Coed y Brenin Visitor Centre, near Dolgellau

Famous mountain biking centre with walking and running trails

What's here

This site and some visitor facilities are open - please see more details on this web page.

 

The following facilities are closed:

 

  • visitor centre building (including indoor toilets)
  • café
  • showers
  • orienteering trails
  • geocache trails
  • Afon Eden Trail (accessible section)
  • Dolgefeiliau accessible parking area

Timber felling and haulage is taking place alongside some trails - please follow all signage and instructions on site.

 

Coronavirus update

 

The Welsh Government is implementing a national coronavirus firebreak from 6pm on Friday 23 October until Monday 9 November.

 

The firebreak regulations replace the local restrictions which were in force in some parts of the country. They apply to everyone living or travelling in Wales.

 

Our sites and most visitor facilities remain open during this firebreak period but people are advised to stay at home and only visit sites in the local area to take exercise.

 

Visiting your local site safely

 

We have changed the normal route for some of our trails to help you maintain social distancing – please follow signs on site.

 

You need to wear a mask when going inside one of our buildings.

 

You can check-in via the NHS app when entering one of our buildings – scan the QR-code on the NHS Covid-19 poster on site.

 

Welcome

Coed y Brenin was Britain's first purpose-built mountain biking centre and it is still one of the sport’s top destinations.

Eight purpose-built mountain bike trails start from the visitor centre and range from easy trails for families and beginners to technical routes for expert riders. Other facilities for mountain bikers include a bike shop and a skills area where you can develop your riding techniques.

The visitor centre is the starting point for walking and running trails through Coed y Brenin Forest Park as well as orienteering courses and geocaching trails.

There are also children’s play areas, a café and plenty of picnic tables.

Coed y Brenin Visitor Centre holds the Visit Wales Gold Award for attractions that make an exceptional effort to create an enjoyable and memorable experience for visitors.

Coed y Brenin - start your adventure (video)

Walking trails

These three walking trails are waymarked and start from Coed y Brenin Visitor Centre car park.

More walking trails start from our other car parks within Coed y Brenin Forest Park.

Afon Eden Trail

  • Grade: Accessible (blue waymarkers) or Easy (yellow waymarkers)
  • Distance: 1 mile/1.6 kilometres
  • Total climb: 105 feet/35 metres
  • Time: 45 minutes
  • Trail description: The blue accessible trail is a linear two-way well-surfaced 2 metre wide route. It is suitable for wheelchairs with a gradient of no more than 10% (1 in 10). There are resting points at least every 100 metres. When following the yellow loop, you will climb back to the forest road and towards the visitor centre on an easy gradient of no more than 17% (1 in 6) through an area of young oak, rowan, birch and beech. This section is suitable for pushchairs with resting benches at least every 150 metres. There are no steps or stiles along the whole trail.

Follow the accessible trail down through woodlands to the riverside picnic site where the Afon Eden river rushes over the rocks.

Pick up an animal puzzle trail leaflet from the visitor centre and let younger visitors follow the clues.

You can also download an MP3 audio trail and listen to the story of the forest’s wildlife and history.

If you would like to use the Dolgefeiliau accessible parking area near the picnic area, please contact the visitor centre for directions.

Cefndeuddwr Trail

  • Grade: Easy
  • Distance: ¾ mile/1.3 kilometres
  • Total climb: 197 feet/55 metres
  • Time: 45 minutes
  • Trail description: This is a well-surfaced 1.5 metre wide trail suitable for pushchairs. There are no steps or stiles. You will gradually climb the hillside with a gradient of no more than 12% (1 in 8). There are resting benches at least every 150 metres.

Try this beautiful route for all the family to the Cefndeuddwr viewpoint and picnic area.

From there, take in the panoramic views to Y Garn and the Rhinogydd mountains.

If you would like to get to the accessible parking area at the viewpoint please ask for a key and directions at the visitor centre.

