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Cwmcarn Forest, near Newport

The forest experience in the heart of the valleys with trails for walkers and proficient mountain bikers

Cyclists on Twrch Trail, Cwmcarn

What's here

Accessible facilities
Baby changing facilities
Barbeque
Bike wash
Café
Dogs welcome
Mountain access
Mountain biking
Parking (accessible)
Parking (charge)
Picnic area
Play Area
Shop
Toilets
Visitor Centre
Walking trail
***A fire has destroyed large parts of Cwmcarn Forest. Certain bike trails and footpaths are closed. Please see the latest diversions in place in the Cwmcarn trail updates document in the download section at the bottom of the page. ***Many of the trees in Cwmcarn Forest have been infected by larch disease (Phytophthora ramorum). The forest drive through Cwmcarn Forest has been closed to allow the felling to take place safely. There may also be diversions and closures to footpaths and mountain bike trails. See below for the latest information.

Overview

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.

Cwmcarn Forest Visitor Centre

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.

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

Closures and diversions - larch disease felling

Many of the trees in Cwmcarn Forest have been infected by larch disease (Phytophthora ramorum). These infected trees are being cut down and removed.

The visitor centre and play areas will remain open and there may be diversions and some closures to footpaths and mountain bike trails while we carry out the work.

  • The forest drive through Cwmcarn Forest has been closed to allow the felling to take place safely
  • See the footpath update
  • For the latest information about mountain bike trail closures, go to the MTB Trail update
  • Find out more about our work at Cwmcarn 

Walking trails

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

Nant Carn Walk

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.

Bluebell Walk

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.

Mountain biking trails

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.

Twrch Trail

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.

Twrch mtb leaflet

Cafall Trail

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

Cafall trail leaflet

Y Mynydd Downhill

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.

Y Mynydd mtb trail leaflet

Pedalhounds

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

Pedalhounds mtb leaflet

Accessibility information

Cwmcarn Forest Visitor Centre is fully DDA compliant and has wheelchair accessible seating on the rear decking.

Facilities include:

  • disabled parking
  • wheelchair access to the visitor centre and café
  • disabled toilets

Opening times

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.

How to get here

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.

Download the location map.

Directions

Follow the “Forest Drive' signs from the M4 to the forest entrance on the A467.

Public transport

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

Find out more

Contact details

Tel: 0300 065 3000 (Natural Resources Wales Contact Centre) or 01495 272001 (Cwmcarn Forest Visitor Centre, operated by Caerphilly County Borough Council)

Email: enquiries@naturalresourceswales.gov.uk or cwmcarn-vc@caerphilly.gov.uk

Related document downloads

Cwmcarn Forest Location map PDF [1.2 MB]
Cafall trail diversion Applies from 15/01/2018 PDF [3.4 MB]
Cwmcarn trail updates Applies from 09/08/2018 PDF [143.8 KB]

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