Red Kite Centre, Aberystwyth 

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In Mid Wales on the outskirts of Aberystwyth you can find the popular tourist destination of Bwlch Nant yr Arian Visitor Centre.  The visitor centre sits at the head of a dramatic valley which has fabulous views of Cardigan Bay and the Cambrian Mountains.

The Bwlch Nant yr Arian visitor centre is the starting point for a range of waymarked trails for walkers, mountain bikers, runners and horse riders.

The popular Welsh tourist destination is well-known for its long established tradition of feeding the local red kites on a daily basis.  The red kites are Wales’s National Bird of Prey and Bwlch Nant yr Arian has recently been awarded the Gold Award for attractions by Visit Wales, and they were commended for make an exceptional effort to create an enjoyable and memorable experience for all of its visitors.

The range of trails for visitors to Bwlch Nant Yr Arian:

  • three waymarked walking trails of different lengths which all offer great views
  • three of the finest mountain bike trails in Wales, famous for long singletrack runs and superb views
  • skills park with a purpose-built track for mountain bikers to practice their technique
  • two running trails with flat sections, climbs and a variety of surfaces
  • four orienteering courses ranging from beginner level to a more challenging option for experienced orienteers
  • a waymarked circular trail for horse riders via forest tracks, paths and quiet tarmacked roads

Closures and diversions

Sometimes the centre need to close or divert trails for your safety whilst they undertake maintenance work or forest operations and occasionally they 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 their website and make sure you follow any temporary diversion signs that are in place in the venue.

Please see the Bwlch Nant yr Arian updates for all of the latest information.

About the Walking trails

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

About the Barcud Trail and Animal Puzzle Trail

The trail is Two thirds of a mile, 1.2 kilometre, and easily accessible.

The Barcud Trail leads you around the edge of the lake where the daily feeding of the red kites takes place (the Welsh for red kite is “Barcud Coch”). This trail is suitable for wheelchairs. 

Along the route there are wooden animals to spot and you can pick up an Animal Puzzle Trail leaflet from the visitor centre.

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About the Miners Trail

The trail is 1.5 miles, 2.5 kilometres, and accessibility is moderate.

The Miners Trail winds along the head of the valley, following a leat which once carried water to power lead mines. It then climbs a short but steep hillside and returns through recently planted deciduous woodland.

About the Ridgetop Trail

This trail is 3 miles, 3.5 kilometres, and is moderately accessible.

The Ridgetop Trail rewards you with non-stop stunning views including a panorama of the Rheidol and Melindwr valleys, Cardigan Bay and Plynlimon, the highest mountain in mid Wales and which is known as Pumlumon in Welsh.

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About the Mountain biking trails

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

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

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

About the Pendam Trail

The trail is 5.6 miles, 9 kilometres, and the Grade is Red/Difficult.

The Pendam Trail is the shortest trail at Bwlch Nant yr Arian and combines sections of the Summit and Syfydrin trails to give you a taste of fantastic riding with lots of technically challenging singletrack and some hard climbs.

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About the Summit Trail

The trail is 11 miles, 18 kilometres, and the Grade is Red/Difficult.

The Summit Trail takes in all the singletrack at Bwlch Nant yr Arian which includes plenty of flowing and twisty sections and a big climb in the middle as well as some superb views.

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About the Syfydrin Trail

The trail is 22 miles, 35 kilometres, and the Grade is Black/Severe.

The Syfydrin Trail includes the entire Summit trail with its fantastic singletrack, and also leads you out onto the high open hills for a long and challenging ride in exposed and remote countryside.

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About the Parc Sgiliau (skills park).

The skills park is an exciting new addition to the mountain bike features at Bwlch Nant yr Arian.

It has a purpose built track for mountain bikers to practice their technique or just warm up before hitting the longer trails which start from the visitor centre.

Features at the skills park include rollers, step ups, berms, tabletops, hips and bowls.

The skills park was designed and built by Trailcraft and the site was carefully selected so that the new track doesn’t affect other trails or the view of the lake. Click here to see the;

New mountain bike skills track in Bwlch Nant yr Arian

About the Running trails

The waymarked running trails start from the car park. Named after two local standing stones, the Cow and Calf, these exciting routes offer a fantastic introduction to trail running in the Cambrian Mountains.

Y Fuwch

This trail is 6.5 miles, 10 kilometres, and is moderate.

The Fuwch Trail is a challenging route which takes in a variety of surfaces and several steep ascents.

Y Llo

This trail is 3.1 miles, 5 kilometres, and is moderate.

