AN exciting new trail development opens at Coed y Brenin on 25 May, with six new fully signposted routes from 9.5 to 36km, designed to appeal to a broad range of cyclists looking for adventure.

Coed y Brenin is the birthplace of the mountain bike trail centre, it’s trail network and purpose-built visitor centre pioneered a model of trail development that spread across the globe.

This May, its network expands to include over 100km of additional new gravel/adventure cycling routes and it is hoped these new trails will attract many who are new to cycling and existing cyclists who are seeking an experience that is different to the one already offered by the MTB trails that the centre is famous for.

The routes vary in their distance and level of challenge. From the easy Coblynnau at 9.5km to the challenging Y Wrach Wen at 36km there are trails to suit all fitness and ability levels.

The shorter trails are perfect for novices, young riders, and families to enjoy while the longer routes will appeal to more experienced riders and contain sections of a more technically challenging nature including some hike-a-bike.

For those looking for an even bigger challenge, the two longest routes can be easily combined to make an epic 55km route with enough climbing and descending to keep even the most trail hardened of gravel hammerheads happy.

Seeing a surge of in interest in cycling during the pandemic, Natural Resources Wales’ (NRW) Coed y Brenin Recreation Team witnessed increasing number of new cyclists wanting to access this spectacular forest by bike.

The idea for these routes came about from a desire to meet the needs of a growing number of new riders alongside a desire to provide something more challenging that would excite the more experienced gravel riders already out there.

NRW recognised this as a great opportunity; by diversifying the offering at Coed y Brenin they have set out to offer an inclusive year-round cycle experience. This will encourage even more people to find adventure and escape in this stunning part of Wales, helping to support local businesses.

When combined, these additions amount to over 100km of new way-marked routes, many miles of which are perfect for those who just want to get out and enjoy the beauty of the forest and surrounding mountains by bike.

The trails largely make use of existing forest ways and gravel roads, and have been carefully crafted by the NRW team to offer a different kind of cycling experience that is an alternative to the existing mountain bike trails that Coed y Brenin is best known for.

Andy Braund, NRW’s Recreation Ranger for Cycling & Mountain Biking in North West Wales, said: "We are excited to offer our visitors six new cycling trails. By waymarking our existing forest road network, bridleways and permissive ways, into easy-to-follow routes; we have created an offering for a wide range of visitors and locals to enjoy.

“These new routes cater for families that want to have a picnic by the river, recreational cyclists, and the more adventurous gravel rider. It will allow them to explore one of the most beautiful forests in Eryri National Park with fine views of the surrounding mountains and full of historical mine workings and old farmsteads.”

Unlike the MTB trails, you will not need a dedicated mountain bike to enjoy these rides. These trails can be enjoyed on many more bikes, including drop-bar gravel bikes or even hybrids with suitable tyres although the more demanding routes contain some steep or uneven sections where it may be necessary to walk your bike.