We are so lucky to live close to the beautiful Afan Valley and the Afan Forest Park which is famous across the UK for its world class cycle trails. There are different trails you can follow but we followed the ‘Y Rheilffordd’ trail (which means Railway in Welsh) as this route is built on the old railway line that once carried passengers and coal the length of the valley.
On a beautiful Autumn morning we started our journey at the Rhyslyn Car Park in Pontrhydyfen with its impressive viaduct and the trail takes you high over the Afan River on a bridge and past the Japanese gardens.
The entire 36km route runs between the communities of Pontrhydyfen with Blaengwynfi and Glyncorrwg via Cymer and it’s a great way to explore the Afan Valley.
The route consisted of gently sloping tarmac and gravel tracks which were perfect for the girls and very family friendly, although we only managed to cycle 9km which was enough for our 5 year old!
There was lots of room for other cyclist to pass and the kids enjoyed exploring the countryside, the scenery is just so beautiful especially at this time of year when the leaves are falling from the trees and starting to change colour.
This was a great trail with plenty of places to rest and have picnic stops along the way to stop and enjoy the view. We stopped at the old Cynonville Station which is now been converted into a Barbecue Shelter and was a good photo opportunity.
We headed back down the cycle path and stopped in the Visitor Centre which housed a bike-hire and repair shop, a small café with views of the beautiful countryside, toilet facilities and a cycling shop. The visitor centre is also home to the South Wales Miners Museum.
Dropping down to the River Afan the loop exposes some secret spots where you can take a picnic in the numerous benches scattered around the valley floor and also a play park for kids.
This trail was voted as one of the five best cycle trails in the UK by The Independent newspaper and I can see why, it really is fantastic and perfect for cyclists and walkers. It was really good fun for all the family which we all really enjoyed whilst admiring the beauty of the Welsh Valleys.
How to get here – Leave the M4 at Junction 40 and follow the brown and white signs