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Brechfa Forest – Abergorlech woodland, near Carmarthen

Woodland walks, a mountain bike trail and an arboretum with a difference

View from the Forest Garden picnic site

What's here

Dogs
Mountain biking
Parking
Picnic
Play Area
Walking trail
The Gorlech (Red) Mountain bike trail will be closed from Monday 6 November for 4 days. This is to keep you safe during timber harvesting and for emergency maintenance of the trail.

Overview 

Brechfa Forest is the modern name for part of the ancient Glyn Cothi Forest.

Glyn Cothi Forest was managed for centuries by local people in order to provide building materials, products and grazing.

In 1283, following the final defeat of Wales by Edward I, Glyn Cothi became a Royal Forest administered under Forest Law for several centuries.

Since those days a very different forest has developed. In the 1900s Brechfa Forest was replanted with conifers by the Forestry Commission to boost Britain’s timber reserve after the heavy use of timber in the First World War.

Visiting Brechfa Forest

Today Brechfa Forest covers some 6500 hectares and is looked after by Natural Resources Wales for the benefit of people, wildlife and timber production. 

There are walking and mountain bike trails through these two woodlands within Brechfa Forest:

There are also walking trails in other places in Brechfa and horse riders are welcome on forest roads.

Abergorlech woodland, Brechfa Forest

Abergorlech is home to a picnic site with childrens' play area in a wooded location where the Gorlech and Cothi rivers meet.

Strangely shaped stones have been found in the river, and examples of these Gorlech Stones are displayed in the front gardens of cottages in the villages. 

Sewin (sea trout) and salmon find their way up the river Gorlech each year to spawn.

There are three waymarked walks from Abergorlech, one of which goes to Brechfa Forest Garden.

Brechfa Forest Garden

This was created by Forestry Commission staff in the late 1950s and early 1960s (but with the most recent plantings in 2004).

They planted a variety of trees, mainly coniferous, to assess their suitability for use in British forestry.

Many of these trees have matured and now form an arboretum with a difference as, instead of one or two trees of each type, there are whole stands of trees from all over the world.

These include:

  • giant redwoods from California
  • eucalyptus from Australia; nothofagus from South America
  • firs from all the continents
  • a variety of European species like sessile oak, walnut and spruces

Brechfa Forest Garden can be reached on the Forest Garden Trail.

Closures and diversions

Please note:

  • Sometimes we need to close or divert trails for your safety whilst we undertake maintenance work or forest operations
  • Occasionally we may have to close a site in extreme weather, such as high winds or snow and ice due to the risk of injury to visitors or staff
  • Please always follow any instructions onsite and make sure you follow any temporary diversion signs in place

Walking trails

The walking trails are waymarked and start from the car park.

Riverside Walk

1 mile, 1.7 kilometres

This mainly level woodland trail goes alongside the scenic river Gorlech, over a humpback bridge and then returns along the forest road.

Gorlech Walk

3.5 miles, 5.7 kilometres

This delightful trail follows the River Gorlech along forestry roads before crossing a small bridge on to a footpath and climbing uphill through mature woodlands made up of mixed broad leaf trees and conifers.

Forest Garden Walk

5 miles, 8.3 kilometres

This trail goes to Brechfa Forest Garden. The forest garden is made up of half of the tree species that are able to grow in the British Isles. They were planted by the Forestry Commission in the last century to assess how well they grew in Britain.

Mountain biking trail

The mountain biking trail is waymarked and starts from Abergorlech woodland car park (see how to get here).

Sifigwm woodland car park is an alternative starting point for the mountain biking trail.  This quiet and remote car park is accessible from a minor road off the B4337, half a mile from the village of Rhydcymerau (OS grid reference: SN 553 395).

See our mountain biking page for a list of all our mountain bike trails and information about grading to make sure you pick a trail that is right for you.

Please also read the relevant onsite information before setting off on your ride.

Gorlech Trail

19 kilometres, grade red

This trail is a hard, fast, all weather surface which becomes more and more exciting as your skill level and speed progress. Highlights include perfectly sculpted berms and huge switchbacks, jumps and tabletops

BRECHFA FOREST Bike leaflet.

Opening times

The toilets are portaloos which are open at all times.

How to get here

Abergorlech is a small village on the B4310, south of Lampeter.

From the A482 between Lampeter and Llandovery, turn off onto the B4302for Llansawel. From Llansawel follow signs for Abergorlech.

The OS grid reference is SN 585 340.

Car parking is free of charge.

Download the location map.

Public transport

The nearest train station is in Carmarthen. For details of public transport visit www.traveline.cymru

Find out more

Contact details

Tel: 0300 065 3000

Email: enquiries@naturalresourceswales.gov.uk

Related document downloads

Brechfa Forest Location map PDF [129.4 KB]

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