MTB Weekend Away/Trail Center - Road trip with friends

bdigital Posts: 193
edited March 2011 in MTB rides
Hey all,

Me and a couple friends are planning on going away some time in July for a riding weekend. We all live in the south (Brighton area) and would like to know where some good riding can be had?

We are up for driving somewhere, and possibly camping. Ive heard that there are some good trail centers in Wales?

we have a mixture of skill levels, mostly intermediate, some beginner. All of us with hardtails.

Does anyone have any useful suggestions? and even better, some links?

any info would be much appreciated!


  • nonnac85
    nonnac85 Posts: 1,608
    Llandegla is good if you are beginner / intermediate level. Stay near/in Llangollen - there is a new hostel (just called Llangollen hostel) that is £17 / night and has a bike shed which the owner will give you the key for. You can also go to Betws-y-Coed from there in about an hour or so.

    More info on my website in my sig below.
    My Website - Trail Centre info for the UK: MTB Trail Time
  • VWsurfbum
    VWsurfbum Posts: 7,881
    Afan would be closer and quite good for intimediates and first time visitors to trail centres. there is camping near by, but plenty of cheap B+B's which makes the whole weekend a lot nicer to sooth the aches and pains :wink: (bar)
    Kazza the Tranny
    Now for sale Fatty
  • bdigital
    bdigital Posts: 193
    Ok cool - thanks for the Wales suggestions il check them out.

    Does anyone have any other suggestions other than in Wales?

    Somewhere near ish to the south coast, but we are willing to is a road trip after all!

    Beginner, to intermediate trail center riding for 5-6 27 year olds - with camping or b&b nearby....
  • Anonymous
    Anonymous Posts: 79,667
    Afan, Cwmcarn are easy to get to from the south east. 2 to 3 hours from London just straight down the M4. Possible to do there and back in a day if you live nearer the M4.

    However, nearer to you are the Surrey Hills and Swinley Forest. Not near the coast, but far closer than Wales.

    The former is (in my opinion) the best you can get in this relatively flat area that is the south east. Basically a woodland area along the North Downs, some reasonable hills and a large amount of singletrack spread all over the place. It's no trail centre, it's all natural stuff with paths carved out by bikers and walkers, and some built trails by various volunteers (a small handful are approved funded trails). No costs, and parking is free in any of the car parks dotted around the hills. Some parts are owned by the National Trust (e.g. Leith Hill), others by various local woodland estates.

    The latter is kind of like a trail centre. Swinley is up by Bracknell (it's aka Bracknell Forest), owned by the Crown Estate and is a self contained forest park with a mix of family woodland trails, doubletrack and a reasonable amount of single track scattered around (some are proper built trails), plus a bit of a DH area. You need a permit to ride there (£2 daily or £20 for the year), but no other costs (free parking). Swinley is frequented by a lot of families also, but get out into the depths and off the fire roads and you find the good stuff. Surrey Hills is miles better, but Swinley is a great place to get started or for a bit of fun.

    They're neither a patch on the trail centres in Wales, but they're still very good.

    There's a long thread going here with a bunch of us around the London area who frequent the two often (and are now doing the odd trip to Wales also):

    London Calling

    Also check out these threads:

    Swinley Forest / The Lookout

    Surrey Hills - where to start?

    Oh, and Surrey Hills has a Youth Hostel at Holmbury St Mary. Not sure if you count as youths now :D
  • bdigital
    bdigital Posts: 193
    Brilliant info thank you - Its looking like Afan is the winner here.

    I have a Carrera Fury, about 3-4months old.

    Do you think that it is suitable / capable of the trails in Afan?
  • Anonymous
    Anonymous Posts: 79,667
    Hardtail it looks like. Should be fine for Afan.
  • popstar
    popstar Posts: 1,392
    But Cwmcarn is closer than Afan. Personally I like it more than Afan. But if you lot fancy big mileage in a day then Afan would suit you more with epic miles.
    What could have been (Video)

    I'll choose not put too much stake into someone's opinion who is admittingly terrible though
  • RobertL
    RobertL Posts: 2
    Read about the Trans Wales course - Epic MTB stage race to cover 534km of Welsh and English riding with 15,225m of climbing. It includes one prologue marathon, 7 linking stages, 6 special stages and for the first time ever one day in England. Not going to participate but can't wait to watch...will be inspiring.
  • welshkev
    welshkev Posts: 9,690
    popstar wrote:
    But Cwmcarn is closer than Afan. Personally I like it more than Afan. But if you lot fancy big mileage in a day then Afan would suit you more with epic miles.

    but there's more choice of trails at afan :D and even though i'm a cwmcarn local, IMHO afan/glyncorrwg is better.

    oh yeah, the OP there's 2 visitors centres, afan and glyncorrwg, some of the rides start at different centres, but you can ride between each down the old railway line :D
  • iPete
    iPete Posts: 6,076
    Another vote for Afan, I always camp at the Glyncorrwg trail centre, rock up early on a Friday to make sure you get a pitch. Can't go wrong at £5 a pitch, the cafe whilst currently shut is epic, there is a warehouse for overnight lock up and the shop is fantastic, always good work at a great price, great if you tend to break things.

    Infact, heres my trip video from this week:

    Popped into the Afan Lodge Hotel for a fry up, very nice, the place looked very new and smart with a nice bar and chill area, not sure what the prices are like but worth a look..

    There is also a camp-site 5-6 miles away that lets you wild camp in the forest, can dig out the name if interested.

    Whilst me and my mates have upgraded since, we all hit Afan a few years back on entry level hard tails & it was still a hoot.
  • Danny-T
    Danny-T Posts: 129
    Don't do Afan OR cwmcarn, do both :P

    You'll be driving pretty much past Cwmcarn to get to Afan so the day before/after one do the other.

    Both excellent fun
  • nicklouse
    nicklouse Posts: 50,675
    as the OP was asking about June 2010 topic locked.
    "Do not follow where the path may lead, Go instead where there is no path, and Leave a Trail."
    Parktools :?:SheldonBrown
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