Having quality mountain bike trails on your doorstep makes it easy to get out for a ride, it can make you a bit lazy when it comes to exploring new trails further afield.
Having registered for the British Cycling’s Mountain Bike Leader training and assessment, I headed out into the surrounding hills and beyond for a bit of exploration of natural trails.
A good starting point was the Wales Mountain Biking guidebook by Tom Hutton, published by Vertebrate Publishing, with some additional guidance from the Flattyres-MTB Routes website. Further inspiration was found with an annual subscription to Ordnance Survey’s online mapping.
Coed y Brenin itself has some hidden gems around its outskirts, away from the waymarked trails known and enjoyed by many. There are passes that in spring are covered in bluebells, and I was lucky to hear the cuckoo calling there as well.
There are plenty of routes heading west, leading to forested cwm’s, llyn’s and bwlch’s, some with easier riding than others, but all good to explore. The classic route to Pont Scethin lies beyond, and it is possible to link this route up for a long day out from Mostyn Cottage. For a quicker route west, there is always the Mawddach Trail, a delightful and flat route along the shore of the estuary that will lead you to the Barmouth Bridge, or you can head south and climb the foothills of Cadair Idris and the endless routes beyond. You can always cross the shoulder of the mountain and then ride to the summit, if feeling energetic, perhaps a route for a long summer day.
North from here heads up the Sarn Helen to Trawsfynydd and beyond. This can be linked with single track roads for an infinite variety of rides, only limited by your time.
Jumping in the car to get to the start of a ride opens up a massive number of rides, just a short drive away. There are the Berwyn Mountains, and the classic ride past the Wayfarer Memorial and through the many surrounding villages, and other smaller ranges such as Moel Famau in the Clwydian Hills, or around Foel Fadian just south of Machynlleth. If you carry on south from here, mid Wales has a massive amount of riding in sparsely populated, rolling green hills to keep you occupied for a lifetime.
If you like your mountains big, then you can ride from the Ogwen Valley into the Carneddau, or tackle the ascent of Snowdon (but make sure you don’t break the curfew)
If you want a break from navigation, there are plenty of trail centres and routes worthy of your time, from a quick blasts to longer testing rides.
There is the rugged beauty of Penmachno and the nearby Gwydir trails, both close to the tourist hotspot of Betws y Coed. Further north, Hiraethog/Llyn Brenig has some options that can be joined up with some of the natural trails mentioned above, and south of here, above Corris, the Climax Trail is a well marked introduction to the Dyfi Forest.
Coed Llandegla is a popular destination for guests here at Mostyn Cottage, normally on route to or from us, but the downhill tracks at Antur Stiniog are a short drive away and offer a different experience to the Coed y Brenin trails.
All the trail centres and riding bases are detailed on the MBWales website, an excellent resource for those looking to enjoy some of the best mountain biking Wales has to offer.
If all the riding above is a bit too much, you can rest assured the riding here at Coed y Brenin will keep you entertained, especially when you can “ride from your door”.
If any of the mentioned rides are of interest to you, don’t forget we can offer you the services of a British Cycling Mountain Bike Guide, just drop us a line to discuss your requirements at firstname.lastname@example.org