Afan Forest Park
This article is written like a manual or guidebook. (September 2022)
The Afan Forest Park (formally and locally known as Afan Argoed Country Park) is a 48-square-mile (120 km2) forest park in Britain. It is set in the Afan Valley in Neath Port Talbot, in south Wales. It is well known for its mountain biking and hiking or hillwalking trails. It is situated seven miles (11 km) from Junction 40 of the M4 (the Port Talbot turn).
Trails and waymarked walks
As the A4107 meanders through the steep sided valley it is easy to understand[original research?] why this valley has been developed as a premier mountain bike riding venue in the United Kingdom. The Forest Park also has nine waymarked walking trails, ranging from a 30-minute amble to a 3-4 hour ramble. There are also miles of public rights of way. As well as mountain biking, there is also a network of 25 miles (40 km) of disused railway lines which are used for walking and cycling. These are called the Family Routes, or the Low Level Cycleway. These also form a link between the mountain bike trails.
The Forest Park Centre has camping facilities, with campsites with a shower block and toilet block which can also be used by other visitors. In addition to these basic facilities, the centre also has a café, small local museum on mining, bike shop and a gift shop.
In 2002, Afan Forest Park was officially twinned with the C.W.Nicol Woodland Trust in Kurohime in the Nagano prefecture of Japan. In Afan Forest Park, 'Kanji Wood' was developed on three kanji characters; human, forest and life and landscaped with Japanese trees, shrubs and sculptures.
Education and activities
The Forest Park runs a schools program with its "Education Ranger" and also organises adult education from the study room at the Forest Park Centre, which is available for private groups. They also do an annual program of walks and activities and have a wildlife puzzle trail for families.
Developed in 2006, this is a 300-seat outdoor theatre for drama, music, art and workshops. It is available for hire.
Mountain bike trails
The Penhydd trail was built by a group of enthusiasts from the local mountain bike club. It's a 22 km loop. This trail was voted as the trail to ride before you die by What Mountain Bike Magazine in 2004.
The Wall Trail
With the success of the Penhydd Trail, the Forestry Commission saw how popular mountain biking was becoming so the Wall trail was built. This is a 24 km mainly single-track loop. The Graveyard section and the final descent of the Wall have been well reviewed.[by whom?]
White's Level Trail
This is a 6 km single-track climb and downhill. There is usually transport available for downhill riders at weekends, from the Glyncorrwg Mountain Bike Centre. The whole trail is 15 km long and has recently been the focus of most new trail building activity. A new section, the NPower Renewables Energy Trail, was opened on 12 October 2007.
The newest trail in the valley. This is a 46 km long loop, sharing the same initial climb as White's Level. It is known for the views from the horizon line. The Jetlag section is known for its high difficulty. There are also two 'shortcuts' on the route for riders who are not ready to attempt the whole 46 km.
This is a high level link that connects both The Wall and White's Level.
Lists of places to stay in and around the park can be found at the Afan Forest Park website.
2015 Update: A new campsite has opened in Afan Forest Park called Willow Springs Campsite.
Afan Forest park was named in the top ten places in the world to "ride before you die" by What Mountain Bike Magazine. Other destinations named included Whistler, Canada.
The high bridge in the park was used as a recurring filming location for the Channel 4/Netflix black comedy The End of the F***ing World.
Large numbers of larch trees infected with Phytophthora ramorum have been felled, to be replaced by mixed species for timber production.
- ^ NPTCBC (1999). Afan Argoed Country Park [Online]: Neath Port Talbot County Borough Council. Retrieved 6 June 2008
- ^ Forestry Commission (2008). Penhydd Mountain Bike Trail [Online]: Forestry Commission Wales. Retrieved 7 June 2008
- ^ a b Opinion Research Services (2004). Afan Forest Park Visitor Study[permanent dead link]. Swansea: Opinion Research Services Ltd. Retrieved 6 June 2007.
- ^ Forestry Commission (2008). White's Level [Online]: Forestry Commission Wales. Retrieved 7 June 2008
- ^ Singletrack Mountain Bike Magazine (2007). "New Trail For Afan"[permanent dead link], London: Gofar Enterprises Ltd. Retrieved 5 June 2008
- ^ "The locations in Wales where The End of the F***ing World was filmed". WalesOnline. Retrieved 8 June 2021.
- ^ "Thousands of Afan Forest trees planted after infected larch". BBC. 21 February 2015. Retrieved 23 February 2015.
- Official Afan Forest Park Website for information on events
- Afan Forest Park – MBWales
- Afan Forest Park – Forestry Commission
- Photos of Afan Forest Park from Geograph
- Sustrans Routes2Ride: Cycling in Afan Forest Park
- Map location for Mountain Bike Centre and local accommodation
- Map of mountain bike trails in Afan Forest Park