A major mountain biking event is underway in mid Wales this week, with the forests managed by Forestry Commission Wales on behalf of the Welsh Assembly Government taking centre stage along the route.
Two hundred mountain bike riders set off from Builth Wells on Sunday 15 August to take part in TransWales 2010. The event is a mixture of linking stages and special stages and can be tackled in either pairs or as solo riders.
Over the course of seven days, competitors will cycle 350 miles, setting up camp at visitor centres, camp grounds, farms and leisure centres along the way.
After leaving Builth Wells, the route headed east to Knighton, taking in Radnor Forest which is managed by Forestry Commission Wales.
On day two (Monday 16 August), the riders began their journey west across Wales, crossing heather moorland, forestry and farmland in Radnorshire before ending in Llanidloes.
Day three (Tuesday 17 August) continued north west through Hafren Forest, managed by Forestry Commission Wales, and across Plynlimon, the source of the rivers Severn and Wye. The route descended from Plynlimon and into Dyfi Forest, another Forestry Commission Wales site, before finishing in Machynlleth.
The route on day four (Wednesday 18 August) headed south west past Nant y Moch reservoir and into the forest around Nant yr Arian, a popular Forestry Commission Wales location with a visitor centre and mountain bike trails, which were the basis for the a special timed stage – an 8.5km trail centre loop, with climbing and descending sections.
Day five (Thursday 19 August) saw the route heading south on many miles of tracks through the Towy and Doethie Valleys and, on day six (Friday 20 August), the riders travel south east through Crychan Forest, a Forestry Commission Wales-managed site in the Brecon Beacons National Park. On Saturday 21 August, the last day of the event, the route turns north from Brecon back to Builth Wells and finishes along the Wye Valley.
Jim Ralph Forestry Commission Wales's Local Area Manager said, "Mountain biking is just one of the exciting recreation opportunities offered by the woodlands of Wales and we were delighted to welcome mountain bike riders to so many of our sites in mid Wales for this major event."
Picture caption: riders set off on TransWales 2010
NOTES TO EDITORS
Forestry Commission Wales
About 14% of Wales is covered by woodlands. Of this, 38% (126,000 hectares/311,000 acres) is owned by the Welsh Assembly Government.
Forestry Commission Wales is the Welsh Assembly Government’s department of forestry and manages these woodlands on its behalf.
Forestry Commission Wales provides advice on forestry policy to the Minister responsible for forestry. It provides grant aid to the private sector and regulates forestry by issuing felling licences.
Forestry Commission Wales is also part of Forestry Commission GB and contributes to the international forestry agenda.
More information on the woodlands of Wales is available on www.forestry.gov.uk/wales
Press office contact: Mary Galliers, firstname.lastname@example.org, 0300 068 0057.