The original, and some say the best, Coed y Brenin was the first trail centre to be built in the UK, dating back to the early ‘90s. Based in Snowdonia National Park, North Wales, this is the largest trail centre in the UK, boasting no less than eight dedicated mountain biking trails, plus a great skills area, and hiking and running trails too.
Do you love rocky trails? Drop offs, rock gardens, technical climbs, flying around huge berms and snaking between the pines on skinny singletrack? If this appeals then you’re in luck at Coed y Brenin. There’s plenty more great features too, with incredible waterfalls to marvel at and even some huge natural rock slabs to challenge you.
Designed to welcome visitors from all over the world, the trail centre has everything you could need for a great day out. With excellent nearby accommodation options catering for mountain bikers, there’s no reason why you couldn’t make a weekend or holiday out of your trip either.
There’s a large café at the circular trail centre building, an extensive bike shop and workshop called Beics Brenin, which offers hire bikes and there’s also a dedicated running shop. You’ll find toilets, showers, and a bike wash at the visitor centre too.
Back to the trails, and boy there’s a lot of them! The blue MinorTaur trail is a fab, flowy option that’s great to help beginner riders grow confidence and skills, and the Yr Afon green family trail is a very pleasant short cycle from the hub. Beyond those, the red and black trails feature pretty technical sections and are well-known for being incredibly rocky, which makes Coed y Brenin a popular choice for experienced mountain biking enthusiasts.
The three red trails: Temtiwr (tempter), Cyflym Coch (red fox), and Dragon’s Back vary in length from a short 5.4 miles (8.7 km) to 19.3 miles (31.1 km), which you can anticipate to take between half an hour and five hours. There are frequent fire road options which can get you back to the trail centre if you feel like you’ve bitten off more than you can chew. It’s well worth downloading these routes offline before you go though, just in case phone signal is lacking in the valleys.
There are also three black trails to choose from; MBR (11.4 miles / 18.4 km), Tarw du (black bull) (12.6 miles / 20.2 km) and the mighty Beast (23.7 miles / 38.2 km). MBR and Beast both take in parts of the red trails, and the Tarw Du, the very first trail built at Coed y Brenin, heads across the main road into the woodland on the opposite side of the valley.
Besides the miles upon miles of built trails and rocky features at the trail centre, you’ll also find a brilliant skills area, named The Foundry. There are four parts here, and all feature progressive lines from blue to black, stepped drop-offs, berms and a freeride area.
Getting to the Coed y Brenin visitor centre is easiest by car, and there’s plenty of pay and display parking there, although overnight parking is not permitted. The trail centre is a 40 minute drive from Machynlleth train station. There’s plenty of accommodation nearby from hotels to guesthouses and bunkhouses that cater specifically for mountain bikers with secure bike storage, drying rooms and bike wash facilities.
Easily the most popular trail at Coed y Brenin, the blue-rated MinorTaur loop is an excellent starting point for novice and intermediate mountain bikers. There are four loops to the trail, so you can do as little or as much as you like, although the full trail here totals 7.7 miles (12.5 km).
Starting from the trail centre hub, head …
The shortest of the three red trails on offer at Coed y Brenin, follow the bitten apple signs to ride Temtiwr, which translates to Tempter. Expect this route to take between half and hour and an hour, depending of course on how much you stop for a breather or to session sections of the trail.
If you’re happy with the …
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Translating to the red fox, the Cyfl ym Coch trail is the second of the red trails at Coed y Brenin. It starts the same as Temtiwr, before crossing the river to take in a couple of brilliant, fast flowing trail sections on the other side of the valley: Uncle Fester and Pink Heifer.
Get into the spirit of the …
The third red trail at Coed y Brenin is a monster at a whopping 19 miles (30.6 km) long. Dragon’s Back mixes technical, rocky climbs and descends, such as Pinderosa and The Beginning of the End, with long fire road sections, so it’s a great choice for riders that enjoy pedalling as well as those who enjoy the more tricky …
Named after the popular mountain biking magazine, MBR may be the shortest of the black-rated trails (severe) at Coed y Brenin at 11.6 miles (18.8 km), but don’t let that fool you, it’s tough! You should only attempt this trail if you’re an experienced mountain biker, as there are several unavoidable technical trail features.
Follow the little yellow MBR plaques …
Unlike the other two black trails at Coed y Brenin, which are an extension of the red routes, Tarw Du heads to the other side of the valley, across the main road on totally new trails. Translating to the black bull, this was the original trail at Coed y Brenin, and therefore the first trail centre trail in the UK. …
The Beast of Brenin trail, more commonly shortened to Beast, is the longest trail at the forest park at 21.7 miles (34.9 km) long. Although all the trails that it combines from MBR and Dragon’s Back are red-rated, it’s the length of this loop that earns it the black trail rating. You’ll need to be an experienced mountain biker to …
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