Tell me about Wales. (Holiday planning content)

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  • Tell me about Wales. (Holiday planning content)
  • trail_rat
    Member

    We are planning a trip to Wales from Aberdeen  in early August …. To ride bicycles when I get home from this hitch of work.

    We will be traveling in big red the parcelforce post bus.

    Looking for recommendations for any natural trails that must be done both xc and *enduro*, areas to visit , places worth parking up. A mix of parking out of the way and basic campsites.

    Trail centres ? Done cwmcarn in the past wasn’t overly gripped by it , i fancy a day trip down to BPW though just to see though -would that come recommended ? What about coed y brenin and afan ?

    Any other touristy things we should do while we are down there  -are there any beaches or what ever the Welsh is for lochs … For wild swimming -that don’t come complete with height barriers ?

    Photos appreciated 🙂

    P-Jay
    Member

    Lakes we call them, there’s loads in Brecon area, probably elsewhere too, fresh water, we’ve loads of it.

    It’s not really fair, but Wales sometimes feels like there’s the North, and the South and absolutely nothing in between but farms, which is only partly true.

    Most tourists head to West Wales (which is in the South rather the Welsh coast per-se. Gower which has some of the best beaches in the world I’m told and Tenby which is a old fashioned seaside town which as mostly managed to avoid falling into a tatty dump.

    Riding, off-piste stuff is harder to find, we just missed out on open access so some of the best stuff can only be found using strava heat maps etc, but tbh you can spend days searching for stuff.

    Mountain Bike Wales

    Has details of all offical sites, which includes full Trail Centres, ‘Bases’ which as basically Trail Centres without the Centres, and ‘trails’ which lists most of the trails at the above, plus some stuff you’ll need to navigate yourself.

    I’m sure you’re not scared of a drive coming down from Aberdeen, but you mention BPW and Coed Y Brenin, just bear in mind they’re about a 4 hour drive apart, just for the sake of scale. We won’t have a motorway that goes from North to South, just an A Road that passes through towns, lovely views for the most part though.

    wl
    Member

    Llyn Peninsula is lovely – near enough to Snowdon to drive there and head up with the bike.  Abersoch is a bit flashy and ‘branded’ but the rest of the peninsula is nice.  Great coastal walks and good sea swimming/snorkelling. Portmeirion worth a visit – it’s bonkers. No idea about trail centres, not my thing.  Have a fun trip.

    Premier Icon molgrips
    Subscriber

    Lakes we call them, there’s loads in Brecon area, probably elsewhere too, fresh water, we’ve loads of it.

    I disagree with this, I think there’s sod all lakes here compared to Scotland!  But we have loads of coast, you never need be far from it so we just swim in the sea 🙂  Beaches are generally brilliant all round, you have a choice of wild or opposite a nice seaside town.

    I’ll dig out some rides later, but as for touristy stuff, most of the seaside towns are nice places.  Castles are good (Harlech, Caernarvon and Conwy are my faves probably). What sort of tourist stuff are you into?

    trail_rat
    Member

    Oh now snorkeling that piques my interest . Never even considered it an option. My wife’s the wild swimmer I cannot do it -but I’m.happy enough snorkeling/diving

    Yeah I’m aware that bpw is in the valleys and most of what I think I want to see is in the north but we have 2 weeks to fill my only requirement is to be back in Edinburgh on the 17th for a gig at the fringe.

    That’s a shame about the access , I was thinking as you guys had the original UK trans event back in the day there would be decent natural stuff 🙁

    trail_rat
    Member

    Touristy stuff we like  is scenic (cliffs/coastal) walks , old towns/ports etc.

    Distillerys go down well also but I can’t imagine there’s too many of them is there ? I know there’s at least one Welsh whisky (penderyn ??) What about gins ? My wife’s a big gin head.

    mark90
    Member

    South Wales valleys or FOD off piste trails are not to be missed. Get a local to guide.

