Bike Park Wales is, without a shadow of a doubt, very high on my list of “Must Ride” locations in the UK. Dug into the Gethin Woodland hillside, on the outskirts of Merthyr Tydfil, the Park offers no fewer than 39 surfaced downhill mountain biking trails, ranging from the fast and flowy, to the steep and tech, with plenty of gnarly expanses of roots and rock gardens to keep even the most skilled riders on their toes. I challenge you do an Uplift Day there without having to prise your fingers off the grips by the end. Last Summer, we interviewed Bike Park Wales co-founder, Rowan Sorrell, at the Park itself to find out more about the grand plan for this already outstanding riding venue in South Wales. Now, those plans are coming to fruition with the approval of the Bike Park Wales Master Plan.
Bike Park Wales Master Plan
Bike Park Wales is a true year-round downhill venue. Its over night and continued success has Rowan Sorrell thinking about what the Park will look like in the long-term, the World Stage events it could potentially host, and how the Park will cater to e-MTB riders with regard to trails. This Master Plan seems to go a long way to helping Bike Park Wales achieve its goals.
From Bike Park Wales: “Already under construction (planning granted in 2019) is our green flow trail and our new visitor welcome centre, bike wash, patio extension and landscaping works which are due for completion by the end of April this year. These improvements will make the bike park more inclusive, easier to use and will improve the environment around the existing visitor centre”.
“The next step for us is to add more car parking, glamping accommodation, a shower and toilet block, an adventure play area and wider site landscaping improvements. Designing the development masterplan has been a challenging process. We are lucky enough to operate on a beautiful site, parts of which are a site of importance for nature conservation so the development has been designed in consultation with Natural Resources Wales, ecologists from the local authority and our own ecologists to minimise any impact, retain mature trees and enhance the environment wherever possible. The result is a plan that not only delivers a great layout for riders to enjoy but does so in a sensitive way, it is of utmost importance to us that we minimise impact on the very environment that allows our business to thrive.”
“We anticipate that the first phase of car park expansion will be completed by the end of 2020 alongwith the shower and toilet block, first wave of glamping accommodation and landscaping improvements. The whole plan may take several years to develop as we balance our continued investment in trails with facilities improvements but what we can promise is more trails, moreparking and even better facilities in the years to come! Riders won’t need to wait long to see the first wave of improvements however with our green trail and new visitor welcome centre scheduled to open this April.”
In July of last year, we made a full weekend of it at Bike Park Wales, yet still didn’t manage to ride all 39 downhill trails. That said, we did have a few favourites that we might have done more than once! For the full “Where to Ride” story on Bike Park Wales, head here.