Bwlch Nant yr Arian Forest Visitor Centre, near Aberystwyth
Enjoy the red kites and views in our most popular woodland in mid Wales with a range of walking and mountain biking trails, visitor centre and cafe.
- Closures and diversions
- Walking trails
- Mountain biking trails
- Running trails
- Red kite feeding
- Horse riding trail
- Play area
- Accessibility information
- Find out more
- Opening times
- How to get here
- Contact details
Bwlch Nant yr Arian Visitor Centre sits at the head of a dramatic valley and has commanding views of Cardigan Bay and the Cambrian Mountains.
The visitor centre is the starting point for a range of waymarked trails for walkers, mountain bikers, runners and horse riders.
It is well-known for its long established tradition of daily feeding of red kites, Wales’s National Bird of Prey.
Take a look at our film about visiting Bwlch Nant yr Arian.
The range of trails include:
- three waymarked walking trails of different lengths which all offer great views
- three of the finest mountain bike trails in Wales, famous for long singletrack runs and superb views
- two running trails with flat sections, climbs and a variety of surfaces
- four orienteering courses ranging from beginner level to a more challenging option for experienced orienteers
- a waymarked circular trail for horse riders via forest tracks, paths and quiet tarmaked roads
The café serves fresh, locally sourced produce daily.
The menu includes succulent pork sausages and tasty venison or beef burgers, homemade soups and a delicious choice of cakes.
It is open seven days a week from 10am to 5pm (hot food is served between 10am and 3pm).
The shop specialises in local and unique products and souvenirs.
It sells local wood crafts, jams and chutneys, bottled Welsh beer, books and an ever changing range of gifts.
There are two play areas, one for toddlers and one for older children.
- The toddlers’ play area is for children aged between three and six years. It has a safety-surfaced play zone and easy access for parents, pushchairs and young children. The equipment includes two toddler swings and a purpose built unit with a slide, climbing wall, climbing net and ladder
- The Dizzy Heights Play Area is for children aged six years and older. It has a wood chip surface, two giant basket swings, an orangutan climbing frame and a purpose-built section with slide, climbing wall, rope ladder, fireman's pole and climbing net
All of the play equipment is of robust timber construction which blends in with the forest surroundings.
Bwlch Nant yr Arian has been awarded the Gold Award by Visit Wales for attractions which make an exceptional effort to create an enjoyable and memorable experience for their visitors.
- 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 on-site and make sure you follow any temporary diversion signs in place
Please see the Bwlch Nant yr Arian update for the latest information
All of the walking trails are waymarked and start from the visitor centre.
Barcud Trail and Animal Puzzle Trail
Two thirds of a mile, 1.2 kilometre Accessible
The Barcud Trail leads you around the edge of the lake where the daily feeding of the red kites takes place (the Welsh for red kite is “Barcud Coch”). It is suitable for wheelchairs. Along the route there are wooden animals to spot - pick up an Animal Puzzle Trail leaflet from the visitor centre.
Miners Trail & Ridgetop Trail
Miners Trail 1.5 miles, 2.5 kilometres, Moderate
Ridgetop Trail 3 miles, 3.5 kilometres, Moderate
The Miners Trail winds along the head of the valley, following a leat which once carried water to power lead mines. It then climbs a short but steep hillside and returns through recently planted deciduous woodland.
The Ridgetop Trail rewards you with non-stop stunning views including a panorama of the Rheidol and Melindwr valleys, Cardigan Bay and Plynlimon, the highest mountain in mid Wales and which is known as Pumlumon in Welsh.
All of the mountain biking trails are waymarked and start from the visitor centre.
Download the trails before your visit.
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 on-site information before setting off on your ride.
5.6 miles, 9 kilometres, Grade Red/Difficult
The Pendam Trail is the shortest trail at Bwlch Nant yr Arian and combines sections of the Summit and Syfydrin trails to give you a taste of fantastic riding with lots of technically challenging singletrack and some hard climbs.
