Run-tastic Trails

Come and enjoy one of the four new running trails at Coed y Brenin forest park in north Wales. The routes offer opportunities for trail runners of all abilities to come and enjoy the forest alongside the cyclists and walkers who already enjoy the site.

It is the first step by Natural Resources Wales in ambitious plans to develop trail running in the area in the same way mountain biking was developed in the early 1990’s, turning the forest park into the UK’s most comprehensive sign-posted trail running centre.

The site near Dolgellau welcomes around 170,000 visitors each year to use the paths and mountain bike trails, providing a boost to the local economy. It’s hoped that the new running trails will provide another boost to these figures.

Graeme Stringer of Natural Resources Wales said:

“Over the last six years we’ve seen a big increase in the number of runners using the trails at Coed y Brenin, so we’ve responded by developing a range of new trails especially designed for runners.

"The new trails really broaden what we are able to offer ranging from a short 2.7mile route, to the longest at 13.5 miles.

“Traffic free running trails and beautiful scenery offer people the perfect way to enjoy the health benefits of running and a chance get away from it all.

"The routes are also all fully sign-posted so no need to worry about taking a wrong turning either.”

Matt Ward, organiser of Trail Marathon Wales which is based at Coed y Brenin, said:

"Over the last 3 years Trail Marathon Wales has grown to be one of the biggest and best trail marathons in the UK, and this June will welcome 1,000 entrants.

"We are grateful to Natural Resources Wales for all the hard work they have put in to develop these outstanding routes.

“We hope this is just the beginning of the evolution of trail running here and expect Coed y Brenin to lead the way in the growth of the sport and trail running destination centres in the UK.

"Already in 2014 we have hosted the annual Salomon Trail Team GB training camp, with some of the UK's top runners sampling the delights of Coed y Brenin and the surrounding area.

"The reaction was one of awe and inspiration from the trails we have at Coed y Brenin was very pleasing, especially when you consider that the team is packed with world champions who have run on all five continents over the last few years!"

Graeme added:

“Having these trails at Coed y Brenin is a great facility for local people and the influx of visitors to the area brings a welcome boost to the local economy.”

The Routes:

Sarn Helen – Short route, 2.7 miles, 97m of climbing. Climb from the visitor centre and contour round the ridge picking up the Sarn Helen Roman road to loop back to the visitor centre.

Sarn Helen – Long route, 5.2 miles, 198m of climbing. The route climbs over the Cefndeuddwr ridge before descending into the valley of the Afon Gain, where it crosses the river twice before climbing back past the ruins of Penmaen farm before returning to the visitor centre along the Sarn Helen past the Medieval Ironworks.

Gold Rush, 8.5 miles, 420m of climbing. This trail takes in considerably more sections of single track footpath than the others, giving a different experience as it climbs the ridge and drops to cross the Afon Mawddach before climbing again to cross the copper bog to reach a mile and a half long descent back to the valley floor before following the Afon Eden for a low level finish back to the visitor centre.

Half Marathon, 13.5 miles, 727m of climbing. After climbing to Cefndeuddwr the trail descend to the Afon Mawddach on forest roads before climbing up and over the next ridge before descending on a footpath to the Afon Wen. The trail then climbs past Cynant Hyll with its cascading waterfall before following the ridge down the valley on the extreme Eastern edge of the forest park. The trail then drops back down to the Wen, before contouring round the base of the next ridge, giving an extended respite before the final sting in the tail – climbing back over the Cefndeuddwr ridge to the finish!

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