Gain Waterfall Trail

  • Grade: Strenuous
  • Distance: 4 miles/6.6 kilometres
  • Total climb: 745 feet/227 metres
  • Time: 2 hours
  • Trail description: The trail is on a combination of forest roads and steep narrow paths, often less than 50 centimetres wide in places, on an unmade, uneven surface, where you can expect mud, rocks and tree roots. On your descent to the Gwynfyndd goldmine the trail has loose stones underfoot, look out for the information post before reaching this section. Stout footwear is recommended. This trail is not suitable for wheeled buggies.

The Gain Waterfall Trail climbs over the Cefndeuddwr ridge before dropping into the next valley and descending to the confluence of the Afon Gain and Afon Mawddach rivers with their twin waterfalls.

This is a tough circular walk that follows a combination of forest roads and steep footpaths on an unmade and uneven surface.

Please stay on the waymarked trails as the old mine workings and buildings may be unsafe and there are unprotected drops into the river gorges.

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Mountain bike trails

All our mountain bike trails are waymarked and have been graded for difficulty.

At the start of the trail there is an information panel – please read this before setting off.

Yr Afon

  • Grade: Forest road or similar
  • Distance: 10.8 kilometres
  • Climb: 100 metres
  • Time: 1-3 hours

This forest road trail takes in some of the most picturesque parts of the river Mawddach including the beautiful waterfalls on the river Gain and Mawddach.

It’s a relatively low level route on forest roads but does include a rougher section of private track.

There are a couple of short steepish climbs and a steep forest road descent.

MinorTaur

  • Grade: Blue/Moderate
  • Loop 1: Distance: 3 kilometres. Climb: 50 metres. Time: 20-40 minutes.
  • Loops 1 and 2: Distance: 5 kilometres. Climb: 90 metres. Time: 1 hour.
  • Loops 1, 2 and 3: Distance: 9 kilometres. Climb: 150 metres. Time: 1-2 hours.
  • Loops 1-4: Distance: 12 kilometres. Climb: 265 metres. Time: 1½-3 hours.

This trail is a great fun introduction to mountain biking for a wide range of ages and abilities.

There are plenty of fun features including stone steps, rollers, table tops, berms and the occasional jump.

There are short steep climbs and a rough forest road descent.

The trail is built in four loops which get progressively longer and more challenging.

The first three loops can be used by disabled riders using adaptive mountain bikes.

Loop 4 uses a rougher section of private track up to the waterfalls with a barrier to negotiate.

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Temtiwr

  • Grade: Red/Difficult
  • Distance: 9 kilometres
  • Climb: 170 metres
  • Time: 30 minutes-1 hour

If you want to try the more challenging trails at Coed y Brenin, then this short but technical trail is a great introduction to show you what’s in store.

It’s tough right from the start with rock slabs and steps.

It includes some red and black grade features and a long hard forest road climb.

If you can handle this, then you’ll love our other trails.

Cyflym Coch

  • Grade: Red/Difficult
  • Distance: 12.6 kilometres
  • Climb: 270 metres
  • Time: 1½-3 hours

Cyflym Coch is ideal for those riders who have mastered the MinorTaur and want to move up to the next grade.

The trail strings together some of the best fast flowing sections in the forest park, with relatively short climbs.

With sections like Dream Time and Uncle Fester it’s a real blast!

Dragon's Back

  • Grade: Red/Difficult
  • Distance: 30.1 kilometres
  • Climb: 710 metres
  • Time: 3-5 hours

Here’s one of those understated, quietly classic trails that always seems to surprise you at just how good it is.

The hard start leaves you under no illusions that your skills better be up to scratch, but then leads you into the sublime DreamTime where the flow feels so easy, you’ll be day dreaming about this throughout the week’s daily grind!

Big Doug leads you through the towering Douglas Firs, the kings of Coed y Brenin.

Ride Hermon as fast as you dare, before the big climb to the highest point in the forest.

The five sections of downhill fun in the Adams Family reward you for all your efforts.

