September 26, 2011
We’ve just seen news of a planned trail centre development in North Wales, although instead of the more usual green and brown pine forest it looks like the spoil heaps of slate quarrying will be the background to the four new downhill trails, blue grade XC trail and skills area that are planned for near the village of Blaenau Ffestiniog.
The four downhill tracks will be serviced by a dedicated uplift road and there are plans for a full time uplift provider as well as potential for a cafe and bike hire centre on the site. Being built on an open hillside above Tanygrisiau, the trails will be exposed to the force of the Welsh weather, although the ever-useful Wikipedia does say that the area has “relatively mild weather considering its location high in Snowdonia. However rainfall in the upper end of the Ffestiniog valley can be very high all year around” so we imagine dust will be a rare visitor.
Fun shouldn’t be, as the plans are being drawn up by Architrail, the Bristol based mountain bike trail design company led by Phil Saxena, well known for his work on the World Cup 4X circuit. The site should add to the long list of quality developments currently in North Wales, being based only 30 miles from Betws Y Coed, Penmachno, Coed Y Brenin and the downhill track at Nant Gwythern, which is already used for National races.
In an interview with Trailguru, Architrail said “We’re really excited about this project and have been working on trail designs throughout the winter and spring for four downhill tracks, a blue grade XC loop and a skills area. The downhill tracks are on open hillside, with plenty of rocky outcrops to get creative with. Two of the downhill tracks are black grade, but will be quite different in style. One will be steep with plenty of corners using the rocky terrain to create challenging features, whereas the other will be less steep, but fast with plenty of drops and jumps. The other two trails will be red/blue grade and will take a longer route down the hill and will be perfect for a six inch trail bike. The XC loop will be routed around Tanygrisiau Resevoir and will be around 10km long.”
Tenders for contractors are currently being taken for the work, with the site expected to be finished at some point in late 2012. We’re looking forward to it…
You can read the full interview with Architrail HERE…