There’s no more accessible place in Wales for a mountain biking adventure than Afan Forest Park. Only minutes from the M4, bikers here can experience some of the most demanding and exhilarating riding in the UK, across more than 130km of challenging trails. Thanks to the region’s quick-draining and often steep terrain, this is a park which remains useable all year round, so riding is guaranteed right through the winter, come rain or shine.
The Afan Valley region is also great for riders of all ability levels, making it ideal for bringing family and friends; plus it has the full range of facilities you’d expect from a long-established mountain biking centre. Carved out of hillsides once surrounded by coal mines, the valley has now been transformed into a biker’s heaven.
Immerse yourself in dramatic surroundings at the chalet style Afan Lodge, which is less than a mile from Afan Forest Park, and offers secure overnight storage for bikes and plenty of space to clean down your equipment. It’s an ideal place to relax and share the day’s experiences with other mountain bikers and freshly prepared breakfasts will give you the energy you need to start your day.
Afan Forest Park is home to a phenomenal set of mountain biking trails, among the most challenging and thrilling in the UK. If you’re looking to try something a little different, Campbell Coaching is on hand to lead you through the twisting tracks that snake through the valleys and remnants of the region’s coal mines. Local guide Ally is a fully qualified and accredited mountain bike coach with 17 years’ experience who can help you to develop your mountain biking skills and enjoy the Afan Forest Park trails to the full.
Less than a mile from Afan Lodge, the Afan Valley Bike Shed offers an extensive range of bicycles, helmets, equipment and parts. Run by a team of experienced local mountain bikers and mechanics, they offer a wealth of advice and knowledge to make sure that you get the most from your biking here. Left something at home, or discovered a problem? The Bike Shed team are a great resource and happy to help with servicing and repairs to make sure that there are no unnecessary hold-ups.
The Rookie trail is a perfect introductory route for novice cyclists, if you have any in your group, but the steeper red and black slopes are certain to test the nerves of even the most experienced mountain bikers. For testing technical rides try the Penhydd, Y Wal, White’s Level and Blade trails. And the W2 trail, which is a black trail, includes some of the most demanding singletrack sections and descents in Europe.
Looking for other adventures too? You’ll find challenges high in the trees less than a 10-mile drive away from Afan Lodge at The Go Ape Treetop Challenge at Margam Country Park. Climb and swing your way through the assortment of tree-to-tree crossings and experience the UK’s biggest Tarzan swing, mustering your courage for the six-metre leap of faith, and don’t forget to look down to take in the magnificent views. You may even spot the Margam Country Park deer. Margam Country Park also offers some exciting mountain biking experiences. The four colour-coded Margam Park Deer Mountain Bike Trail routes, located above Go Ape, are suitable for families, experts and everyone in between.
Want to take a post mountain biking splash? Don’t forget to pack your swimmers as the Afan Valley Swimming Pool is located less than a 5-minute drive from Afan Lodge. The timetable includes early morning lane swimming sessions for those in training, a great new swim and sauna package if you want to unwind after a day on the slopes, plus all the usual family swimming facilities if needed too.
As your action-packed day comes to a close, enjoy a wholesome supper back at Afan Lodge. Refuel with a hearty meal paired with a refreshing Welsh ale or cider or two. Or, if you prefer to head out for food, a popular choice with the locals is The Brit Pub, in Cwmavon. With delicious home-cooked food, a relaxed atmosphere and a crackling log fire on cold winter nights, The Brit is a must-visit destination. Customers come from far and wide to try a selection of the finest pies in Wales, from no-nonsense classics to vegan alternatives. Listed in the CAMRA Good Beer Guide, this award-winning pub also features a great selection of gins and wines.
Here in the Afan Valley you can escape the frenetic rush of everyday life. With endless opportunities to enjoy freedom, adventure and the great outdoors, your Afan Forest Park Room to Ride experience is sure to be one to remember.
- Morning – Head to Afan Valley Bike Shed to either pick up a bike or have your own bike serviced ahead of a day of white knuckle riding.
- Afternoon – If your confidence is brimming, turn your hand (and wheels) to the demanding W2 trail. For a little more practice head to a blue or red route such as Blue Scar or Penhydd.
- Evening – Relax and unwind at the Afan Lodge with your fellow bikers.
- Morning – Meet with Ally from Campbell Coaching for a mountain biking coaching session or an exciting guided ride in Afan Forest Park.
- Afternoon – Take a dip at the Afan Valley Swimming Pool.
- Evening – Dine at The Brit in Cwmavon and try some local ales in this stylish traditional pub.
- Morning – Head to Go Ape in Margam Country Park for an adrenaline-fuelled experience in the tree tops.
- Afternoon – Take a last ride around your favourite trails in Afan Forest Park.
The Dramatic Heart of Wales is a great choice for a socially distanced mini-break. With so many outdoor attractions from country parks and our epic seafront through to our expanse of mountains and natural landscapes, you can relax knowing you are having a ‘safe-cation’. Many of our tourism businesses have achieved ‘Good to Go’ status and made a commitment to maintaining the highest standard of safety and cleanliness.
Protecting our land for future generations while caring for one another is part of what makes us who we are. Visit Wales is inviting you to make your ‘Addo’ (the Welsh word for promise), please join us by making your pledge before you visit. By working together to keep each other safe we can all enjoy what the Dramatic Heart of Wales has to offer.