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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, running and mountain biking trails, visitor centre and cafe

View of the lake at Bwlch Nant yr Arian Forest

What's here

Accessible facilities
Baby changing facilities
Dogs welcome
Horse Riding
Mountain biking
Orienteering route
Parking (accessible)
Parking (charge)
Picnic area
Play Area
Running trail
Visitor Centre
Walking trail

OverviewGold Award 2018

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.

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.

The range of trails includes:

  • 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
  • skills park with a purpose-built track for mountain bikers to practice their technique
  • 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 tarmacked roads

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 on-site and make sure you follow any temporary diversion signs in place

Walking trails

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.

Walking trails

Miners Trail

1.5 miles, 2.5 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.

Ridgetop Trail

3 miles, 3.5 kilometres, moderate

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.

Walking trails

Mountain biking trails

All of the mountain biking trails are waymarked and start from the visitor centre.

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.

Pendam Trail

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.

Walking trails 

Summit Trail

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.

Walking trails

Syfydrin Trail

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.

Walking trails

Parc Sgiliau (skills park)

The skills park is an exciting new addition to the mountain bike features at Bwlch Nant yr Arian.

It has a purpose-built track for mountain bikers to practice their technique or just warm up before hitting the longer trails which start from the visitor centre.

Features include rollers, step ups, berms, tabletops, hips and bowls.

The skills park was designed and built by Trailcraft. The site was carefully selected so that the new track doesn’t affect other trails or the view of the lake.

Running trails

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

6.5 miles, 10 kilometres, moderate

The Fuwch Trail is a challenging route which takes in a variety of surfaces and several steep ascents.

Y Llo

3.1 miles, 5 kilometres, moderate

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.

BNyrA Running Trails Y Fuch a Y Llo

Horse riding trail

Mynydd March Trail

6.5 miles, 10.5 kilometres

The waymarked horse trail 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 tarmacked roads.

Parking is provided along the forest road beyond the main car park with ample space for turning large vehicles.

Walking trails


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.

Red kite feeding

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.

Play areas

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.

Discovery backpack

Discovery backpackYou can borrow a free discovery backpack at the visitor centre and discover more of the great outdoors.

Each backpack contains useful goodies like binoculars, a magnifying glass, a bug pot and nature identification cards along with a guide explaining how to use them.

Find out more about the discovery backpacks.


The café menu includes succulent pork sausages and tasty 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).

Download the menu


The shop sells wood crafts, jams and chutneys, bottled Welsh beer, books and an ever changing range of gifts.

Accessibility information

Facilities include:

  • 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.

Opening times

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.

How to get here

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.

BNyrA ENG Location map

Public transport

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

Find out more

Contact details

Bwlch Nant yr Arian Visitor Centre, Ponterwyd, Aberystwyth SY23 3AB

Tel: 01970 890453




Related document downloads

Barcud and Animal Puzzle trails Accessible PDF [653.4 KB]
Miners and Ridgetop trails Walking trails PDF [493.2 KB]
Pendam Trail MTB Trail PDF [715.4 KB]
Summit Trail MTB trail PDF [429.6 KB]
Syfydrin Trail Mountain bike PDF [725.8 KB]
Y Fuwch and Y Llo Running trails PDF [631.3 KB]
Mynydd March Trail Horse trail PDF [412.7 KB]
Bwlch Nant yr Arian Location map PDF [732.8 KB]

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