Find out what's instore with our full lowdown on every run
Vital information on every trail at Bike Park Wales.
H indicates a trail we’d recommend for a hardtail. Of course there’s nothing stopping you from riding all of them on a hardtail, but these will be the most fun.
Green trail: easy
B1 – Badgers Run (H)
Start here to get your eye in and warm up. It’s also ideal if you’re with your kids. Smooth, wide and rolling, it’s all about building confidence.
Orange trail: the climb
C1 – Beast of Burden
A 4.7km singletrack climb that winds gradually up the hill. It should take around 25 minutes if you’re reasonably fit, and you should be able to manage five or six runs in a day under your own steam. To save time, go straight up the steep initial climb above the uplift road (ignoring the singletrack to the left), then stay on the forest road as it runs parallel to the singletrack.
Blue trails: Intermediate
i1 – Sixtapod (H)
Probably the most popular and well-used trail at Bike Park Wales, Sixtapod begins with a gentle traverse across the hill through a clearcut field of stumps. There are a few small tabletop jumps and big, banked turns to hold you as the gradent steepens. Once in the woods, a series of rhythmic rollers inserts fresh air beneath your wheels once again and the trees begin to blur as you pick up speed. Smooth and well surfaced, there’s plenty of grip and it’s absolutely brilliant on a hardtail. Highly recommended.
i2 – Willy Waver (H)
Sixtapod links into Willy Waver at the mid-point fire road to make a classic combo. Basically Willy Waver ups the ante from Sixtapod, mainly because of a steeper gradient. It’s much faster and there’s no need to pedal at all. Instead, concentrate on keeping momentum through the giant berms and undulating straights. Start to push the speed more, and you’ll find that many of the ups can be turned into jumps.
i3 – Melted Welly (H)
Head left from the top and you’ll end up on Melted Welly. With minimal pedalling from the start, it soon turns into a well-groomed, twisty, turny toboggan run. As the trees close in on either side, take the left fork and pump the numerous undulations for maximum velocity. To finish, a sequence of corkscrew bends spit you out at the bottom of a short climb — sorry, it’s not all downhill at Bike Park Wales!
i4 – Blue Belle (H)
Continue straight ahead across the fire road at the exit of Melted Welly and you’ll find Blue Belle. It starts out tight and twisty through the trees, and without much in the way of berms and a few roots thrown in for good measure you’ll need to get your cornering technique spot on. As the trail breaks out into the open, the speed ramps up and you’ll find yourself skimming a series of crests overlooking Merthyr. Blue Belle joins the confluence of trails that pass under the uplift road, at which point you get to choose one more run to the bottom.
i5 – Norkle (H)
One of the things everyone seems to remark on during their first visit is how good the trail is between the centre and the uplift. That trail is called Norkle, although it actually begins at the uplift tunnel. The real fun starts as you pick up speed parallel with the road; deep compressions and floaty crests give this trail a textbook roller coaster sensation.
i6 – Bush Wacker (H)
Short but sweet, Bush Wacker drops you directly opposite the workshop door on a velvety run full of fast turns and a few sharp compressions.
Red trails: Advanced
a1 – Locomotion (H)
Possibly one of the least used trails on the hill, because it starts with a climb. It peels off left towards the bottom of Sixtapod, just before the treeline. Get on the gas for 50m or so and you’ll find a fairly smooth trail with slightly bigger jumps than most of the blue runs. Makes a good taster for anyone looking to progress to the red zone.
a2 – Wibbly Wobbly
Runs more or less parallel with the blue-graded Sixtapod, so the gradients are similar, but you’ll find a much rockier, more natural surface. It’s pretty rough in places, and to keep the flow you’ll need to be comfortable on smaller jumps and drops. Once in the trees, you’ll find it a lot tighter than its neighbour, and there are some tricky roots and rocks that glint at you with evil intent when it’s wet.
a3 – Rim Dinger
The name says it all really. Directly opposite the exit of Wibbly Wobbly, this is a really rocky trail, incorporating some technical jumps and a constantly shifting surface beneath your wheels. Get it wrong and there’s plenty of opportunity to do damage to both body and bike, but find the speed to float over the slabs and it’s one of the most rewarding trails at BPW.
a4 – Vicious Valley
Take the right fork at the start of Melted Welly and you’ll end up on Vicious Valley. The trail builders have purposefully left much of it as nature intended, including plenty of shiny roots crossing the trail at unhelpful angles. The highlight of Vicious Valley has to be the long, fast chute into a small road gap jump. If it’s wet, the next section turns into a lake, and there’s a bit of a climb just after, but it’s still a thrilling run and well worth spending some time on.
a5 – Bonneyville
Named after Michael Bonney, Orange Bikes’ well-loved marketing man who suffered life-changing injuries in a crash on his road bike, this is one of BPW’s signature trails and has featured in many a photo session. Go through the gap in a dry stone wall, drop into a series of tight hairpins and search for the elusive fast line over a tricky combination of roots and rocks to join Blue Belle.
a6 – Insufficient Funds
It’s easy to come up short — hence the name — on this sequence of step-downs, but get them right and there’s plenty of airtime on offer.
a7 – A470 line
Bike Park Wales’ new jump line has more take-offs and landings than Cardiff airport. Starting with a few wooded corners off Melted Welly, the trail soon widens, cutting a lip-strewn swathe across the open hillside. With bigger take-offs on the left and smaller tables on the right, it’s primed for upping the boost levels as your confidence grows.
Black trails: Expert
e1 – Enter the Dragon
Effectively follows the route of the old Dragon downhill race track. Starts with a couple of step-downs, then some big tabletops and a couple more, even larger, step-downs. You’ll need to pedal hard to clear them and there’s often a wind at the top to add to the difficulty. Big boulders lurk in the trees, and they’re followed by more big jumps — including the Trail X pro line — once you’re back in the open. It’s not a steep track, but it’s rough as old boots.
e2 – Dai Hard
If you’re determined to ride a black run and haven’t brought a downhill bike, Dai Hard is the one to do. It’s not a huge leap from something like Vicious Valley or Wibbly Wobbly, although the roots are bigger and slicker, the rocks are more like boulders and there are some hefty old hucks if you really want to get up to speed.
e3 – Pork Belly
Effectively the continuation of Enter the Dragon, it’s equally rough and throws in some banked turns and a couple of tabletops.
e5 – Deep Navigation
One to borrow your mate’s bike for. A Friday afternoon Roman road of twisted, bucked and contorted rock in which the gaps are filled in by awkward, wheel-swallowing holes.
e6 – Zut Alors
Makes Deep Navigation look like a snooker table.
e7 – Half Cut
One of the steepest tracks on the hill, Half Cut is laced with a hefty dose of tricky, testing roots. There’s a lovely big rock in the middle of the trail that’s almost guaranteed to grind a few teeth off your chainring.
e8 – Rock ‘n’ Roll
Turn right after the stone wall on Bonneyville and you’ll plunge into a quarry on what’s basically a vertical sheep track. Suffice to say you may want to stop and have a look before committing.
p1 – Trail X
Badass, floaty jumps across the open hillside. Bring big balls and a windsock.