Our Britain's best singletrack series heads to mid-Wales for a real wilderness experience

Welsh wilderness riding at its finest

Welsh wilderness riding at its finest. Photo credit Seb Rogers

Doethie Valley

  • 30km (18.6 miles)

Doethie Valley has its own unique appeal — and a few gotchas that are worth knowing up front. Few rides south of the Scottish Highlands can match this route’s ‘out there’ feel and, in terms of wilderness riding, this is as good as it gets without putting in a lot more effort. The singletrack is also a reward in itself, although it’s of the old-school technical, stop-start variety rather than the fast, flowing endorphin-fest that’s offered by most trail centres.
The downsides? Well, it’s a pain to get to. The singletrack runs to a bit over 3km, but you’ve got to venture deep into sat nav-unfriendly territory just to park the car, and the route is mostly made up of tarmac and gravel to get you to — and back from — the little slice of backcountry nirvana that is Doethie. Did we mention that the best bit of the route is on the short and technical side? Oh, and it’s wet. Very wet. You WILL get wet feet, whatever time of year you travel. There are no easy bail-outs and absolutely no facilities, either, so you’ll need to be self-sufficient for the whole ride. Pack food, water, clothes, tools and spares accordingly.
But don’t let all this put you off. It’s well worth the effort, just to find yourself in a valley that’s been pretty much unchanged for hundreds of years. Just you, your bike, the landscape and a narrow, challenging trail cutting through it. What’s not to like?