Afan Forest Park - Rhyslyn, near Port Talbot

Walking and mountain biking trails with great views

What's here

The Penrhys Walk is closed due to harvesting operations.

 

Timber haulage is ongoing on the forest roads - please be aware and follow any instructions on site.

 

Some of the mountain biking trails are diverted. Go to Closures and Diversions for more information.

 

Coronavirus update

 

Our sites and most visitor facilities are open.

 

We have changed the normal route for some of our trails to help you maintain social distancing – please follow signs on site.

 

Welcome

Afan Forest Park was created in the 1970s and has grown into one of Britain’s iconic mountain bike destinations.

Situated in a former coal mining valley a few miles from the M4, the forest park offers mountain bike trails for beginners to expert riders.

Rhyslyn car park is on the site of the former Pontrhydyfen railway station and two waymarked walking trails set off along the river from here.

Two of our mountain bike trails (Rheilffordd and Y Wal) can also be started from Rhyslyn car park.

Our other mountain bike trails start from Afan Forest Park Visitor Centre and Glyncorrwg Mountain Bike Centre, both of which are home to a range of facilities for mountain bikers.

There is a picnic area in Rhyslyn car park.

Walking trails

The walking trails are waymarked from start to finish.

Look out for the information panel at the start of the trails.

Find out about walking trail grades.

Rhyslyn Walk

  • Grade: Easy
  • Distance: 1 mile/1.8 kilometres
  • Time: 45 minutes
  • Total climb: Mainly level

Follow the Afan River upstream to a viewpoint and return along a disused mineral railway track.

This is a flat route almost all the way along riverside paths and on forest roads.

Watch out for cyclists on sections of the walk.

Penrhys Walk

  • Grade: Moderate
  • Distance: 3½ miles/5.7 kilometres
  • Time: 2 hours
  • Total climb: 600 feet/180 metres

Enjoy panoramic views along the ancient ridgeway track which connected Baglan church on the coast to Craig y Llyn north of Glyncorrwg.

You can see all the way to the Carmarthenshire Fans (peaks) on a clear day.

Mountain bike trails

All our mountain bike trails are waymarked from start to finish and have been graded for difficulty.

At the start of the trail there is an information panel – please read this before setting off.

Rheilffordd Low Level Cycleway

This gentle trail follows the wide, flat route of an old railway track that once carried passengers and coal the length of the valley.

Over 14 miles of disused railway and forest road link the communities of Pontrhydyfen with Blaengwynfi and Glyncorrwg and it’s a great way to explore the Afan Valley.

Y Wal Trail

Boasting some of the best singletrack descents in the UK, this trail traverses the north side of the Afan Valley on singletrack.

It varies from fast, open and flowing to tight, technical and rooty.

Great views of the valley and coastline open out at different points, and in places the steep-sided slopes can feel exposed.

The approach to the singletrack shares a section with the Rheilffordd Low Level Cycleway and the disused railway line, so please ride with consideration for the many other forest users.

For a longer ride, combine with White’s Level Trail via one of the W2 links - see Afan Forest Park Visitor Centre.

Richard Burton Birthplace Trail

Rhyslyn car park is within easy walking distance of the village of Pontrhydyfen where the famous actor Richard Burton was born.

The Richard Burton Birthplace Trail sets off from the car park to Pontrhydyfen and his birth place.

There are information panels along the trail with interesting facts on his childhood and career.

For more information, go to the Discover Neath Port Talbot website

Sustrans cycle route

You can cycle to Afan Forest Park Visitor Centre on Sustrans National Cycle Network route 887.

Route 887 provides a link between the towns of Port Talbot, Cwmafan, and Pontrhydyfen and continues onto Afan Forest Park.

For more information go to the Sustrans website.​

Closures and diversions

  • Sometimes we need to close or divert trails for your safety whilst we undertake maintenance work or other operations.
  • 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 any temporary diversion signs.

Current closures and diversions

All trails: Please be aware of timber haulage lorries using the forest roads whilst harvesting operations are carried out.

Blade: The ‘Ghost Train’ section is permanently closed. Please follow waymarked diversions.

Blue Scar: Please slow down between berms on the ‘Mandrill’ section.

Penhydd: The 'Big Dipper' and 'Desolation' sections are closed due to harvesting operations. Please follow diversions in place.

Skyline: The 'South Pit' section is closed due to harvesting operations and a diversion is in place. Other diversions in place on ‘Short & Sweet’, ‘Riding High’, ‘On the Edge’ and ‘Coed Mog 1’ sections due imminent trail maintenance works.

W2: The boardwalk section of the W2 Black Run is closed for replacement. You may be asked to wait by a banksman on the Parson's Folly Upper Link due to harvesting operations.

White's Level: The boardwalk section (Goodwood) is closed for replacement.

Y Wal: The '373' and '374' sections are due to be closed for harvesting operations. A diversion will be in place along the forest road from 'Picadilly' along to 'Graveyard'.

How to get here

Location

Rhyslyn car park is in Afan Forest Park six miles from junction 40 of the M4.

It is in the county of Neath Port Talbot

Ordnance Survey map

Rhyslyn is on Ordnance Survey (OS) map 165 and 166.

The OS grid reference is SS 800 942.

Directions

From the A4107, turn down the B4287 towards Pontrhydyfen.

Take a sharp right turn just over the bridge as the road bears left.

Public transport

The nearest mainline railway station is in Port Talbot.

For details of public transport go to the Traveline Cymru website.

Parking

Car parking is free of charge.

Contact details

0300 065 3000

enquiries@naturalresourceswales.gov.uk

Related document downloads

Y Wal Trail guide PDF [5.7 MB]

Other places in South West Wales