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The 10 best places to ride a mountain bike in Wales

Cwmcarn

Cwmcarn is a purpose built trail centre in South Wales that offers two cross country and two downhill trails. It also offers a visitor centre, uplift service and camping facilities. The uplift and trails start from the car park, so you can just turn up and ride, and with it being located near Newport it’s the easiest riding spot in Wales to get to for those living in South England.

Currently the uplift service offers a morning on the Y Mynydd Black track, then a stop for lunch, followed by uplifting the Pedalhounds track in the afternoon. Y Mynydd offers a choice of lines – the red run and the black run, which both cross at points before joining for the lower section. This 1.9km trail allows you to opt for a line based on skill level and everything is rollable, but the challenge is there if you want it, with technical sections, drops, gap jumps and large tables. The descent should take about three to five minutes.

Pedalhounds is a combination of an older existing track and new bottom section that leads to the fire road near the visitor centre. The track is 1.4km and starts with a fairly flat rooty section which then leads out into another wooded section before dropping into some steep turns carved into the side of the hill. The bottom section offers plenty of drops, berms, roots and jumps. It takes around two to four minutes and is graded black. The video below shows Manon Carpenter having some fun on this new track…

The cross country trails, Cafall and the Twrch, both offer amazing riding and spectacular views. The Twrch Trail is 18km and is a mixture of open and flowing to technical and rooty trail. The initial climb is pretty hard going but the descents and views from the top more than make up for it. You can expect pure singletrack with a mixture of features and it should take around one and a half to three hours. Cafall is a newly constructed trail offering 14km of challenging, natural singletrack with technical descents and some remote riding with a 400m climb. It should take around two and a half to four hours. It is recommended you bring enough equipment to be self-sufficient as it takes you off the beaten track.

This is where Cwmcarn is…

How to get there: Signposted Forest Drive from M4, Junction 28 – Postcode: NP11 7FA

Uplift: www.cwmdown.co.uk
Camping: www.your.caerphilly.gov.uk

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