MBR

  • Grade: Black/Severe
  • Distance: 17.7 kilometres
  • Climb: 410 metres
  • Time: 1½-3 hours

This trail is a real favourite; with a great mix of rocky gnarlyness, fast, flowing singletrack and new style features and sections.

You’ll be riding over bedrock, negotiating loose, rocky, climbs and descents, swooping round berms, finding a rhythm over huge rollers, flying down steps, dropping into the ‘Cavity’ and getting spat out the exit with as much style as you can muster!

This is a severe trail with unavoidable fly-offs, so be sure that your skills are up to it.

Tarw Du

  • Grade: Black/Severe
  • Distance: 20.1 kilometres
  • Climb: 460 metres
  • Time: 1½-3 hours

The Tarw Du, which is Welsh for black bull, is the original trail at Coed y Brenin and is widely regarded as the first purpose-built mountain bike trail in the UK and probably beyond.

It’s rocky, it’s retro and the new section (Y Slab) features several large slabs and some committing features.

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Beast

  • Grade: Black/Severe
  • Distance: 35.1 kilometres
  • Climb: 1,100 metres
  • Time: 3-6 hours

This is the trail that everyone aspires to ride.

It’s long and it’s tough, and it will stretch you both physically and mentally.

You can expect loose rocky climbs, gnarly descents, stone fly offs, berms, tabletops and hips.

Don’t miss the Pink Heifer, Big Doug combo that gives over 4 kilometres of continuous sublime singletrack through the majestic tall Douglas firs.

Will you be dragging yourself up the final climb, limping down the last descent utterly spent, or will you rise to the challenge and tame the Beast?

Skills area

Y Ffowndri skills area has examples of the features found on different levels of graded mountain bike trails.

There are training areas for new riders to learn and develop riding techniques.

It is also a great place for more experienced riders to warm up or wind down after a ride.

Zone 1: Training Zone

  • Grades: Green/Easy – Blue/Moderate

If you’re new to mountain biking or want to learn off‑road riding techniques the Training Zone is the place to start.

Zone 2: Singletrack Zone

  • Grades: Green/Easy, Blue/Moderate, Red/Difficult, Black/Severe

If you’re new to Coed y Brenin and not sure which grade of trail to ride head to the Singletrack Zone to see what you are capable of.

There are four grades of trail here from easy (green) to severe (black).

Start easy and progress until you find your level.

Zone 3: Freeride Zone

  • Grade: Extreme

The Freeride Zone is a jump/pump track for mountain bikes.

It has eight bermed turns with fun features including rollers, hips, doubles, table tops and step ups/downs.

Zone 4: Drop-off Zone

  • Grade: Extreme

The Drop-off Zone features the Lemming Stone, a natural rock slab, where a variety of lines can be taken but remember to look before you leap.

You need to ride the red singletrack before you access this area.

Y Ffowndri Skills Area was built as part of the Eryri Centre of Excellence Project which was part-funded by the EU’s Convergence European Regional Development Fund through the Welsh Assembly Government.

Running trails

Five waymarked running trails leave from the visitor centre and go through some of the best scenery in Coed y Brenin Forest Park.

The trails vary in length and have been designed for novice to more experienced runners.

They include a mixture of singletrack, forest roads, rough unmade public rights of way and occasional sections of tarmac road.

Be prepared for roots, mud and rocks with steep ascents and descents.

  • Trail shoes are recommended.
  • Please be aware that timber lorries may be using the forest roads.

Running in Coed y Brenin (video)

Shoe Test Route

  • Grade: Moderate
  • Distance: 1 mile/1.8 kilometres
  • Climb: 50 metres
  • Time: 10-20 minutes

A short route, ideal for younger runners and those trying out new running shoes.

Sarn Helen Short

  • Grade: Moderate
  • Distance: 3 miles/5 kilometres
  • Climb: 97 metres
  • Time: 40 minutes

Climb up onto and contour round the Cefndeuddwr ridge, where you’ll meet the Sarn Helen, a Roman road, before descending back to the visitor centre.

