Cyflym Coch“. If you have plenty of time, energy and the technical skills you could try the two severe grade trails, called the “Dragon’s Back” and “The Beast of Brenin“!

Yr Afon” is an easy route for the family or for those who are not really into cycling. It is a scenic route that follows the beautiful valley of the Mawddach river. Mainly on forest roads it is 10.8 km long, although you can take a short cut so that it is 7 km. There is little bit of climbing, about 100 m, some of which is over rocky ground. The estimated time for cycling Yr Afon is 1 – 3 hours.

Difficult Graded Trails at Coed y Brenin

There are four trails graded as difficult at Coed y Brenin Mountain Biking Centre, for which you will require proficient mountain biking skills, high levels of stamina and a good quality mountain bike. There will be climbs and descents, as well as technical trail features (TTFs) such as berms (i.e. a corner which goes round an embankment), large rocks, medium steps (with a height of 20 cm / 8 inches or more), drop-offs, cambers and water crossings.

The shortest of the difficult CyB trails is “Temtiwr“, which is 8.7 km long with a total climb of 170 m. It should take about 0.5 – 1 hour and contains fast flowing single track sections, technical rocky sections and long climbs. “Temtiwr” provides a great introduction to what is on offer for mountain bikers at Coed y Brenin.

The “MBR” and “Tarw” trails are similar in terms of distance, climb and duration. They are roughly 19 km in length, with a climb of over 400 m and should take about 1.5 – 3 hours each.

MBR” is a mainly open and flowing trail with long sweeping descents and demanding technical stone pitched sections. “Tarw“, formerly known as “Red Bull“, is mainly single track. It is a technically challenging trail containing twisting rocky descents and forest road climbs. Both the “MBR” and “Tarw” mountain bike trails are varied and technically challenging. Both are considered as classics!

The YouTube film below shows some of the downhill sections on “Tarw“. The technically challenging part is right at the very end of the film! 😉

With a distance of 10.8 km and climb of 200 m, “Cyflym Coch” pieces together some of the best fast flowing sections of the CyB trails. It has relatively short climbs and adrenalin fuelled single track descents. In terms of difficulty, “Cyflym Coch” is the bridge between the difficult and the severe trials. The duration is 1.5 – 3 hours.

Severe Graded Trails at Coed y Brenin

Dragon’s Back” and “The Beast of Brenin” are all day routes. Taking 3 – 6 hours each, you will require a high level of fitness and stamina. As with the difficult routes, a good quality mountain bike is required since the TTFs are large, committed and unavoidable!

Hailed as one of the best mountain bike experiences in Europe, Coed y Brenin’s “Dragon’s Back” is 31.1 km long with a climb of 710 m. Formerly known as the “Karrimor route“, the “Dragon’s Back” trail covers a wide variety of terrain including rocky technical sections, forest roads and lots of singletrack. There are huge climbs and fast, long sweeping descents!

With a distance of 38.2 km and climb of 1015 m, “The Beast of Brenin” is a combination of the “Dragon’s Back” and the “MBR” trails. Promising to be tough on you and your bike, you are advised to go prepared with adequate fluids, clothing and bike spares! Expect lots of singletrack, big rocks, tough climbs, fast descents and to be exhausted at the end!

The YouTube movie below shows “The Beginning of End” which is the final leg of the “MBR” trail. The soundtrack contains explicit lyrics, so please turn your speakers up or off as appropriate, and enjoy!

Review the Trails at Coed y Brenin

If you’ve been on any of the trails at Coed y Brenin let us know what you think of them. Use the comments link below to write a review!

Not Just Tents!

We haven’t started selling mountain bikes, but if you could do with mountain biking gear we have hydration packs and bumbags as well as baselayers and waterproofs!


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