News and Blog

The 5 stars of South Wales’ mountain biking

Posted: 18 May 2012

South Wales is blessed with some of the best mountain biking trails in the UK and (some say) maybe even the world and Cognation is busy making them even better! So if you’re a newbie to the area or a die-hard fan of just one of the trail areas we’re going to tell you about all of the bike areas in one bite-sized blog post.

Here we go…

Afan Forest Park  

Encompassing the areas of Afan Valley and Glyncorrwg this is one of the most popular places in South Wales to ride. There’s over 130 km (80miles) of trails that can be accessed from two visitor centres. The most popular and well known trails are:

  • White’s level – 90% purpose-built singletrack, this is a red route and the most technical route in Afan Forest park
  • W2 – This is a BIG ride (like Skyline) at 44km and is a Black route
  • Skyline – Slightly less demanding than W2 but still a great ride for the experienced and fit.
  • Y Wal (The Wall) – Shorter than Skyline but still demanding with some of the best downhill sections in the UK

There’s also a low-level forest road route to offer a link between the trails or just a chilled out ride along the river.


This is the most westerly of the mountain biking centres in South Wales sitting at the end of the M4 motorway in Carmarthenshire. It offers some of the best riding for new-comers to the sport of mountain biking with green and blue trails but even the more experienced rider won’t be disappointed as there are also two fantastic red and black routes too.

Mountain biker at Cwmcarn Cognation Mountain biking centre South Wales
Cwmcarn is one of the 5 stars of South Wales' Mountain biking

Click the following for more info:


If you want serious downhill riding then Cwmcarn Forest is the place to come. There are three main trails all offering challenging riding over a mixture of terrain including berms, switch-backs, doubles, ‘rooty’ trails, and even a tunnel. There are also plenty of jumps but these can be avoided if your nerves are shot!

  • Y Mynydd – The red route with one downhill trail with the choice of two lines
  • Y Mynydd – The black route, the even more extreme version of the same trail as the red.
  • Twrch Trail  – A red route through thick woodland and sweeping views of the Bristol Channel

Cwmcarn is signposted ‘Forest Drive’ from the M4, Junction 28.

Gethin Woods

Gethin is currently under development but when it’s finished at the end of 2013 it will offer something for everyone with downhill, cross country, uplift, single track and a visitor centre.

The project costing £1.5 million is a joint effort between Cognation and MTB Trails South Wales, Bike Park Wales has been chosen to build and run the facility

Gethin  Woods bike park is being built just a few miles north of Merthyr Tydfil only a 40 minute drive from Cardiff.

Stay tuned to Cognation’s Facebook page to hear the latest developments or read more about Gethin Woods Mountain Bike park.

Brecon Beacons

If the Cognation Mountain Bike Centres  weren’t enough South Wales is also blessed with the Brecons! There are rides to suit people of all abilities and for the more adventurous if you can read an Ordnance Survey map and don’t mind crawling through the odd bog or carrying your bike occasionally you could also explore the rough trails of the Brecon Beacons too.

Here are a few suggestions showing the variety of established MTB trails available in the Brecon Beacons:

  • Talybont Forest – 18km (11miles), Blue route around the area of the Talybont Reservoir
  • The Gap – 38km (24miles), Red route through “one of the all time classics of the Beacons taking in the Brecon Canal, the Taff Trail, the Brinore Tramway and the very popular Gap Road”
  • Grwyne Fawr Reservoir – 51km (32 miles) A Black route for the experienced mountain biker that takes you through some fantastic Black Mountain MTB territory with a welcome pub stop on the route!

You can read more about these trails and loads of others on the Breacon Beacons National Park MTB website