Press release | 2014-04-11 | 13:51 PM

New mountain bike trail will be top attraction to Afan Valley

Vattenfall funded Blade Trail marks its official opening

A £350,000 mountain bike trail that promises to be a top attraction for visitors to Wales has been opened in the Afan Valley. The Blade Trail in Glyncorrwyg has been developed across the site of the Pen y Cymoedd wind energy project. It was formally opened at Glyncorrwg Ponds Visitor Centre on Friday 11th April.

The event was attended by Natural Resources Wales’ Chief Executive, Emyr Roberts and Leader of Neath Port Talbot County Borough Council, Councillor Alun Thomas, alongside pupils from the Upper Afan Valley Federation who named sections of the trail. Guests were given the opportunity to view the trail in use and test their biking skills on a pop-up wooden bike track during the event.

The Pen y Cymoedd project has invested £350,000 in the new 24km, red graded Blade Trail, and will deliver long-term funding for up to 10 years.
Stephen Holdroyd, Project Development Manager for Pen y Cymoedd, said:  “We’re very proud to officially launch the Afan Forest Park’s latest mountain bike track, The Blade Trail. We have been working very closely with local organisations to bring this project together, and deliver an exciting new attraction to the area. It’s a top quality trail and we think it will likely be a big attraction for mountain bikers from elsewhere in the UK, which will be good for the local economy.
We look to support the local community in a number of ways and are committed to supporting the Blade Trail in the long term, to ensure that it can be enjoyed for many years to come.”

Ben Threlfall runs the Afan Valley Bike Shed and was one of the first to try out the Blade Trail.
He said: “The Blade Trail is a fantastic new addition to the valley and is something that the area was really lacking. It offers a completely new style of trail that’s different to those already here. It’s a very physical 24km track, and you really feel as if you’ve achieved something by the time you reach the end. Anyone who is an intermediate or experienced biker will really enjoy the mix of styles. The Blade Trail has a good mix of excitement and physicality that makes it a very enjoyable ride.”

Emyr Roberts, Chief Executive of Natural Resources Wales, said: “Pen y Cymoedd is an example of how we can improve the upland landscape for wildlife by managing the woodland, peat bogs and open grassland as part of wind farm developments.
We are also committed to providing opportunities for people to make the most of our environment, enjoy an active lifestyle, and boost the Welsh economy through outdoor recreation. 
As well as providing a top quality facility for those local to the forest, the Blade trail will also appeal to mountain bikers from across the UK, providing a welcome boost for tourism in the area.”

To gain an insight into the Blade Trail please visit Vattenfall’s 76 turbine Pen y Cymoedd project will be making around £1.8m available to the local community every year for more than 20 years, through its community benefit fund. The fund will kick into action when the project is operational in 2016/17.

The Pen y Cymoedd project team will be working with local people over the next three years to develop the fund in a way that meets the communities’ priorities and needs for the future. Local people and interested parties are encouraged to join the conversation through Power in the Valleys website and the Pen y Cymoedd twitter account @PenyCymoedd.