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Coed y Brenin


Saturday March 3, 2007
The Guardian

Length 6-12 miles
Difficulty Easy to expert
Start/finish Coed y Brenin Visitor Centre
Routes Afon, Temptiwr and Tarw
Maps OS Landranger 124 and 125; or see

Route notes
With superb views of Snowdonia and a network of purpose-built trails for bikers of all abilities, Coed y Brenin ("the forest of the king") is a mountain bike mecca. The centre has six trails which range from the picturesque to the vicious. The three circuits shown on our map - Afon (easy), Temptiwr (intermediate) and Tarw (difficult) - all begin at the visitor centre. Tarw (12 miles) is the forest's iconic trail, Afon (eight miles) stretches out along the picturesque river Mawddach, whereas Temptiwr (six miles) is a shorter, sharper dash through the trees.

Terrain and gradients
Tarw (2-3 hours) incorporates a hefty 1,500ft climb. Afon (1-3 hours) is a low-level, family-friendly route on forest roads with a total climb of 300ft. Temptiwr (30 mins-1 hour) is a technical route with a 500ft climb.

Child friendliness
The Afon trail is suitable for children over the age of 10, while for the littler 'uns there's a great play area opposite the visitor centre cafe.

How to get there
Coed y Brenin is in south Snowdonia near the quiet market town of Dolgellau. From Dolgellau head north on the A470; the visitor centre is on the right after five miles.

Attractions en route
For non-cyclists, the centre also boasts running, walking and orienteering trails.

Watering holes
There is an excellent cafe there, too, while a glorious picnic spot awaits at nearby Barmouth beach.

The Tarw and Temptiwr trails are for experienced bikers only.

Cycling map: Coed y Brenin