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It may be lowly in comparison to many of North Wales’s mountains, but Moel Arthur is still a proud Welsh hill, and a circuit of the many tracks and trails that creep around its steep flanks makes for an easy yet tremendously entertaining outing, as well as an excellent introduction to the riding in the wonderful Clwydian Hills — an altogether different North Wales mountain biking experience.
Nothing on this loop is particularly difficult, so a clean round should be within most riders’ capabilities. But this by no means detracts from the quality of the riding, which is varied yet absolutely top-notch throughout. Favourite sections are sure to include the drawn-out rush around the contour lines in the early stages — if only all riding could be as effortless as this — and the rough descent down the ancient trackway to Cimwch. The pick of the bunch is undoubtedly the short, sweet and surprisingly sinuous stretch of singletrack that cuts its way enjoyably back through the woodland beneath Penycloddiau at the very end.
The climbs are easy-angled and well-surfaced, so don’t feel like much; yet they still add up to over 600m in total — quite a bit in a ride this length. The most challenging sections are the steady track ascent on the flanks of Penycloddiau, known locally as the Veranda, in the very early stages; and the lengthy tarmac pull up from Nant-y-cwm to Penycloddiau, at the end, which sets you up for a fast and furious finale through the trees.
The rest will slip easily beneath the tyres in a blur of short ups and rapid downs that are guaranteed to put a smile on your face.