Anything 4 A Ride MTB Club / Race Team
Graeme Spreadbury
Date of Visit:  11/07/09
Distance:        44Km
Time Taken:   04:18 (inc stops/mechanicals)
We decided we needed a weekend “training” in Wales to get us a bit more ready for the Trans Wales and seeing as Glyncorwgg/Afan is only just down the M4 we decided we’d go back there and give it another go.

Dave and Paul arrived on the Thurs night and took on the Skyline Trail on Friday. I arrived on Friday night, at which point it started raining and didn’t letup til Sunday morning. Off to the Drop Off Café Fri night for a beer or 2 and dinner. Up bright and early and back to the Café for a bit of Breakfast. We decided to hit the trail about 11ish.

The W2 trail is basically the Y Wal and Whyte Level trails linked by some fire road at the top. Both Y Wal and Whyte Level are classified as Red routes, yet the W2 gets the full Black listing.

You can start the W2 trail at either Afan or at Glyncorwgg (which is what we did). The first climb for the W2, Skyline and Whyte Level is the same. This is a good thing as it is one of the most enjoyable climbs at a trail centre you will find. You seem to gain lots of height quite quickly, yet only really feel like you are climbing a slight gradient or just contouring. We have done it a number of times before, taking about 40mins to complete the climb to the top.

The next section is “Windy Point”, this starts off with some fast flowing singletrack, across a stream or 2 in and out of the wood. Keep the speed up through here and all that work you just done on the climb seems worth it. There is a switchback near the end that is well bermed and you can rail it very nicely, however it is full of rock jutting out so be prepared to suck them up under compression. Just after this the W2 trail splits away from the Whyte Level and links over to the Y Wal via some fire road, with a small muddy double track section linked in.

The first section on Y Wal is Piccadilly. This section was great with dropping some height, yet mainly contouring with a small bit a climbing. Some corners were slightly bermed and the rocks added to the mix. Next up was Graveyard which was more of the same, however there is a section in the middle of this that is a tad tricky, but doable. It involves a couple of rocky drops in between some tight twisty trees, easy in the dry but trick in the wet as you need to hope you tyres grip wet 5ft slabs of wet rock. The final descent was called Zig Zag and as the name suggested had a couple of switch backs. At the bottom of this you can either turn right and go to the Afan Forest Park Centre or turn left and carry on the W2 trail, which we did.

The next couple of miles are along the old railway, which has a slight incline, then into some steep fire road for quite a way. The climb back up to the top involves a lot of long boring fire road interwoven with a bit of singletrack. It’s nowhere near as exciting as the Whyte Level climb. At the top is the link back along the fire road to Whyte Level.

You get back onto the Whyte Level at the Energy section. This section is ace and starts off with a few table tops and highly bermed corners, this them throws you into a wood lined trail that is lined by planks of wood which you can use as berms, then into some swooping troughs. If this isn’t enough it then throws you into a short northshore section, across a bridge then out into the open for a bit of exposed singletrack. Next around over another bridge, then a sharp switchback into a short yet steep climb into the woods, then a bit of a slog up to the next fire road. If nailed at speed you can see where this section gets its name from as you certainly have a lack of Energy by the end of it (oh and its sponsored by an Energy Company to).

There is a tiny fire road climb up to the start of Goodwood. This is another ace section, and has a bit more northshore in the middle. Is ok, but have ridden better. It’s only short though and doesn’t distract from how good the rest of the trail is.

Darkside is the last section and is nice and long and very fast. It has a couple of drop offs which are doable if you have enough speed, but not if you are going too slowly as I found out and almost endo’d off the trail. It’s a flowy, undulating trail that is a great end to a ride and leaves you wanting more.

The W2 trail is one of the best in Wales and certainly worth a visit. So much better
 than the Skyline trail, yet only a bit shorter.
  • Excellent, long technical ride
  • Not to much fire road
  • One for the proficient MTBer
  • Stops/Cafés half way round if needed