History of mountain bike centre marked with special board

The agricultural history behind the site housing Britain's first purpose-built mountain biking centre has been revealed.

Coed y Brenin Visitor Centre, near Dolgellau, was opened in 1996 and the Natural Resources Wales (NRW) managed site remains one of the sport’s top destinations.

Now a special history board, featuring memories and a map from 1901, has been produced in conjunction with a family who had a farm on part of the land.

Cae Cyrach was located on part of the Coed y Brenin site with a stone barn from the farm still visible to visitors.

Elfed Wyn Ap Elwyn, 26, from Trawsfynydd, approached NRW with memories from his grandmother Eluned Jones about the farm. He said:

“We have used the information from my grandmother to produce the history board. Her mother was either born or lived on the farm and when my grandmother was young she used to visit.

“The farm was very much part of the family. The family is from the area and for me it is something that is really important.

“I think it is fantastic that we have the board. I am very grateful it has been put up and I would encourage visitors to come and look at it and get a sense of the history.”

Limited information about the farm remains but a stone barn is visible on the approach to Coed y Brenin’s car park from the A470. 

Peter Thomas, part of NRW’s recreation team at Coed y Brenin, worked with the family on the board. He said:

“We are pleased to have had the chance to work with Elfed and his family.

“He approached us with his grandmother’s memories and said it would be nice to commemorate Cae Cyrach’s history. We decided a panel would be the best way forward and worked with Elfed, incorporating Eluned’s memories. 

“This allows us to acknowledge the previous usage of the site and it is interesting to discover what it meant to people in the past. We are also excited for our visitors to learn about the site’s history.

“We hope we can do more of this kind of work in the future and we would encourage people to come forward with their stories and memories.”