New Welsh MTB B&B, Familiar Faces

by Chipps 17

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.

Just keep your socks safe from Racsyn the collie/poodle.

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.

All the work, bar the plumbing and electrics was done by Sian and Dafydd.


Looking from the mezzanine over the dining room and into the sun room.

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.

Dafydd at Coed Y Brenin is about as local as it gets.
See the next issue of Singletrack for more on our Welsh epic 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.

Lots of food. Probably best not to weigh yourself when you leave. Alternatively, just ride lots!

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.

Comments (17)

  1. Slabs of cheese on toast and baked beans followed by Barra Brith mmmm, Coed y Brenin was never the same after they “left” x

  2. Seeing apricot oaties again brought a happy tear to my eye… 🙂

  3. Such fond memories of that old cafe new one has never matched up. Definitely be using the B&B if we don’t feel like camping 🙂

  4. £40 per person, hotel prices! Too rich for me.

  5. had some great weekends in ‘plas Isa’ and was a sad day when they shut the cafe.
    will def be looking to use the bnb

  6. £40 isn’t uncommon in B&B-land these days. What is it that you get from hotel for that money then? And this place even comes with a health spa in the form of a giant forest on the doorstep. 😉

  7. Sian + Dafydd are CYB, this is great news.

    Please open a Cafe and we’ll all come over mid ride….

  8. Sian always came across as really happy and cheerful whereas Dafydd always seemed miserable every time I use to go into the cafe.

  9. aye. the cafe at cyb served ok food but service was never its strong point.
    I enjoyed watching the protected ant hill while eating my beans

  10. Never forget Sians laugh and stayed at Plas Isa as well. Looks good to me, as camping always ends under water when I go up there.

  11. I’d expect my own en-suite for that money Chipps, which I don’t expect there is. I hope the business does well but it sort of follows the MTB riding is the new golf model. Down the road you’ll pay £17 a head per night for hostel accommodation, which Is what I based my original comment on. It’s an expensive way to avoid the trailhead parking charge which will not help with Coed y Brenin funding. I’ll freely admit I’m a cheapskate biker as I prefer to spend my money on the bike and trails (always put money in the parking honesty box or machine).

  12. Sandwich,

    According to their info (on Facebook), each room does indeed have an en-suite. Totally understand your reasons for preferring £17 pppn but I think it’s fair to acknowledge that you’re getting something extra for the extra you pay at this place and £40 pppn is hardly extortionate these days.

  13. I forgot to mention that each of the five rooms has an en-suite {Edit – Actually I DID mention it :-)}. And I’m sure plenty of people will drive the five minutes down the road and pay to park at CyB too, so everyone’s a winner.

  14. £40 in a nice, newly refurbished place like this is hardley expensive.

    A Travel Inn/Lodge for example are around £79 a night and all you get with them is a basic room/en-suite/TV!

  15. Their cafe was great, it had real charm and great food. Such a shame it was replaced with a motorway service station.

  16. Ask em to get a web page out soon. Don’t do FB but am interested!

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