Trail Centre: Brechfa
Length: 9.2km/4.7km (5.7miles/2.9miles)
Start Point: Byrgym Bach Forestry Commission car park, a couple of miles East of Brechfa village.
Description: Thoughtfully built trail through the Brechfa Forest. The green option is short, but unusually interesting for a green trail, and provides an exceptionally good starting point for people who would like to find out what mountain biking is like. A smooth all weather trail surface is peppered with gentle features like easy versions of what you might find on harder trails. In particular, the last section (that can be taken as a tiny trail in its own right – just turn left at the first junction by the picnic table) is a hugely entertaining run. The blue trail of the same name is largely more of the same, but with a somewhat painful climb up into the extra bits of singletrack. There are some more exciting sections of trail on the way down, though.
Good stuff: Most interesting green trail you’re likely to come across, and plenty of fun riding whichever option you go with. More of the same in the blue trail.
Difficult stuff: Not much. Tiring climb when the blue trail heads off from the green.
Verdict: Excellent! Gentle stuff if you have some experience, exciting stuff for those that don’t.
Trail centre: Brechfa
Length: 19km (12miles)
Start point: Abergorlech. Continue along the road beyond Byrgym Bach where the blue, green and black trails begin. Through Nant-y-Ffin, through Abergorlech and park in the Forestry Commission car park on left at the Eastern edge of Abergorlech village.
Description: A beautifully designed, red graded manmade trail through the Brechfa forest. Mostly fireroad climbs, but some pleasant windy singletrack climb sections as well that break up the fireroad and help you to gain altitude without really noticing. Once you reach the top you enter a series of descending singletrack sections, each with a distinct ‘theme’. Jumps and bermed corners get steeper and more interesting as they finally bring you tumbling back to the start. There are also short links leading to an alternative start point from the top and to the black graded Raven trail that begins at Byrgym Bach.
Good stuff: Awesome, varied, tumbling singletrack descents that can be taken at a crazy speed or a more leisurely pace with equal amounts of fun.
Difficult stuff: Stump jumps at in the top section, though these can be easily bypassed with chicken runs. Very late in the trail a bermed hairpin leads straight down into a vertiginous drop straight down to the valley floor and up the other side. I have yet to ride it (as much as I keep telling myself I will next time), but another pair of berms lead into it halfway down and make it more genuinely rideable. The final descent section has steep corners on slick shale, which range from exciting and interesting in Summer to downright terrifying in Winter.