    Just had a weekend up in Snowdonia wild van camping and swimming in lakes to cool down after riding. Lovely in this recent weather, not so much in a usual Welsh summer!

    trail_rat
    Member

    Is FOD (forest of Dean ???) In Wales (pardon my ignorance) I did the Sheldon and ss stu SSEC there a few years ago, I enjoyed that.

    jedi
    Member

    I was in snowdonia last weekend. Snowdon etc were awesome. Stayed at an amazing bed and breakfast oldskoolmtbaccommodation

    Premier Icon facian
    Subscriber

    I really enjoyed riding in the Talybont-on-Usk area of Brecon. Lots of small lakes and reservoirs to have a paddle in, and some great rides (the Brecon ‘Gap’ route is apparently a classic. It was definitely good enough to do twice in a week when we were there!).

    They also have a public bike washing/maintenance ‘hub’ with free tools and a coin-operated pressure washer etc. and lots of bike friendly accomodation etc. in the village. You can also do kayaking etc. on the river Wye from nearby.

    Premier Icon Esme
    Subscriber

    “Lakes we call them”
    Errr, no, LLYN is the Welsh version of LOCH

    P-Jay
    Member

    “Lakes we call them”
    Errr, no, LYN is the Welsh version of LOCH

    No wonder Molgrips can’t find any.

    Don’t worry OP, ‘Lake’ will do, the last Welsh only speakers died in the 70s.

    chevychase
    Member

    Snowdonia. Head for there. You can easily burn up a couple of weeks in what is by far the prettiest bit of wales and get trail centres and natural riding galore in.

    Premier Icon Capt. Kronos
    Subscriber

    Snowdonia and just south for the Dyfi Valley are good.  Spent a lot of time in Machynlleth (at hippy school) and enjoyed riding around that area.   Hippy School is worth a visit too come to mention it – most people call it the Centre for Alternative Technology, but that is way too much of a mouthful.

    Climaxs Trail and the Mach trails were handy for not having to think too much riding.  It was a while back though so I don’t know what they are like now (or if they are gnarly enough for modern riding 😀 )

    Quite a lot of nice things to see and places to go around there too.

    mark90
    Member

    Forest of Dean isn’t in Wales but it’s bloody close if you are in South Wales / BPW / Cwmcarn / Brecon area and the off piste riding is superb. Happy to guide if I’m available, possibly mid week or weekend.

    If you want a few potential parking spots for Snowdonia PM or e-mail me. I got shouted down last time I posted any overnight stop locations on here.

    chevychase
    Member

    There’s llyn’s galore and scottish-style scenery on the north. Looking on google maps the triangle between conwy, betws y coed and bangor is full of the bigger peaks, a bothy or two and places you can swim.

    West a bit is snowdon and the range around there, again gorgeous. Down to the southern end Barmouth and dolgellau and around there has Cadair Idris, the mawddach estuary the rhinogs slightly north, dyfi further south.

    If you’re into kayaking, Penhryn Mawr and the Anglesey Kayaking Centre is world class (tho steer clear of holyhead town centre). 🙂

    Premier Icon singlespeedstu
    Subscriber

    If you plan on heading to Mid Wales give us a shout and I’ll meet up with you and show you some stuff.

    Just give us a shout with dates anyway and I’ll try to get over to you.

    Been far to long since we’ve seen you pair.

    teenrat
    Member

    Camp near Llyn Brianne ( north of Llandovery) – where there is some of the best, and unspoiled (no crowds)  scenery in Wales. Ride Cwm Rhaeadr trail centre and the Doethie valley for a real ‘out there’ XC ride. Brechfa trail centre not too far away as well.

    trail_rat
    Member

    Will do stu/mark . Preliminary plans would be the 5th August in wales to the 15th or there abouts. Need to squeeze in a visit to some relatives on our way back to edinburgh for the fringe.

    Got 3 weeks to work out what we are going to do at least .

    Premier Icon molgrips
    Subscriber

    I’ll show you plenty of riding around Cardiff if you like. There’s plenty of steep bike park stuff in the Valleys given the terrain.

    That’s a shame about the access , I was thinking as you guys had the original UK trans event back in the day there would be decent natural stuff

    There is bags of brilliant natural stuff. Just because it’s on bridleways doesn’t mean it’s no good.

