One of the slight disadvantages of building mountain bike trails in working forests is that, occasionally, some work needs to be done on said forests. Such is the case at Afan Forest Park, parts of which will be closed to the public until early next summer. Including, alas, the popular Wall trail.
Contractors will be carrying out work to open up parts of the forest for the benefit of wildlife
and plants and improve the forest’s environmental value. Groups of timber harvesting contractors have started thinning trees in the Afan Valley on the north side of the river, known as Michaelston Forest,
to create more open areas and increase the amount of light into the forest. This will enable more ground vegetation to grow and will produce more food for the forest animals, as well as developing different habitats to protect the plants and animals and allow them to thrive.
It means Michaelston Forest, including public rights of way, four waymarked walks and The Wall trail, will have to be closed because of safety considerations.
However, the bit of the forest around Afan Visitor Centre, including the Penhydd trail, will remain open. Also unaffected is the area around Glyncorrwg MTB Centre, including the White’s Level and Skyline trails.
Forestry Commission Wales woodland manager Tim Harland said, “Because the Afan Valley is a difficult and dangerously steep place for harvesting contractors, the health and safety of the operation requires that the public are not allowed on or near the work site.
“Mud and tree debris will make the trails impassable for the public, and there will be heavy timber lorries and harvesting machinery travelling
between sites. We acknowledge this will be an inconvenience, but we have tried to minimise the disruption and ask the public to use other areas
while this work is undertaken.”
We just hope that The Wall isn’t too badly damaged and is quickly reinstated when the work is completed. It’ll certainly be interesting to ride post-thinning – we can imagine that some parts of it will take on an entirely different character.