Sarn Helen Long

  • Grade: Moderate
  • Distance: 5¼ miles/8.3 kilometres
  • Climb: 198 metres
  • Time: 1 hour

After climbing up to the Cefndeuddwr ridge, begin a descent into the valley.

Follow the Afon Gain river upstream to the ruins of Penmaen Farm where the trail climbs back up the hillside to the Sarn Helen, a Roman road.

Return past the medieval ironworks and along the forest road to the visitor centre.

Goldrush

  • Grade: Strenuous
  • Distance: 8½ miles/13.5 kilometres
  • Climb: 420 metres
  • Time: 1¼-2 hours

The trail climbs over the Cefndeuddwr ridge, where it detours along two footpaths before descending to the Afon Mawddach river.

After crossing the aerial bridge at Tyddyn Gwladys, you’ll climb up to and cross the Copper Bog before descending past Cae’n y coed house.

Join a bridleway back down to the Afon Mawddach river, then follow a low level finish along the Afon Eden river back to the visitor centre.

Half Marathon

  • Grade: Strenuous
  • Distance: 14 miles/22.5 kilometres
  • Climb: 727 metres
  • Time: 1¾-3½ hours

Once you’ve climbed to the Cefndeuddwr ridge, descend on forest roads to the Afon Mawddach river, following the river downstream.

Climb the next hill, along the edge of the copper bog and then down again on a footpath to the valley of the Afon Wen river.

The trail then climbs up past Ceunant Hyll and its cascading stream.

As you follow the extreme eastern edge of the forest park, you can enjoy some unexpected views.

Then descend back to the Afon Wen, taking in a short section of tarmac road.

You’ll have a chance to catch your breath, as you follow the valley floor round the end of the hill to the Afon Mawddach.

There’s one final sting in the tail after Ty’n y Groes: a climb back over the Cefndeuddwr ridge to the visitor centre.

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Geocaching trails

Hunt for the geocaches hidden in the forest on one of the two geocaching trails from the visitor centre.

Each geocache is a small container with an information sheet about the history of the location and a log book to record your visit.

The geocache may also contain small items left by other visitors that you can swap for something you have brought with you.

The geocaching trails are designed for walkers and there is no access for vehicles or bikes to the geocache sites.

Roman March

  • Grade: Moderate
  • Distance: 3¼ miles/5.2 kilometres
  • Geocaches: 7

Miner’s Trek

  • Grade: Strenuous
  • Distance: 5 miles/8 kilometres
  • Geocaches: 10

How to follow the geocache trails

  • Hire a GPS from the visitor centre with the co-ordinates preloaded (ring the visitor centre to reserve one before your visit).
  • Use the instructions on the GPS to follow your chosen trail.
  • Both trails follow forest roads and footpaths with steep ascents and descents on unmade uneven surfaces - stout footwear is recommended.
  • After your visit you can go to the Geocaching website www.geocaching.com to log your visit and finds. You can also download the co-ordinates for each geocache in the forest park onto your GPS from the Geocaching website.

Orienteering courses

Test your map reading skills by navigating between the controls (wooden marker posts) on an orienteering course through Coed y Brenin Forest Park.

The four permanent orienteering courses start and finish at the visitor centre.

They were designed by the Mid-Wales Orienteers and are all graded to British Orienteering Federation standards.

To get started download the maps from the bottom of this page or buy an A3 waterproof map (1:7,500 scale) from the visitor centre when you arrive.

Yellow course

  • Grade: Easy
  • Suitable for: Beginners and children
  • Distance: 1.7 kilometres

The entire course can be completed on good paths.

Orange course

  • Grade: Easy
  • Suitable for: Adults and older children who can understand a map
  • Distance: 2.7 kilometres

This course is harder than the yellow course.

It has controls on or close to line features as well as paths and allows you to develop your navigational skills.

