Coed y Brenin

Six new waymarked gravel/adventure cycle routes are coming to Coed y Brenin.

An exciting new trail development opens at Coed y Brenin on 25th May, with six new fully signposted routes from 9.5 to 36km, designed to appeal to a broad range of cyclists looking for adventure.

Coed y Brenin is the birthplace of the mountain bike trail centre, it’s trail network and purpose-built visitor centre pioneered a model of trail development that spread across the globe. This May, its network expands to include over 100km of additional new gravel/adventure cycling routes and it is hoped these new trails will attract many who are new to cycling and existing cyclists who are seeking an experience that is different to the one already offered by the MTB trails that the centre is famous for.

The forest and surrounding area here are steeped in local legends and folklore and some of these tales have been chosen to name the new routes. These stories will now be used to guide visitors on their own adventurous journey through the spectacular natural landscape of this part of Eryri.

 

6 New routes from 9.5 – 36km

The routes vary in their distance and level of challenge. From the easy Coblynnau at 9.5km to the challenging Y Wrach Wen at 36km there are trails to suit all fitness and ability levels. The shorter trails are perfect for novices, young riders, and families to enjoy while the longer routes will appeal to more experienced riders and contain sections of a more technically challenging nature including some hike-a-bike.

For those looking for an even bigger challenge, the two longest routes can be easily combined to make an epic 55km route with enough climbing and descending to keep even the most trail hardened of gravel hammerheads happy.

 

Development

Seeing a surge of in interest in cycling during the pandemic, Natural Resources Wales’ (NRW) Coed y Brenin Recreation Team witnessed increasing number of new cyclists wanting to access this spectacular forest by bike. The idea for these routes came about from a desire to meet the needs of a growing number of new riders alongside a desire to provide something more challenging that would excite the more experienced gravel riders already out there.

NRW recognised this as a great opportunity; by diversifying the offering at Coed y Brenin they have set out to offer an inclusive year-round cycle experience. This will encourage even more people to find adventure and escape in this stunning part of Wales, helping to support local businesses.

When combined, these additions amount to over 100km of new way-marked routes, many miles of which are perfect for those who just want to get out and enjoy the beauty of the forest and surrounding mountains by bike.

The trails largely make use of existing forest ways and gravel roads, and have been carefully crafted by the NRW team to offer a different kind of cycling experience that is an alternative to the existing mountain bike trails that Coed y Brenin is best known for.

 

Andy Braund, NRW’s Recreation Ranger for Cycling & Mountain Biking in North West Wales, said: "We are excited to offer our visitors six new cycling trails. By waymarking our existing forest road network, bridleways and permissive ways, into easy-to-follow routes; we have created an offering for a wide range of visitors and locals to enjoy.

“These new routes cater for families that want to have a picnic by the river, recreational cyclists, and the more adventurous gravel rider. It will allow them to explore one of the most beautiful forests in Eryri National Park with fine views of the surrounding mountains and full of historical mine workings and old farmsteads.”

 

No MTB necessary

Unlike the MTB trails, you will not need a dedicated mountain bike to enjoy these rides. These trails can be enjoyed on many more bikes, including drop-bar gravel bikes or even hybrids with suitable tyres although the more demanding routes contain some steep or uneven sections where it may be necessary to walk your bike. However, good notice is always given on signs and anything tricky is clearly noted on the accompanying route guides available for each trail.

 

Grab & Go gravel

For the growing number of gravel riders in the UK, these routes will provide an easy grab-and-go ride experience. They are mapped and fully signposted so you can forget about .gpx files or route planning. The visitor centre also makes the perfect HQ for a ride, with café, toilets and changing rooms, free ebike charging points and plenty of other activities on offer including walking & running trails and a children’s play area.

 

Launch event – 25th May

The trails will officially open on 25th of May. To celebrate the occasion, Beics Brenin have partnered with Trek and Rab to offer some great prizes including the star prize of a Trek Checkpoint ALR 4 gravel bike. There will also be some great spot prizes up for grabs including Rab Cinder gravel rain jackets. Rab will also be attending on the day to show off their Cinder range of clothing that is perfect for cycle adventure.

To be in with a chance of winning, you need to do two things:

  1. Be over 16 on the day of the event and register for information about the trails and launch on the link that can be found here: https://www.beicsbrenin.co.uk/adventure/
  2. Come along, check in, and ride one of the new trails on the launch day (25/5/24).

On the day, representatives from NRW will be on hand to answer questions about the new trails and share some of the local legends that inspired the naming of the routes. They will have their hands full until then as Coed y Brenin trail team are busy working to to install the network’s many new signs and way-markings. It’s no small undertaking with over 80 new posts being added along with many more new route markers being carefully fitted to existing posts.

 

Trail information, guides and maps

All the individual route guides and maps are now available to download from Beics Brenin’s website here: https://www.beicsbrenin.co.uk/adventure/

The guides feature information about the route including information on the distance and the level of fitness/technical challenges to expect. Each also contains a route profile and map with detailed information on the trail and trail features & hazards clearly marked.

There is also an additional A3 all-route map that shows every routes on one page. This is a useful addition to assist with extended route planning. A printed pack of all the maps is also available to purchase from the visitor centre at Coed y Brenin.

 

Toby Bragg, of Beics Brenin/Summit Cycles, Coed y Brenin’s trailhead bike shop and hire centre said: “These routes are a really exciting addition to the trail network at Coed y Brenin. We have seen a huge growth in gravel in recent years and have long recognised the potential for gravel riding in this location. All credit to NRW, it took a great deal of hard work, sweat and dedication to make this happen and to do it at a time when budgets are limited is even more impressive. They’ve done a fantastic job too. These trails take riders to some of the most spectacular and remote parts of the forest and really offer something that is very different to the experience the MTB trails offer.”

“What is most exciting is what the trails offer to new riders, ebike rider and families. The routes are great for anyone who just wants to get out and enjoy the forest by bike. We encounter a lot of cyclists now, who have ridden their local leisure routes and cycle paths, and want more of an adventure. For these riders, these routes will be perfect. A chance to get fully immersed in the beauty of the forest with all those spectacular views of the Rhinogs and Cader Idris, but without having to go through the mucky shakedown you get riding many MTB trails.“

 

Guy Kesteven of @GuyKesTV visited for a preview of the trails, riding the longest route ‘Y Wrach Wen’. - “a stunning day out and a great addition to Coed y Brenin”, Guy Kesteven

See the full video here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8ady8psW8gs

Visit the new Beics Brenin gravel trails information page: https://www.beicsbrenin.co.uk/adventure/

Press release from Natural Resources Wales https://naturalresources.wales/about-us/news-and-blogs/news/new-adventure-trails-launched-at-coed-y-brenin/?lang=en

Additional photo assets are available to download and use for articles that feature or promote the new trails or the launch event. These are available here:

https://drive.google.com/drive/folders/1y9kx7FqMyJy-34cmt1ROEkToG5w2PgWV?usp=drive_link