Category Archives: Nant yr Arian

Nant yr Arian

Whereabouts: Mid Wales.

Where specifically: Bwlch Nant yr Arian visitor centre, about 14km (10 miles) East of Aberystwyth.  Follow the A44 out of Aberystwyth heading for Llangurig and Newtown, and the visitor centre is on your left at the top of the long climb into the head of the valley.

Trails: Pendam (red), Summit (red), Syfydryn (black).

Why should I go there? Three good trails (for all the red two are rather heavy on the fireroad) are a distinct draw.  They all have excellent singletrack sections, and Summit is unusual (for a trail centre) in that it also includes a long section that loops out across open heath and farmland on an interesting and fun bridleway.  The other major reason for going to Nant yr Arian for a ride is that it is one of Wales’ red kite feeding stations.  Get there at the right time and you’ll be treated to the incredible sight of literally hundreds of kites filling the sky (far more than in some of the other feeding stations).  This also provides a good thing to occupy your mountain biking roadies (you know: girlfriends, boyfriends, wives, husbands, children, great aunts, hitchhikers…) while you’re out riding and grinding up the appropriately named Leg Burner section.  It’s also nicely between the trail centres of South Wales (in distance order: Brechfa, Afan, Cwmcarn) and the trail centres and hubs further North (like Machynlleth, Coed y Brenin, Betws y Coed, and Snowdonia in general).

Facilities: Toilets, cafe, bike wash, kite feeding, nature trails, waymarked walking trails, gift shop.  Lots more stuff in Aberystwyth, such as Summit Cycles.

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Summit Trail

Trail centre: Nant yr Arian

Grade: Red

Length: 16km (10miles)

Start point: Bwlch Nant yr Arian.  A few miles East of Aberystwyth on the A44.

Description: Combination of fireroad, excellent singletrack and a long looping section on fun tracks out onto the hills.  Some great sections of riding, and the option of adding on the top loop of the red-graded Pendam trail to make a longer ride.  At the start is a cafe and red kite feeding station that’s definitely worth visiting.

Good stuff: Beautiful singletrack sections, and the long track section out of the forest and through farmland is fun to ride and a great taste of what more natural mountain biking is like..  Be on the trail at the right time of day and the sky and hillsides will be full of red kites congregating for the feeding station at Bwlch Nant yr Arian.  Linked to Pendam it’s a satisfying ride.

Difficult stuff: Little that’s genuinely challenging riding, but the aptly named ‘leg burner’ climb towards the end is an absolute killer.  Rather too much fireroad and not enough singletrack to be genuinely satisfying.  I keep hoping that it’s a work in progress that will improve in years to come.

Verdict: Fun trail with some interesting sections but a killer climb at the end.

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Pendam Trail

Trail centre: Nant yr Arian

Grade: Red

Length: 9km (6miles)

Start point: Bwlch Nant yr Arian.  A few miles East of Aberystwyth on the A44.

Description: Short trail that loops out onto the hills above Aberystwyth.  Some lovely sections of excellent singletrack with a little too much fireroad in between them.  Very easy to link to the upper loop of the Summit trail to make a longer ride that misses nothing out.

Good stuff: Beautiful singletrack sections, particularly the Hippity Hop and Italian Job sections.  Be on the trail at the right time of day and the sky and hillsides will be full of red kites congregating for the feeding station at Bwlch Nant yr Arian.  Linked to Summit it’s a fun ride.

Difficult stuff: Very little.  Only genuine complaint is that for the bad mountain biker wanting a satisfying ride, there’s just a little too much fireroad.  I keep hoping that it’s a work in progress that will improve in years to come.

Verdict: Good, but there are better.

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Filed under Nant yr Arian, Red, Trails, Wales