    Plus the access situation isn’t that bad. Open Access land gives you access by bike where there is a pre existing tradition, which I reckon justifies most of it. Plus no-one cares really out in the sticks.

    Premier Icon IdleJon
    Subscriber

    Plus no-one cares really out in the sticks.

    I’ve found that very few people care anywhere around South Wales because so much of the riding is on ex-industrial land, which has been claimed by dog-walkers, motorbikes and us. There are fewer bridleways than in some parts of the country, perhaps because of lower horse riding numbers? The few times I’ve been ‘told off’ it was by tourists walking on bridleways! (And twice by farmers on open hilltops. Maybe had five confrontations in 25 years of riding around here.)

    If you make it this far south (Swansea), I’d be happy to guide if I’m around. There’s  loads of riding everywhere.

    Wild swimming? (Now there’s a phrase I despise! 😂 ) My family and I walked the Four Falls Walk at Ystradfellte on Sunday. It’s sort of between Merthyr and Brecon. Great fun clambering over the rocks and swimming below the waterfalls.

    wobbliscott
    Member

    If you want some lake swimming and mountain biking you could base yourself around Bala. We did for a lads MTB weekend a couple of years ago. Lake good for swimming, canoeing etc. and convenient for Coed y Brenin, Penmanchno, and a couple of others (can’t remember their names now), and Llandegla is convenient for your way in or out of Wales too. We had a great weekend.

    Premier Icon Northwind
    Subscriber

    We’re just back from a lazy week of uplifting based in abergavenny, we did 2 days at the Forest of Dean (because we scored an extra free uplift there, and because it’s mint), a day at BPW, and 2 days at the absolutely fantastic Black Mountain Cycle Centre. We did no pedalling up at all, ate a lot of Magnums, built some lego and generally had a lovely time. No doubt our lack of effort and natural trails makes us bad people though.

    Personally I wouldn’t drive all that way to ride at Afan, it’s decent but it’s not amazing and it doesn’t do anything you can’t find closer, and also not a patch on the north wales options like CYB, the Marin etc. Basically what makes south/mid wales shine now is the uplift network, there’s nothing else like it in the UK.

    Can’t speak at all for natural riding- we thought about doing the Gap, then didn’t- or touristing. But I’ll definitely go back for the riding.

    trail_rat
    Member

    Well not gonna lie I like the sound of a spot of uplift fueled careering down hills….. Like the good old days .

    Mrs t-r on the otherhand would like more xc biased riding in account. Of her training for a solo puffer effort.

    Premier Icon Mary Hinge
    Subscriber

    I’m slap bang in the middle of mid-Wales.

    A couple of decent natural loops around Rhayader.

    Could also probably get you a decent route in the Dyfi forest near Machynlleth.

    local shop in Builth do a good xc ride on Tuesday and Thursday evenings.

    Not that far from Nant yr Arian, Black Mountain Bike Park and BPW.

    a bit sea swimming in Aberystwyth (there’s a regular group there) or in the river near Brecon, or the sea at Aberdyfi followed by the best ice cream ever at Holgates outside of Tywyn.

    Could possibly park your van on our drive for a night if it’s not actually a bus! Plenty of room but a bit of a tight turn in for an actual bus.

    And be good to get a couple of the other locals on here who I don’t know to join us too.

    ping me an email once you have your dates sorted.

    Marko
    Member

    PM me if you need secure Van parking. I’m close to the FOD and Black mountain cycle centre. BPW about an hour away. XC riding out of the (Van) door.

    Hth

    Marko

    shedbrewed
    Member

    Drop me a pm or hotmail as I do a lot of tourist stuff with the day job and can give you pointers on that side.

    trail_rat
    Member

    ah cheers folks. Re evaluated our plans – seems FOD and BPW are out so says the mrs.

    mid wales is about as far south as we are going to head – she would like to explore that north west corner it seems. snowdonia/anglesey etc

    was surprised at it only being 450 miles to get to that neck of the woods which is a days drive – thank the lord for cruise control.

    i am being co-erced into buying of a wetsuit and goggles for trying some open water swimming – despite the fact i absolutely hate the idea – well in the sea. Lochs/Lyns not so much.

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