The Llo Trail starts off with a flat section almost two kilometres long before climbing up onto the ridge and leading back to the car park.

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About the Horse riding trail

Mynydd March Trail

The trail is 6.5 miles, 10.5 kilometres.

The waymarked horse trail starts on the forest road (grid reference SN 717 814) and follows a circular route taking in a mixture of forest tracks, paths and quiet tarmacked roads.

Parking is provided along the forest road beyond the main car park with ample space for turning horse boxes and large vehicles.

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About the Orienteering courses

There are four permanent orienteering courses (a series of posts you have to find in order).

These include an easier course for beginners, often used by families, and a harder course for experienced orienteers.

Get the special map from the visitor centre, then use your map reading skills to try to find orienteering marker posts (called controls) in the right order.

The popular Red kite feeding tourist attraction

In 1999, Bwlch Nant yr Arian became a red kite feeding station as part of a programme to protect the small number of red kites that were in the area at that time.

Nowadays, the red kites are fed by the lake every day at 2pm in winter (GMT) and at 3pm in summer (BST).

The Barcud Trail (an easy access route around the lake) and the café offer fantastic views of this spectacle. 

There is also a bird hide overlooking the feeding area.

You can expect to see as many as 150 red kites coming in to feed although there are often more during the winter months. 

The red kites are mostly local birds and they come to feed from within a 10 mile radius.

About the Play areas

There are two play areas at the centre, one for toddlers and one for older children.

The toddlers’ play area is for children aged between three and six years. It has a safety-surfaced play zone and easy access for parents, pushchairs and young children. The equipment includes two toddler swings and a purpose built unit with a slide, climbing wall, climbing net and ladder.

The Dizzy Heights Play Area is for children aged six years and older. It has a wood chip surface, two giant basket swings, an orangutan climbing frame and a purpose-built section with slide, climbing wall, rope ladder, fireman’s pole and climbing net.

All of the play equipment is of robust timber construction which blends in with the forest surroundings.

Discovery backpack

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You can borrow a free discovery backpack at the visitor centre and discover more of the great outdoors.

Each backpack contains useful goodies like binoculars, a magnifying glass, a bug pot and nature identification cards along with a guide explaining how to use them.

You can Find out more about the discovery backpacks by clicking the link.

About the Bwlch Nant Yr Arian Café

The café menu includes succulent pork sausages and tasty beef burgers, homemade soups and a delicious choice of cakes.

It is open seven days a week from 10am to 5pm although the hot food selection is served between 10am and 3pm. 

You can Download the menu here.

About the Shop

The shop sells wood crafts, jams and chutneys, bottled Welsh beer, books and an ever changing range of gifts.

Accessibility information

Facilities include:

  • Accessible trail (Barcud Trail)
  • disabled parking
  • wheelchair access to the visitor centre and café
  • disabled toilets
  • facilities for the hearing impaired in café
  • courtesy wheelchair

The Barcud Trail, which goes around the edge of the lake, is suitable for all wheelchairs. There are no steps or stiles and the gradient is 10% or less with resting bays on the uphill sections.

Opening times

The visitor centre is open from 10am to 5pm seven days a week except Christmas day, Boxing day and New Year’s Day.

The café is open from 10am to 5pm seven days a week (except Christmas day, Boxing day and New Year’s day. 

Hot food is served between 10am and 3pm daily.

The shop is open from 11am to 4.30pm seven days a week, except Christmas day, Boxing day and New Year’s day. 

It is closed during red kite feeding periods.

The red kites are fed daily at 2pm in winter (GMT) and 3pm in summer (BST). 

These times vary from winter to summer based on British Summer Time.

How to get to Bwlch Nant Yr Arian

Bwlch Nant yr Arian Forest Visitor Centre is nine miles east of Aberystwyth on the A44.

The OS grid reference is SN 717 813.

On-site parking costs £1.50 for up to two hours and £3.00 for over two hours and a season ticket is available for regular visitors.

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Arriving by Public transport

The nearest train station to the centre is the station in Aberystwyth.

There is a 525 bus from Aberystwyth to Ponterwyd/Llanidloes which stops on request at the entrance to the car park.

The National Express coach service stops daily at Ponterwyd and Aberystwyth.

For details of public transport visit www.traveline.cymru

Contact details

Bwlch Nant yr Arian Visitor Centre, Ponterwyd, Aberystwyth SY23 3AB

Tel: 01970 890453

Email: bnya@naturalresourceswales.gov.uk

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/bwlchnantyrarian

Twitter: https://twitter.com/BNYArian

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