Hiding away in North Wales, Foel Gasnach is a seriously good downhill venue for all levels of rider including the elite. You have to be a member of the FDHR club to ride but it’s only £10 for the year and worth every penny <Take me to the membership page>.
This place isn’t the easiest to find but it’s well worth the hunt.
Nearest postcode is LL15 2DL. Drive out of Cyfylliog (heading away from Ruthin) for about 2 miles and you’ll eventually come to a red phone box on the left hand side of the road. As you head round the right kink in the road you’ll get to a (kind of) crossroads with a dilapidated cottage on the right. Turn right here and follow the gravel forest road until you come to a large clearing on your left.
Park here then pedal along the track until you get to the trail head
sign. From there, head along the path (through the gate off to your left) and the four trails all start from this track.
If you com expecting facilities you’ll be disappointed as the nearest shops, toilets etc are miles away. What you do get though are 4 runs, 3 steep and technical with one beginner track. The tracks used to be numbered in the order they were built (track 2, 4, 1, 3 as you travel along the path) but they’ve recently been signposted consecutively with track 1 (as it is now) being the beginner track.
In short, this is a proper downhill venue and, while you can ride everything on 150mm travel bike, to get the most out of this place you’d benefit from a full downhill bike.
You equally need to have decent riding skills – this isn’t an ‘all the gear but no idea’ kinda venue. The features shown in the pictures is at least 5 ft high (which is standard across the 3 main tracks) and I’ve seen several people over the years turn up with downhill bikes and decide they’ve bitten off more than they can chew.
Aside from the trails, another great feature here is that you can run your own uplift! Don’t worry if you’re short of a few mates and a van though as the forest road that takes you back to the top can be ridden up in 10-15 mins (pushing takes slightly longer).
Overall, I’ve been a member of this club for a good few years now and it’s an excellent place to ride. There’s a bit of uncertainty about its future after an email went out late last year requesting expressions of interest in taking it over but there’s been no word since. I don’t see this place disappearing though.
So if you’re a downhill junkie or even fancy a challenging enduro training loop I fully recommend you sign up and see what the place has got to offer.