Red course

  • Grade: Hard
  • Suitable for: Fit people who are reasonably confident map readers
  • Distance: 5.3 kilometres

The red course's navigation is moderate and it has route choices.

You will need to use line features other than paths (for example, walls) as “handrails”.

You will need to venture a short way from line features in one or two places.

Light green course

  • Grade: Hard
  • Suitable for: Experienced orienteers
  • Distance: 2.7 kilometres

This course's navigation is harder than the red course and it has route choices.

Some controls are on point features which are some way from any line feature.

Children’s activities

Play areas

The play areas are next to the visitor centre and are divided into three areas suitable for different ages.

The facilities include:

  • play house, double width slide, a rotating dish, dual swings and rocking animals
  • timber climbing wall and rock stepping stones
  • accessible play area with play equipment suitable for wheelchair users or children with visual impairments

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Animal puzzle trail

Pick up an animal puzzle trail leaflet from the visitor centre and head for the Afon Eden walking trail.

Then follow the clues, keeping your eyes peeled for the animals.

Discovery backpacks

You can borrow a free discovery backpack from the visitor centre.

Each backpack contains useful goodies like binoculars, a magnifying glass, a bug pot and nature identification cards along with a guide explaining how to use them.

Find out more about the discovery backpacks.

Café

The café in the visitor centre has views over the valley and forest park.

You can sit indoors or outside on the large balcony.

The café serves hot and cold food (with vegetarian and vegan options), a choice of coffees, other drinks and cakes.

It is open at the same times as the visitor centre.

Dogs on a short lead are welcome in the café.

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Other visitor facilities

  • bike wash
  • showers (you need to pay by cash)
  • free WIFI in the visitor centre and café

Conference facilities

Coed y Brenin Visitor Centre's conference facilities are suitable for a variety of business meetings, events and activities.

Find out more about conference facilities at Coed y Brenin Visitor Centre.

Bike shop

Beics Brenin bike shop is situated in the lower level of Coed y Brenin Visitor Centre.

Beics Brenin offers:

  • a wide range of bikes for hire to match the trails
  • a repair shop
  • sales of bikes, clothing and accessories
  • courses in mountain biking skills
  • a series of cycling events

For more information and opening times go to the Beics Brenin website.

Coed y Brenin Forest Park

Explore Coed y Brenin on a waymarked walking trail from one of our other car parks in the forest park:

  • Tyddyn Gwladys (a walking trail past two waterfalls)
  • Pont Cae’n y Coed (our longest waymarked walk in the forest park)
  • Ty'n y Groes (an accessible riverside trail and a walk up Penrhos mountain)
  • Glasdir (a trail through a ruined copper mine ruins with accessible section to a viewpoint over the ruins)
  • Pandy (a short walk in the forest garden with an accessible section to a viewpoint overlooking a waterfall)

Snowdonia National Park

Coed y Brenin Forest Park is set in the heart of Snowdonia National Park.

Snowdonia is the largest National Park in Wales and is home to picturesque towns and villages and the highest mountain in Wales.

For more information about visiting Snowdonia go to the Snowdonia National Park Authority website.

Accessibility information

Facilities for visitors with disabilities at Coed y Brenin Visitor Centre include:

  • four parking bays for blue badge holders in front of the visitor centre's main entrance
  • accessible trail with several pieces of tactile sculpture (Afon Eden Trail)
  • accessible parking area at viewpoint on Cefndeuddwr Trail (ask for a key and directions at the visitor centre)
  • accessible parking area near the Afon Eden Trail picnic area (contact the visitor centre for directions)
  • mountain bike trail suitable for riders using adaptive bikes
  • accessible play area for children
  • accessible picnic tables
  • a lift between the three floors of the visitor centre
  • hearing loop in café, conference rooms and information desk
  • direction signs with Braille inside the visitor centre
  • accessible toilets
  • wheelchairs available for hire

There are also accessible trails from three of our other car parks in Coed y Brenin Forest Park:

Follow the links at the bottom of this page to find out more about visiting these places.

