Skip to main content

Wales, with its dramatic landscapes and diverse terrain, is a haven for mountain biking enthusiasts. Whether you’re a seasoned rider or a novice looking for a thrilling adventure, the Welsh countryside offers an array of trails that promise excitement and breathtaking scenery. At Zixty, we understand the importance of flexibility, that’s why we provide temporary car insurance that lets you get cover from 1 hour to 28 days, perfect for a weekend getaway to spots not well served by public transport.

In this blog, part of a series on activity weekends, we’ll explore three of the top biking destinations in Wales: Coed y Brenin Forest Park, BikePark Wales, and Afan Forest Park.

Preparing for your trip

When planning a biking trip, a little preparation doesn’t hurt. Here’s a comprehensive checklist to ensure you’re ready for an unforgettable adventure:

  1. Have you checked your bike since the last ride? Check your tyres, are they worn? If you’re running tubeless, consider whether they might need some more sealant.  Brakes; do they need more mineral oil, new pads?
  2. All the gear: Make sure you have the necessary gear, including helmet, gloves, and appropriate clothing for the conditions. Taking any body armour? (probably still mouldering away in a plastic bag after your last session). Maybe bring a hydration pack and some energy snacks to keep you fueled during your rides.
  1. Don’t forget to pack tools (even that link extractor!), spare parts, and a first-aid kit. 
  2. Plan Your Route: Familiarise yourself with the trails at Coed y Brenin, BikePark Wales, and Afan Forest Park. Download maps and check trail conditions. 
  3. Accommodation: If you plan to stay overnight, book your accommodation in advance. Options range from campsites and B&Bs to hotels and guesthouses. Look for places that offer secure bike storage and hearty breakfasts to kickstart your day.
  4. Did we mention getting some temporary car insurance? Or not, if you’re already covered. 

1. Coed y Brenin Forest Park

Our first destination is Coed y Brenin Forest Park, located in Snowdonia National Park. Known as the birthplace of trail riding in the UK, Coed y Brenin offers a variety of trails catering to all skill levels. According to the Mountain Bike Wales website, the ‘technical rollercoaster riding will have you grinning like a fool’. Love it. 

Getting There

Borrow a car through Zixty and set your GPS to LL40 2HZ. The journey through the scenic Welsh countryside is part of the adventure, with rolling hills and charming villages along the way.

Exploring the Trails

  • The Beast of Brenin (Graded Black): This 38 km trail is a must for experienced riders. It features technical sections, challenging climbs, and thrilling descents, all set against the backdrop of Snowdonia’s stunning landscapes. The Beast is renowned for its demanding terrain and rewarding views.
  • The Dragon’s back (Graded Red). A 31km day ride that takes in most of the best bits of The Beast, with challenging rock sections, thrilling descents, and stunning mountain views. This classic trail surprises with its quality, starting hard to test your skills before easing into the dreamy flow of DreamTime. Traverse the majestic Douglas Firs in Big Dough, speed through Hermon, and conquer the big climb to the forest’s highest point. Enjoy five exhilarating downhill sections on the Adams Family trail as a reward for your efforts.
  • Yr Afon: Perfect for beginners, this 10.8 km trail offers a gentler ride with beautiful views of the surrounding forests and rivers. It’s an excellent introduction to mountain biking, with smooth paths and gentle gradients. One for all the family. 

The Coed y Brenin mountain bike trails are managed and maintained by Natural Resources Wales. Car parking at Coed y Brenin costs £1 for 1 hour, £3 for 3 hours or £5 for the day – the money collected goes towards maintaining and improving the trails.

2. BikePark Wales

Next on our list is BikePark Wales, located in the heart of the South Wales Valleys. This premier mountain biking destination offers a true downhill biking experience with over 40 trails to choose from.

Getting There

BikePark Wales is a short drive from Cardiff, making it a convenient destination for a day trip or a weekend getaway. Set your GPS to CF48 4TT and enjoy the drive through the picturesque valleys, with lush greenery and dramatic landscapes setting the scene.

