South Wales leaflet
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The forest experience in the heart of the valleys with trails for walkers and proficient mountain bikers
The Forestry Commission started to plant trees in Cwmcarn in 1922. Since then, the hills of this previously mined area have been transformed into peaceful forests with impressive views.
With two cross country mountain bike trails and two downhill mountain bike trails, Cwmcarn is a popular destination for mountain bikers. There is an onsite uplift provider for the downhill trails and a pump track.
There are also walking trails and a fishing lake and, if you want to stay longer, the riverside camp site welcomes caravans and tents (book via Cwmcarn Visitor Centre). There are also six timber framed camping pods for hire.
The Cwmcarn Forest Visitor Centre, run by Caerphilly County Borough Council, has a spacious information area where you will find walking guides, maps and information on the surrounding area.
There is a great selection of gifts in the gift shop featuring locally produced crafts and Welsh goods.
The café offers a wide range of snacks and cakes and has an outdoor seating area which stretches around the centre and overlooks the Nantcarn River.
Many of the trees in Cwmcarn Forest have been infected by larch disease (Phytophthora ramorum). These infected trees are being cut down and removed.
From 7th January 2019 we will start to remove diseased larch trees from the area immediately around the Visitor Centre at Cwmcarn Forest.
To keep everyone safe, visitors will not be able to access the car park outside the visitor centre for about eight weeks, but instead will need to use the bottom car park.
The Visitor Centre will remain open during this time and can be accessed by the wooden stairs to the right of the building. People with special access requirements can be dropped off in the upper car park but all vehicles must park in the lower car park.
The play area and the walking paths to the right of the PS Cycles shop will be closed, but all other footpaths and mountain bikes trails will remain open as per current restrictions.
All of the walking trails are waymarked and start from the visitor centre.
0.9 miles, 1.5 kilometres
This is a short stroll during which you can enjoy the sights and sounds of the stream and lake.
1.2 miles, 1.8 kilometres
This gentle walk takes in woodlands, ponds and streams. Along the way, there are fine views of the valley and the pit wheel monument.
The two cross country mountain bike trails are waymarked and start from the car park.
The two downhill trails are serviced by the onsite uplift provider.
The pump track is located by the car park.
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.
15.5 kilometres, grade red
Graded red (for proficient riders only), the Twrch Trail is a high quality trail which is rideable in all weather. Virtually the entire route is on purpose built singletrack through a mixture of woodlands and open ridge tops with dramatic views of the Bristol Channel and the surrounding hills. Download more info about the trails.
15 kilometres, grade red
Climbing up to altitudes of over 600 metres, the Cafall Trail is graded red (for proficient riders only). Highlights include some tough climbs, tight hand-built singletrack sections and some fantastic technical descents. Download more info about the trails
1.9 kilometres, 250 metres, vertical drop, grade orange, bike park extreme
Y Mynydd Downhill is one of the UK’s original downhill mountain bike trails. The trail drops 250 metres through the steep hillsides of Cwmcarn and it is for experienced riders only. Features include lots of berms, a few switch backs, doubles, a tunnel, rock steps, the bridge, hip jump and a quarry gap jump. An uplift pass is available from Cwmdown. Download more info about the trails.
1.4 kilometres, 203 metres, vertical drop, grade orange, bike park extreme
The Pedalhounds downhill course opened in 2014. It follows the line of the old “club track” down a steep sided valley in the forest. It starts off with a handmade rooty section through the trees and soon picks up speed as it flows in and out of the wooded sections. Access to this trail is via the Cavall XC trail or by the uplift service. An uplift pass is available from Cwmdown. Download more info about the trails
Cwmcarn Forest Visitor Centre is fully DDA compliant and has wheelchair accessible seating on the rear decking.
Cwmcarn Forest Visitor Centre and café are operated by Caerphilly County Borough Council. Check Caerphilly County Borough Council website for opening times and food serving times.
Cwmcarn Forest is on the A467, seven miles from Junction 28 of the M4.
The OS grid reference is ST 235 940.
The postcode is NP11 7FA
There is a parking charge in the car park which is operated by Caerphilly County Borough Council.
Follow the “Forest Drive' signs from the M4 to the forest entrance on the A467.
The nearest train station is in Newport. For details of public transport visit www.traveline.cymru
Tel: 0300 065 3000 (Natural Resources Wales Contact Centre) or 01495 272001 (Cwmcarn Forest Visitor Centre, operated by Caerphilly County Borough Council)
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