The Valleys
March - Mud and Mountains

March - Mud and Mountains

In the woods near Merthyr Tydfil is BikePark Wales, the dream of four friends who wanted to build the best mountain bike park in the UK. There are plenty of family friendly trails and smooth tracks for beginners as well as adrenalin-pumping routes for experts (with names like Dai Hard and 50 Shades of Black). You can hire bikes here, have a lesson and refuel in the café. You can even arrive on your bike along the traffic free Taff Trail, linking Merthyr Tydfil with Cardiff, which follows the route coal and iron took along the Glamorgan Canal. Heading north from Merthyr Tydfil you can cycle over the spectacular Cefn Coed viaduct on your way to Brecon Mountain Railway.

There’s more mountain biking at Cwmcarn, where the Twrch Trail, named after the fearsome wild boar of the Mabinogion legends, will satisfy the most extreme downhill junkies with its ‘severe’ classification! In the Garw Valley you will find the Darren Fawr Mountain Bike Trails and we’ve also got great BMX tracks at Bryn Bach Park and Barry Sidings if that’s your choice of pedalling fun.

If wheels aren’t your thing but you still want to climb we’ve got indoor mountains at Go Vertical, Cwmbran Stadium and Rock UK Summit Centre at Treharris, with a 180 climbing route indoor wall and a man-made caving system and waterfall. And there’s plenty of mud to be found at Taff Valley Quad Bike and Activity Centre near Pontypridd!

Free-wheeling legends! 

Our peddling pedigree stretches back to the earliest days of cycling when Arthur Linton, from Aberdare Bicycle Club, became Champion Cyclist of the World in 1894. You can find out about the celebrated cyclists who led the world of international cycle racing in the 1890s at Cynon Valley Museum in Aberdare.

Today our cycling legends include Olympian Becky James, Paralympian Mark Colbourne and  Manon Carpenter, the 2014 World Champion Downhill Mountain Biker from Caerphilly: ‘Mountain biking takes me all over the world but when I come home I love to head to Machen Hill. You can see for miles in all directions from the top and it's always a lovely welcome back. I don't think I've made it to the bottom without a smile on my face once!’

11th March 1899

The first commercial recording of the Welsh National Anthem, was made in London and released by the Gramophone Company.

There is nothing more inspiring than our National Anthem, especially when we sing it at the start of rugby internationals! It was written and composed by a father and son from the Valleys. James James, who was born at the Ancient Druid Inn, Hollybush in 1832, composed the tune ‘Glan Rhondda’ (Banks of the Rhondda) whilst walking along the river in Pontypridd in 1856. He sang the tune to his father, Evan James, who wrote the words in Welsh which translated into English are: 'The land of my Fathers, the land of my choice, the land in which poets and minstrels rejoice'.