The last, and first, time I went to Llandegla I’d only been mountain biking for a couple of months and had a borrowed old hardtail bike, hardly any proper kit and even fewer mountain biking skills. Although I really enjoyed the ride at the time, I wasn’t really able to take full advantage of what the centre has to offer, so when I went back last week with my fancy full sus bike, more in the way of gear, and a bit more of an idea, I had an absolute blast.
Coed Llandegla forest is located near Wrexham in North Wales and has one of the biggest and best trail centres in the area, with trails to suit riders of all abilities and excellent facilities. Parking costs a flat fee of £4.50 for the day, which is payable upon arrival at a little manned hut.
All the trails start from the same point and after a short climb through the trees, come out into a vast expanse of cleared moorland where a wide gravel track climbs steadily to the top. Although the scenery is very pretty, the trail itself is fairly monotonous with no technical features to keep it interesting, and while not particularly steep, it’s pretty long and exposed, so if you get a strong headwind, as we did, it can be a bit of a slog.
You can arrive at the top feeling a little jaded, but don’t be put off by the initial climb as things get much better from then on in, when you begin the descent. From the top you can either follow the blue or red routes down. We’ve opted for the red both times, which has a series of optional black sections off it, making up 6km of the total 21km long route.
We were there at the weekend and the first section of descent was pretty congested with groups of lads on hire bikes, with very little in the way of skill or trail etiquette. Fortunately we managed to shake them off at the first section of black trail, which starts just after the oft-photographed berm that looks out towards Snowdon.
The black is a fun blast with plenty of jumps, berms and drops, although it’s certainly not as challenging as blacks that I’ve ridden at other trail centres. For the most part, the trails are fairly smooth and there wasn’t really anything that I felt was beyond me, so I was able to ride it at speed, clearing all tabletops and drops easily. It’s definitely good for the ego but more advanced riders may bemoan the lack of more technical terrain.
After the main black section, you rejoin the red trail for the rest of the route, although there are still some black jump lines and northshore sections to come. There’s a fair bit of climbing towards the end but if you’re starting to feel the burn, you can stop for a breather by the reservoir and soak up the stunning scenery. By this point you’re nearly back though and it’s just a short ride back to the car park where, on fair weather days, you’re greeted by the very welcome sight, and smell, of a barbeque outside the café. If the weather’s not so good, there’s great food and a pleasant atmosphere inside the café, where there’s also a fantastic bike shop, with by far the best selection of women’s mountain biking gear I’ve seen in any shop. Needless to say, I was unable to resist and took full advantage!
If you’ve still got the energy, there’s also a pump track, freeride trail and skills area by the car park that you can hit.
Llandegla may be lacking in more technical climbs and descents but if you’re looking for a fun blast in beautiful surroundings, topped off with a good post ride feed and a spot of retail therapy, you’ll leave happy!
Have you ridden the trails at Llandegla? How do you rate it? Share your thoughts below…