11 miles, 18 kilometres, Grade Red/Difficult
The Summit Trail takes in all the singletrack at Bwlch Nant yr Arian which includes plenty of flowing and twisty sections and a big climb in the middle as well as some superb views.
22 miles, 35 kilometres, Grade Black/Severe
The Syfydrin Trail includes the entire Summit trail with its fantastic singletrack, and also leads you out onto the high open hills for a long and challenging ride in exposed and remote countryside.
The waymarked running trails start from the car park. Named after two local standing stones, the Cow and Calf, these exciting routes offer a fantastic introduction to trail running in the Cambrian Mountains.
Y Fuwch Trail/ Y Llo Trail
Y Fuwch 6.5 miles, 10 kilometres, Moderate
Y Llo 3.1 miles, 5 kilometres, Moderate
The Fuwch Trail is a challenging route which takes in a variety of surfaces and several steep ascents.
The Llo Trail starts off with a flat section almost two kilometres long before climbing up onto the ridge and leading back to the car park.
Mynydd March Trail
The waymarked horse trail is 6.5 miles (10.5 kilometres) long.
It starts on the forest road (grid reference SN 717 814) and follows a circular route taking in a mixture of forest tracks, paths and quiet tarmaked roads.
Parking is provided along the forest road beyond the main car park with ample space for turning large vehicles.
There are four permanent orienteering courses (a series of posts you have to find in order). These include an easier course for beginners, often used by families, and a harder course for experienced orienteers.
Get the special map from the visitor centre, then use your map reading skills to try to find orienteering marker posts (called controls) in the right order.
In 1999, Bwlch Nant yr Arian became a red kite feeding station as part of a programme to protect the small number of red kites in the area at that time.
Nowadays, the red kites are fed by the lake every day at 2pm in winter (GMT) and at 3pm in summer (BST).
The Barcud Trail (an easy access route around the lake) and the café offer fantastic views of this spectacle. There is also a bird hide overlooking the feeding area.
You can expect to see as many as 150 kites coming in to feed – there are often more during winter months. They are mostly local birds and they come to feed from within a 10 mile radius.
- Accessible trail (Barcud Trail – see below)
- disabled parking
- wheelchair access to the visitor centre and café
- disabled toilets
- facilities for the hearing impaired in café
- courtesy wheelchair
The Barcud Trail, which goes around the edge of the lake, is suitable for wheelchairs. There are no steps or stiles and the gradient is 10% or less with resting bays on uphill sections.
- Download our PlacesToGo app to plan your visit
- Find out what’s on
- Find out how to respect, protect and enjoy the countryside
- Help prevent the spread of tree disease
- Organise an event or activity in a woodland managed by Natural Resources Wales
- Plan an educational visit or activity
- See the list of current exclusions and restrictions to open access land
The visitor centre is open from 10am to 5pm seven days a week (except Christmas day, Boxing day and New Year's day).
The café is open from 10am to 5pm seven days a week (except Christmas day, Boxing day and New Year's day). Hot food is served between 10am and 3pm daily.
The shop is open from 11am to 4.30pm seven days a week (except Christmas day, Boxing day and New Year's day). It is closed during red kite feeding periods.
The red kites are fed daily at 2pm in winter (GMT) and 3pm in summer (BST). These times vary from winter to summer based on British Summer Time.
Bwlch Nant yr Arian Forest Visitor Centre is nine miles east of Aberystwyth on the A44.
The OS grid reference is SN 717 813.
On-site parking costs £1.50 for up to two hours and £3.00 for over two hours. A season ticket is available.
The nearest train station is in Aberystwyth.
The 525 bus from Aberystwyth - Ponterwyd/Llanidloes stops on request at the entrance to the car park.
The National Express coach service stops daily at Ponterwyd and Aberystwyth.
For details of public transport visit www.traveline.cymru
Bwlch Nant yr Arian Visitor Centre, Ponterwyd, Aberystwyth SY23 3AB
Tel: 01970 890453