The Marin Trail – Gwydyr Forest
July 8, 2015
So, Outdoor Active is putting together a series of blogs about things to do in North Wales this summer. Things that are fun, active, adventurous and will leave you with a smile on your face and soreness in your muscles!
First in the series is the Marin Trail. This mountain biking trail set in the Gwydyr Forest near Betws Y coed is one of the classics of the area. Given a red, or diffficult grade, on www.mtb.com you should expect the trail to be physically demanding with some technical sections that require a decent level of skill to conquer them successfully. However, I’d say don’t be scared of this trail. At no point does the trail throw up anything “out of character” and although challenging, no parts are too big, dangerous, or intimidating.
However, this trail is not for the modern rider who likes “up lifts”and wants more downhill than uphill. It’s fair to say that many of the climbs on this trail are on fire road, and there is certainly a decent amount of climbing that totals slightly over 450 meters. But, in my opinion, its this that gives “the Marin” part of its charm. It makes you work for the good bits. Most of the climbs, the three big ones at least, are all in the first half of the trail meaning you have earned the downhill sections at the end! This “having earned” the reward is a big thing for me (maybe its the inner triathlete), but this is what makes “the Marin” a perfect outdoor gym where fitness and fun are combined!
But having made a point of the climbing, its fair to say all of these climbs are interspersed with decent, fun single-track that will distract all but the most miserable of the anti effort brigade! So, after the first 12 km or so, knowing the majority of the climbing is done, its time to lower that seatpost and get ready for the really fun sections, namely; Croeso, Ride Fast Ride Free, and Grey Mare’s Wail (GMW). All these sections have their own unique character. Whether, its fast and “bermy” through the woods, or on the straight lines of GWM, which has the some of the nicest small yet frequent drops to be found at any trail centre in North Wales!
Finally, after another small section through the woods your home after a couple of hours whizzing through the woods and having earned a nice lunch in Betws!
So a few little tips etc would be; ride this trail at night! I have had awesome “wildlife experiences” here. Be it coming across a startled wood mouse as you turn the corner, glimpsing a Tawny owls swooping down on its prey , or maybe even a Goshawk patroling its flight path. But please, please, please be responsible and take your litter home so scenes like the one photographed this week do not happen!
Finally, if your coming down to North Wales and enjoying the woods, then why not try something a little different too! Here at Outdoor Active we think gorge walking (next to the Marin Trail) would be the perfect additional activity to really set off the weekend! So check it out here (Gorge Walking North Wales) and give us a shout if you fancy doing something a little different after your ride!
Take Care Dave