Dolgellau is a pretty little historic town in mid Wales. It is a good base to ride from with Coed y Brenin Trail Centre only 5 miles away. But if you're fed up of trail centres and need some natural trail then this will fit the bill. It is amazing and is a hidden gem up above the resort of Barmouth on the Mawddach Estuary. On a good day with views across the Mawddach are simply stunning. This isn't an easy ride, climbing 2116 feet in 8.5 miles. But the descents are something else! It's the type of ride worth taking your time if the weather is good so you can absorb the scenery! The other good aspect of this trail is the descent takes you straight back to the car!!
1. On the right of the car park is a gate leading to the bridlepath take this and up. The path splits take the left-hand path to do the route clockwise. I was told in the local bike shop that this was the best way to tackle this route. I think I would agree!
2. Follow the track which goes through the gate and skirts the edge of a forest on the left. Continue for about 100 yards and through the next gate. This takes you to open moorland. The track continues to the right and up. You will have seen this snaking up the side of a mountain in front of you. Proceed! This is a long slog for about 0.6 miles. Rising from 860 feet to 1500 feet.
3. At the top there is a post and the gate. Go through the gate for a rocky descent. Make the best of the views in front of you across to the Llyn Peninsular keeping your eye on the trail ahead! There is an annoying gate towards the end of this rocky descent!!
4. Proceed down towards the wall keeping it on your left. Keep going for just over a mile. You are now looking for a right turn. The trail pops out onto a concrete path. There are some woods in front of you. If you cross the river you have gone too far!! Turn right and climb.
5. Keep climbing. There is a Lake on the right-hand side which you can't see from the trail. It's called Llyn Erdyn. The trail is a mixture of grass and mud! It can get a little boggy in sections. Keep climbing. Eventually you will see Pont Scethin (a bridge) on the right. You join the trail and turn right away from Pont Scethin.
6. Follow the trail climbing for just under 1 mile. You will pass the memorial stone on your left. At the top is a gate go through it. The wall is on your right.
7. Now the fun starts. Descend down Braich 1824 feet to 750 feet in 2 miles! The descent is a mixture of grassy slope and narrow rocky singletrack. It's fast and furious. See the video!! The end of the trail brings you straight back to the car.
From Dolgellau head out on the A496 to Barmouth. After 2.8 miles there is a sharp right turn at the Hotel up a steep Lane. This is just before the village of Bontuddu. Proceed up the steep Lane for approximately 1.5 miles. At the top there is a left turn and a place to park the car.
When to Bike
Potentially this can be done year-round but again, as with any high mountain ride, go prepared. Even in summer a waterproof will be essential. Let people know where you are going and carry plenty of food, water, warm clothing, map/GPS.
Where to stay?
There's plenty of accommodation around. Many catering for mountain bikers.