There’s a new purpose-built trail in Wales – the Gorlech Trail has recently opened in Brechfa Forest, near Carmarthen. And there’s more to come – the Gorlech trail is the first of three planned trails for the forest. The trail is part of a long-term regeneration partnership project between Forestry Commission Wales, Carmarthenshire County Council and the Welsh Assembly Government (supported and funded by the European Objective 1 programme) which aims to establish Brechfa Forest as a premier mountain biking destination in Wales.
Described as “technically challenging”, the trail is 20km long and combines existing forest track with sections of feature-laden singletrack. The trail’s been designed by proper-fast DHer Rowan Sorrell, so you won’t be surprised to find drops, tabletops and berms in there. There are three substantial climbs and plenty of views. “The sheer scale of Brechfa Forest makes for longer trails,” Rowan says, “something that no other mountain biking centre in Wales has to offer.”
The second Brechfa trail is due later this year, and will be more family/novice oriented. The project will also involve the development of improved cultural heritage interpretation boards and waymarking, promoting Brechfa Forest’s significant place in history. Brechfa was an important royal hunting ground in the middle ages and was responsible for producing timber for the industrial needs of South Wales during the industrial revolution and the First World War, when timber was taken from the forest to produce naphtha for making explosives.
Brechfa Forest is only eight miles from the M4/A48 corridor (or in England-centric terms relative to other centres, go as if to Afan Argoed but carry on a bit…) but promises a properly remote feel. We’ll go and check it out soon and let you know…