Its been closed for some time due to a disease spread among the Larch trees, a problem that has affected a number of trail centres across South Wales over the last few years and has changed the landscape, in some places beyond recognition.
But now the Twrch is open again!
More than 160,000 larch trees will be felled around the Cwmcarn Forest Drive area over the next 18 months to two years. The tricky terrain means that every tree has to be felled by hand and then winched up to the drive. The process is labour-intensive and expensive. About 2,000 lorry loads of larch timber will be removed from here to a saw mill in mid-Wales designated to process the diseased timber. It will be used to make furniture and fibreboard. – Guardian, May 2015
Large areas of Wales have been infected by larch tree disease, Phytophthora ramorum, which spreads through air currents, mists, and even raindrops, from tree to tree. It is also spread by boot, paw and cycle tyre and the Welsh government has ordered Natural Resources Wales to fell infected trees, launching a multimillion pound project could last until 2020. Along with this came major disruptive closures to popular walking and cycling locations.
Thanks to the intense work carried out by Natural Resources Wales, with coordination and cooperation from the local tourist organisations at Cwmcarn Forest Drive, Cognation, MB Wales and an understanding community of mountain bikers, Cwmcarn is now back to its full compliment of trails and the legendary Twrch is open again; ahead of the original schedule.
One small part of the climb is still closed off but a 95% Twrch experience is available for those that have been longing to ride it.
I haven’t ridden at Cwmcarn for quite some time and when I learnt it was reopening and that the sun was going to be shining I decided to go and remind myself of what one of Wales oldest purpose built trails is all about.
Riding solo, I packed light (but sensibly) and set out to complete both Cafall and Twrch before lunch. And what a blast I had! So much so that I forgot to take many photos. The one above was a must though as it shows the barren landscape that is a result of the tree felling. Some parts of the trail looked familiar at wheel level but not so much when you looked up!
All that you first loved about Cwmcarn is back and open. Twrch is ready to ride along side its younger and cheekier brother, the Cafall on the other side of the valley. Its a great combination of trails with some steep technical climbs and some twisty, technical descents.
If you haven’t been for a while, get back to Cwmcarn and enjoy this great trail centre in South Wales.