Trails for Every Rider

  • Vicious Valley: A black-rated trail for expert riders, Vicious Valley features steep descents and technical rock gardens that will test your skills. It’s a challenging ride that demands precision and confidence.
  • Sixtapod: This blue trail is ideal for intermediate riders, offering a fun, flowy ride with plenty of jumps and berms. It’s perfect for honing your technique and enjoying some airtime.

Making the Most of Your Visit

Take advantage of BikePark Wales’ uplift service, which transports you and your bike to the top of the trails, allowing you to focus on the downhill fun. You can book the uplift service up to 3 months in advance. 

The park also offers coaching sessions, so you can improve your skills and tackle more challenging trails with confidence. 

The on-site bike shop and café are great places to refuel and chat with fellow riders. The Woodland Cafe sells everything from full Welsh breakfasts and burgers to tea, coffee and cake.

There is an onsite bike shop as well as a workshop that’ll get you back in the saddle if you have a mechanical. 

Bike hire is available on site but booking is recommended.

Free parking is available on-site. If you prefer to pedal up rather than use the uplift, a day entry fee applies, with all proceeds dedicated to maintaining and enhancing the trail network.

Contact Information:

For trail details, reach out to the BikePark Wales Visitor Centre at 01685 709450.

Address:

Gethin Woodland Centre
Abercanaid
Merthyr Tydfil
CF48 1YZ (please note, do not use this postcode for navigation)

3. Afan Forest Park

Our final destination is Afan Forest Park, located near Port Talbot. Known for its diverse and scenic trails, Afan Forest Park attracts riders from around the world.

Getting There

Afan Forest Park is easily accessible from Swansea or Cardiff. Set your GPS to SA13 3HG and hit the road. The drive through the lush Welsh valleys is a treat in itself, with stunning views and plenty of photo opportunities along the way.

Trail Highlights

Afan offers an unparalleled mountain biking experience, featuring everything from flowing singletrack through dense forests to exposed trails on open hills with breathtaking views, plus a Bike Park.

The mountain bike trails here total over 130km, supported by a continuous program of maintenance and development.

  • The Y Wal trail is a thrilling 24km singletrack loop with stunning views and exhilarating descents, including the notable Graveyard section and a blazing fast final descent.
  • White’s Level and Blade Trails offer some of the most technical sections in Afan Forest Park. Both start with a challenging climb out of Glyncorrwg, featuring an adrenaline-pumping mix of rock drops, step sections, berms, and traverses. White’s Level also includes an optional black run descent for more skilled riders, creating an exciting 17km loop.
  • For those looking to extend their ride, the top loop of the old ‘Skyline’ trail offers fantastic high (600m) and remote singletrack sections. Be sure to be properly equipped, as this loop takes you through remote areas with changeable weather conditions.

The forest park has two centres: The Afan Forest Park Visitor Centre with the Afan Valley Bike Shed shop and Trailhead Cafe, and the Glyncorrwg Mountain Bike Centre at the top of the valley with Afan a Blast shop and the fully licensed Corrwg Cwtch Cafe. 

Conclusion

Coed y Brenin, BikePark Wales, and Afan Forest Park offer some of the best mountain biking trails in the UK, each with its unique charm and challenges. With Zixty, you can get to any of these destinations using our flexible temporary car insurance options. 

So, gear up and embark on a mountain biking adventure in Wales. Whether you’re tackling the technical trails of Coed y Brenin, enjoying the downhill thrills of BikePark Wales, or exploring the scenic paths of Afan Forest Park, you’re in for an unforgettable ride. Happy biking!

To get going with Zixty, visit our quote page, or download our app (Apple AppStore and Google Play) to get started.  

Eco-friendly and community-oriented

If you’re concerned about how driving impacts your carbon footprint, we understand you completely. Where possible we recommend travelling by public transport, or if you really want to experience a place then use a bike or walk. However, when that’s not practical, by borrowing a vehicle rather than having your own, you are at least reducing your carbon footprint in one way. And here’s a little extra bonus for you; we plant a tree for every policy you take out with Zixty. If you sign-up to our Zixty Miles programme in the App we plant enough trees to carbon offset up to 100 miles of your journey each day you’re insured with us. Find out more about our partnership with Eden Reforestation by reading this article all about Eden. Or visit Eden’s own website.