Central Forestry Wales Bikepacking Trip

Central Forestry Wales Bikepacking Trip

By Jack Sunderland

Sonder Guru Jack went for a weekend adventure on his Sonder Camino. Here's what he got up to.

One October Saturday morning I drove to a small cafe in Llanwrtyd Wells central Wales to meet my riding companion and attorney for a 48hr weekend camping trip.

Amazing pine forest and empty undulating gravel roads. Immediately feeling the tyres digging in on crunchy gravel climbs and fast video game downhills, spotting your line holding tight and watching rocks zipping past, 100 points. pedaling past fells and valleys of different stages of woodland pine growth and large felled woodland sections without new replanting, feelings of new life and dead space.

Two gravel bikes set up with forest in the background

Smooth sailing all day, but by the end both our knees were rubbing sore, products of an amazing summer season, dusk was setting in and we were still climbing, perfect time to scout out a camp at the top. If you have ever camped in a forestry you know how bad the ground is. There is no space between trees and the exposed ground is boggy from where the trees have been felled.

Not far ahead we found a disused logging path that was perfect.

A couple of brews and some boil in the bag feasts later it was getting cold. Slipping into our winter pjs, snuggling into our sleeping bags, zipping the tents up lying on our backs heads poking out looking up to the clear sky of stars. Looking like a couple of stargazing hot dogs.

Throughout the night I realised there were no apparent woodland creatures, hardly any bird noise. I guess as the forest is felled and re grown and there’s maybe 80 years between chopping so there are no generations of animals to grow. Beautifully sparse but also sparse of life.

Heart attack in the wee hours when a digger drove past. It felt like it was coming straight for us (the path was blocked with our bikes). I rapidly clambered up dragging my back up a soaking wet tent yelling to Milton. I stepping out into a thick mist with only a few meters of visibility, it must have been about 4 degrees. The logging digger was on the main path and nowhere near, they had no idea of us. And Milton slept through the whole thing.

bikepacking in Wales

A couple of frozen hotdogs packed up their bikes and started pedalling along those empty gravel roads, the best way to defrost.

We were running low on water so topped up from a waterfall, we did bring purification tablets, but we figured we would just use the water for boiling teas. Thats ok right? Empty fire roads, so we just set up the stove in the middle of the road, sun thawing out our crusty eyes, a great sense of remoteness.

Rolling out of the hills and moving onto tarmac, pedalling back to small town, long worded Wales. A Well filled weekend. Packed the car up and dropped my attorney at the train station and start our journeys home, work tomorrow.

bike in the distance of forest

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