Hafod Trails has trails for all, and it's dead close to Brechfa's trail centre too


South Wales has a brand new bike park opening this Easter, it’s called Hafod Trails and so far there are five tracks to ride, ranging from new-rider friendly green to experienced black. Each of the new tracks will drop you around 100m vertical, so BikePark Wales it ain’t… but it’s on par with some of the best UK mountain bike uplift venues, like Dirt Farm, formerly known as Black Mountains Cycle Centre.

This is no push up either, Hafod has its own uplift service taking you directly to the highest point, using pickup trucks and bespoke trailers to make shuttling up the hill easier. “My kids can’t load their own bikes onto one of the normal trailers where the brackets are above your head, it’s too high,” Charlie Kingswood from Hafod Trails tells me. “So we built our own trailer, my brother Alex has designed and fabricated them so new riders and kids can do everything themselves.”

Hafod is built from the ground up as a family trail centre, with a mix of ability trails  | Credit: Dave Price Photography

The Hafod trails are targeted at a mix of abilities, but the big thing here is progression, Charlie says. She founded the first trails to cater for her kids’ growing interest in the sport, and it snowballed from there. 

“We can cater to families, established riders and even enduro races,” she says. “We’re not trying to be Revs, BPW, Dirt Farm, or Dyfi. But the area we have here is ideal for people who want natural feeling trails that are great fun.

Trails built for last summers enduro have been reworked with more support and better weatherproofing  | Credit: Dave Price Photography

The Hafod Trails

To find Hafod Trails you’ll need to venture further west than the bikepark homeland of South Wales and the English-Welsh border. Drive to the end of the M4 and then keep trucking north and you’ll find yourself in the Brechfa Forest, home to four trail centre routes including the brilliant Raven. Ninety minutes from Cardiff, harder still to reach from England, but worth it when you get there.

But it was never the intention to build a bike park on a working farm, Charlie tells me. “Of course the original plan was not to run a bike park but we’re all into our mountain biking in my family, so we built a little trail for the kids,” she says. “It was 30m long so it got pretty tired, but there was a small, steep bit of land behind the barn, so we made a bigger trail there, which now forms part of one of the trails.”

Hafod is south facing, meaning the trails dry out fast and the loamy shale drains well too | Credit: Dave Price Photography

A kids trail is a long way from a full-blown bike park, and it was interest in Hafod from Western Bike Events that really got things going. The company was looking for a replacement venue for its 2023 season after Afan dropped out.

“It was a no-brainer, in 10 weeks and two days we built the first trails and sorted out the infrastructure,” Charlie says. “We had 250 riders here last summer for the race and everyone was really stoked, amazing to have people here riding the trails that we’d built.”

With the trails in place and the business model already well established by the likes of Dirt Farm and Flyup 417 it made sense to operate Hafod as a bike park. “The enduro was a massive success, it was amazing, but those trails weren’t necessarily bike park trails as you’d expect to find them,” says Charlie. The basis was there but it needed work to make them sustainable and able to stand up to full time traffic.

Proper jumps?… not yet, but they are on the list | Credit: Dave Price Photography

The trails now are a mixture of flow and tech, with a natural off-piste feel to them. Jumps are planned for the future but you won’t find anything purpose designed to get air off, besides doubling up rollers or using the natural features to send it. It’s also very much a bike park dedicated to kids and families, after all that’s where it all began for Hafod, which really grew up in response to the bigger bike parks. 

“BikePark Wales is amazing, but it’s over £300 for a day for our family,” Charlie explains. “What we’re trying to do is have something where families can come for a reasonable amount of money that gets kids out on the trails.”