The Dramatic Heart of Wales is synonymous with mountain biking adventure: thrill seekers from around the world come to the Afan Forest Park for a taste of the action. Add Margam Country Park to the mix, host venue to the 2023 Mountain Bike National Series, and you are spoilt for choice when it comes to finding your perfect mountain bike trail.
To help you decide, we have put together a list of some of the best mountain bike trails in Neath Port Talbot.
Mountain bike trails are categorised by difficulty. Green trails are best for beginners, with gentle slopes and easy routes. Blue trails are for those with some off-road riding skills, while red trails are more challenging and are ideal for proficient riders. Black graded trails put expert riders through their paces, with physically demanding routes that test even the most experienced mountain bikers.
So, whether you want to give mountain biking a go for the first time or you’re an off-road rider veteran, find the Dramatic Heart of Wales mountain bike trail fit for you.
Green – Rookie
The Rookie trail is a perfect introductory route to mountain biking in the Afan Forest— ideal for a family adventure. The 6km route offers a balance of drops and swerves and can take between 30 minutes and 2 hours. Over this time, you will quickly develop your mountain biking skills.
Blue – Blue Scar
Blue Scar is a 7km Afan Forest trail that can be demanding at times. Dig deep, test your mountain biking skills, and enjoy the rewarding views and thrilling drops. Blue Scar has a 177m climb, and takes most riders between 1, and 1.5 hours. The route starts and ends at the Afan Forest Visitor Centre and follows the two valleys carved by the River Afan.
Red – Blade
Covering 23km, the Blade trail combines exciting singletrack sections with some of the well-established classics routes. Start from the Glyncorrwg Visitor Centre and head off on the daring trail ride, lasting between 2.5 – 3.5 hours and traversing a 770m climb.
Those looking for a longer loop can add in the Skyline Loop, with sections like ‘Peregrine Ridge’ and ‘Jetlag’.
Black – W2
W2 offers up one of the most demanding mountain bike trails. This 44km epic black route is the ultimate challenge for mountain bikers. Not only does it test riders’ nerves with seemingly unpassable drops and climbs, but it also serves as an ultimate endurance test. The ride time is typically between 4 and 7 hours, with a climb of almost 1,000m. Fortunately, the Afan Forest Park Visitor Centre and Glyncorrwg Ponds Visitor Centre offer some respite. Depending on which visitor centre you set off from, the other provides a halfway pitstop to refuel and take in the remarkable scenery.
Please note, there is currently a diversion along part of this route.
Green to Black – Margam Deer Mountain Bike Trail
Margam Country Park’s Margam Deer trail had once been a secret. For years the black graded route had been closed to the public, reserved only to host specialist events. But now, after redevelopment from a local project, the trail has been opened for all to use. The route has been sectioned into a green, blue, red, and black trail.
Each route has been specially designed with their respective rider in-mind. The green trail can host families, hybrid bikes, and hired pedal go-karts from Margam Park Adventures. Riders looking to take on the more advanced routes, meanwhile, are expected to have sufficient experience in mountain biking and should arrive equipped with an appropriate bike.
Discover the full list of mountain bike trails in the Dramatic Heart of Wales here.
Have you been inspired to seek adventure and take your next mountain bike holiday in South Wales? Plan your Dramatic Heart of Wales visit here.