Then came the coal mining boom, and with it, three railways and thousands of workers. It didn’t last. Of the 17 valleys in the South Wales coalfields, Afan was the first to lose all its pits, the last one closing in 1970. Since then, the valley has had another remarkable transformation: it’s now a vast adventure playground for outdoor activities: walking, trail running, fishing … and especially mountain biking.
Afan Forest Park has around 130km of biking trails, ranging from easy family rides to the strictly-for-experts. Afan Forest Park is a good place to start, with the valley’s family–friendly Rookie Trail, and there’s plenty for experts too. There’s even more for advanced riders further up the valley at Glyncorrwg. Both centres are fully loaded with bike hire/café/camping facilities, and they’re linked by an easy family-friendly trail. Just on the other side of the valley near Tonmawr, a third site – Afan Bike Park – has several shorter, highly technical runs for advanced riders to test their skills.