May 10, 2013
Many Singletrack readers will have fond memories of the original Coed Y Brenin café, back when the Red Bull and then the Karrimor trails were pioneering Welsh trail centre trails in the mid-90s. Sian and Dafydd Roberts ran that original café, offering warm food and drinks to cold, wet riders. Along with the ‘other’ Dafydd, Dafydd Davis, they were instrumental in getting those initial trails sponsored and rode the wave of that initial trail centre boom as riders travelled from all over the country to ride. Even when foot and mouth closed much of the countryside in 2001, the trail centres were among the first places to reopen. They also renovated a large house in Dolgellau, Plas Isa, and ran that as a self catering base for riders visiting the area.
Eventually, in 2003, Forestry Commission Wales finished their contract to run the cafe there, leading to a huge outcry (partly led by our Chipps, ahem…) which resulted in an 18 month stay of execution. Eventually, when the new visitor centre opened, Sian and Dafydd closed their café doors and disappeared from view.
They’ve not been idle, though, and in between doing bat surveys for a living, for the last two and a half years have been renovating an old school house in Bronaber, just a couple of miles north of Coed Y Brenin forest, to run as a bed and breakfast. But, typically, not your normal kind of B&B. For a start, they’re usually only open at weekends. They also only really want to attract mountain bikers, and friendly ones at that…
The whole school house has been painstakingly renovated, with underfloor heating, stone floors and huge, high ceilings in the dining room and ‘sun room’. Sian continues to work her magic in the kitchen, offering Friday evening meals, large breakfasts and packed lunches. They send everyone down the local pub for Saturday night. However, you don’t have to check out until Sunday afternoon, so you can still return for a shower and a snack after your ride. Talking of which, there are plenty of great cakes available too – using the same recipes that once made the CyB caff so popular.
There are five, twin-bedded, en-suite rooms available, with a couple of living rooms and entertainment snugs for non-riding partners or those afraid of riding in the rain. It’s £40 B&B per person, per night, with 10% off if you book the whole place. There’s also a package deal where you get a Friday night meal, breakfasts on Saturday/Sunday, packed lunches, Saturday dinner (in the pub) and a Sunday afternoon meal (or packed lunch to eat on your way home) for £135 a person for the weekend.
Needless to say, as lifelong locals, they know every trail, both manmade and natural and can give you all the local (and not so local) riding pointers you’ll ever need. If you’re really unlucky, Dafydd might come out with you and stretch your legs a little.
If it sounds like we like the place, we do. Chipps has just been to see it and returned raving (more than usual…)
Contact details are here on their Facebook page.