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Opening times

Please check the top of this page for any changes to these opening times.

Coed y Brenin Visitor Centre and café

The Coed y Brenin Forest Park Visitor Centre and the café are open seven days per week throughout the year (except Christmas Day, Boxing Day and New Year's Day).

Summer opening times (1 April - 4 November)

Monday to Sunday 9am to 5pm

Winter opening times (5 November - 31 March)

Monday to Sunday 9.30am to 4.30pm

Shop

The shop is open seven days per week throughout the year (except Christmas Day, Boxing Day and New Year's Day).

Summer opening times (1 April - 4 November)

Monday to Sunday 9.30am to 4.30pm

Winter opening times (5 November - 31 March)

Monday to Sunday 10am to 4pm

Temporary closures and diversions to trails

Sometimes we need to close or divert trails for your safety whilst we undertake maintenance work or forest operations.

Please always follow any instructions on site and make sure you follow any temporary diversion signs in place.

Severe weather information

In severe weather, such as high winds or snow and ice, we may have to shut the visitor centre and car park due to the risk of injury to visitors or staff.

Contact us before your visit or check our Facebook page for updates.

Take care in the car park - we have limited resources to remove snow and ice and you should expect to be driving on slippery surfaces as soon as you leave the A470.

Expect all trail surfaces to be slippery - we do not treat any of the trails around the visitor centre or in the forest park.

Ride mountain bike trails in accordance with your skill level and the suitability of your equipment - the trail is likely to be slippery, especially if there is ice under the snow.

How to get here

Location

Coed y Brenin Visitor Centre is 8 miles north of Dolgellau.

It is in the county of Gwynedd.

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Ordnance Survey (OS) map

Coed y Brenin Visitor Centre is on OS Explorer OL18.

The OS grid reference is SH 723 268.

Directions

The visitor centre is signposted from the A470.

From Dolgellau, take the A470 towards Porthmadog.

Go through the village of Ganllwyd, continue for 1½ miles and the entrance to the visitor centre is on the right.

Satellite navigation (sat nav)

For satellite navigation, the postcode is LL40 2HZ.

Follow the signs to the visitor centre - do not take the no through road.

Public transport

The nearest mainline railway stations are Barmouth (Cambrian Coast line) and Blaenau Ffestiniog (Blaenau Ffestiniog-Llandudno line).

Bus services from Dolgellau and Blaenau Ffestiniog will stop by request at the entrance road to the visitor centre on the A470.

For details of public transport go to the Traveline Cymru website.

Parking

There are two charging points for electric vehicles in the car park.

There is a cycle rack in the car park.

Overnight parking is not permitted.

Parking charges

You are charged for the length of time you park at Coed y Brenin visitor centre.

The charges are:

  • £2 for 2 hours
  • 40p for every additional 20 minutes (maximum £7 per day)
  • £40 for 12 month season ticket (on sale at the visitor centre reception).

When you are ready to leave enter your vehicle registration into one of the machines in the car park and pay the parking charge by card or cash.

Free parking (local residents and blue badge holders)

Car parking is free if you live within the LL40 or LL41 postcode or the neighbouring villages of Arthog, Cutiau, Cardeon, Corris and Tal-y-Llyn or if you are a blue badge holder

Take your vehicle log book (V5 document) or blue badge to the visitor centre welcome desk to register for free parking.

Contact details

01341 440747

coedybrenin@cyfoethnaturiolcymru.gov.uk

Coed y Brenin Visitor Centre, Dolgefeiliau, Dolgellau LL40 2HZ

Related document downloads

Cyflym Coch trail PDF [4.3 MB]
Yr Afon trail PDF [2.2 MB]
MBR trail PDF [3.3 MB]
MinorTaur trail PDF [3.5 MB]
Tarw Du trail PDF [4.1 MB]
TEMTIWR MTB CyB.pdf PDF [4.1 MB]
Dragons Back trail PDF [3.5 MB]
Beast trail PDF [3.5 MB]

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