Cwm Carn Forest, near Newport

Walking trails and mountain biking in the heart of the valleys

What's here

Work is underway to redevelop and re-open the forest drive – please follow safety notices and any temporary trail diversions.


The Twrch Trail is diverted due to upgrade work. Please follow yellow diversion signs.


The car park, visitor centre, toilets and play area are operated by Caerphilly County Borough Council - see the Cwm Carn Forest website for the latest information about the visitor facilities.


Coronavirus update


Our sites and most visitor facilities are open.


We have changed the normal route for some of our trails to help you maintain social distancing – please follow signs on site.



The Forestry Commission started to plant trees in Cwm Carn in 1922. Since then, the hills of this previously mined area have been transformed into peaceful forests with impressive views.

With two cross country mountain bike trails and two downhill mountain bike trails, Cwm Carn is a popular destination for mountain bikers. There is an onsite uplift provider for the downhill trails and a pump track.

There are also walking trails and a fishing lake and, if you want to stay longer, there is a riverside camp site.

The forest drive is closed for redevelopment and is due to reopen in 2021.

Walking trails

All of the walking trails are waymarked and start from the visitor centre.

Nant Carn Walk

0.9 miles, 1.5 kilometres

This is a short stroll during which you can enjoy the sights and sounds of the stream and lake.

Bluebell Walk

1.2 miles, 1.8 kilometres

This gentle walk takes in woodlands, ponds and streams. Along the way, there are fine views of the valley and the pit wheel monument.

Mountain bike trails

The two cross country mountain bike trails are waymarked and start from the car park.

The two downhill trails are serviced by the onsite uplift provider.

The pump track is located by the car park.

See our mountain biking page for a list of all our mountain bike trails and information about grading to make sure you pick a trail that is right for you.

Please also read the relevant onsite information before setting off on your ride.

Twrch Trail

13.4 kilometres, grade red

Graded red (for proficient riders only), the Twrch Trail is a high quality trail which is rideable in all weather. Virtually the entire route is on purpose built singletrack through a mixture of woodlands and open ridge tops with dramatic views of the Bristol Channel and the surrounding hills.

Cafall Trail

15 kilometres, grade red

Climbing up to altitudes of over 600 metres, the Cafall Trail is graded red (for proficient riders only). Highlights include some tough climbs, tight hand-built singletrack sections and some fantastic technical descents.

Y Mynydd Downhill

1.72 kilometres, 250 metres, vertical drop, grade orange, bike park extreme

Y Mynydd Downhill is one of the UK’s original downhill mountain bike trails. The trail drops 250 metres through the steep hillsides of Cwmcarn and it is for experienced riders only. Features include lots of berms, a few switch backs, doubles, a tunnel, rock steps, the bridge, hip jump and a quarry gap jump. An uplift pass is available from Cwmdown.

Pedalhounds Downhill

1.4 kilometres, 203 metres, vertical drop, grade orange, bike park extreme

The Pedalhounds downhill course opened in 2014. It follows the line of the old “club track” down a steep sided valley in the forest. It starts off with a handmade rooty section through the trees and soon picks up speed as it flows in and out of the wooded sections. Access to this trail is via the Cavall XC trail or by the uplift service. An uplift pass is available from Cwmdown.

Cwm Carn Forest Drive

Cwm Carn Forest Drive has been closed since 2014 while 150,000 diseased larch trees were removed from the site.

Work to redevelop and reopen the forest drive is underway.

It is being resurfaced and there will be eight new recreational areas along its seven-mile-long route.

These include three new play areas, a storytelling area, learning facilities, all-ability trails, and several new seating areas and picnic spots.

The new forest drive is due to open in 2021.

Find out more about our work at Cwm Carn.

Visitor facilities

Visitor facilities operated by Caerphilly County Borough Council include:

  • Cwm Carn Forest Visitor Centre with a gift shop and information area with walking guides, maps and information on the surrounding area
  • café with outdoor seating area
  • campsite by the river with touring pitches and glamping pods for hire
  • play area
  • toilets

For opening times and more information about these facilities, go to the Cwm Carn Forest Visitor Centre website.

Accessibility information

Cwm Carn Forest Visitor Centre is fully DDA compliant and has wheelchair accessible seating on the rear decking.

Facilities include:

  • parking for Blue Badge holders
  • wheelchair access to the visitor centre and café
  • accessible toilets

Closures and diversions

  • Sometimes we need to close or divert trails for your safety whilst we undertake maintenance work or other operations.
  • We may have to close a site in extreme weather, such as high winds or snow and ice, due to the risk of injury to visitors or staff.
  • Please always follow any instructions on site and any temporary diversion signs.

How to get here


Cwm Carn Forest is on the A467, seven miles from Junction 28 of the M4.

The postcode is NP11 7FA

It straddles the county borders of Caerphilly and Torfaen.

Ordnance Survey map

Cwm Carn Forest is on Ordnance Survey (OS) map 152.

The OS grid reference is ST 228 936.

Public transport

The nearest mainline railway station is in Newport.

For details of public transport visit Traveline Cymru's website.


There is a parking charge in the car park which is operated by Caerphilly County Borough Council.


Follow the “Forest Drive' signs from junction 28 of  the M4 to the forest entrance on the A467.

Contact details

Natural Resources Wales Contact Centre
0300 065 3000

Cwm Carn Forest Visitor Centre (operated by Caerphilly County Borough Council)
01495 272001

Related document downloads

Cafall trail diversion Applies from 15/01/2018 PDF [3.4 MB]
Cafall Trail guide PDF [3.7 MB]
Twrch Trail guide PDF [3.0 MB]