Video: Exploring Welsh Trails with Liam Moynihan, Jamesy Boy, Leigh Johnson & Rob Williams

Jan 16, 2022
by DoH .  

This week we make it to South Wales to see the big rascal man Leigh Johnson. Leigh has had a good few EWS top 10 results over the past few years. He has such a smooth, relaxed riding style that makes everything look easy despite the fact he's going a frightening speed over difficult terrain!

We got some good laps in on his local trails (NOT Tirpentwys, just noticed my error in the video label!) then went for fish and chips and for a look at his project house!

Next up was Pontypool to the Tirpentwys trails. What a treat we were in for here. Unbelievably good trails and everyone we met there was incredibly friendly and happy to be out in the woods!

Finally, we nipped along the road to meet Rob Williams at Cwmcarn/Risca trails. Rob showed us some absolute gems and enjoyed his first-ever GOLD bar. Successful day.

Next week we press on North to Betws-y-Coed to meet Alex Storr for some more Welsh delights then back home to the glorious Highlands to finish up the final series!

In case you missed any previous episodes they can all be found here:

Episode 1

Episode 2

Episode 3

Episode 4


  • 6 0
 Genuinely curious here. How come 99% of the trails featured in UK videos are essentially S turns one after another? Is there some historical influence on trail building style, or did the riding style influence the trail design (you know what I mean)?
  • 4 1
 That's a great observation and I want to take a crack at it.

3 things. a - the terrain influenced the design. so geomorphologically historic. b - mountain biking wasnt high speed paved carpet when these trails started. c - and its way more fun.

we have the same stuff in new england. aside from some of the new crap being put in.

There were two transitions that i'm aware of. the first was the introduction of freeride / skate park influence which added cool vertical features to the s-turns. It made sense to make the features smooth. That was pretty cool. Then, later on, people got carried away with the smoothness, and just started flattening everything, I guess because it takes forever to build upwards.

Skate park influence was great. Bike path influence isn't.
  • 1 1
 My favorite trail in my hometown is kind of a classic now called "the chute" and it has been around for at least 20 or so years. I remember riders on the highest tech bikes when I was too young to ride it walking into our bike shops (there's like 3 in our town), all cut up, carrying a bike with taco'd wheels. Today, that trail is pretty mellow on any all-mtn bike. But its s-turns all the way down for about 1500' of vertical, with dirt road uphill back around. Its more fun to me than driving up to the Kingdom Trails, because those are so watered down. I could bring my parents there and they'd do fine. They're non-riders. Its cool to see people love bikes, but something definetely got lost in making it more for everybody.

North Carolina is supposed to have some of the best trails in the country to my understanding. What is the trail style there?
  • 10 0
 Usually to get the most out of limited elevations regardless of how steep and its a good way to handle the usual wet, raw, slippery conditions. Rare to be find more than a 200m decent on UKs off-piste unless in Scotland
  • 1 0
 @VTwintips: Moose Haven and the upper mountain at Burke are far from watered down, and Victory just opened up again.

However you are right about everything on Darling Hill.

"The Chute" are you talking about the older section of Joes Trail?
  • 1 0
 @harryhood: I'm a big fan of Burke Mountain. I used to live in the Putney/Brattleboro/Dummerston area.
  • 2 0
 I remember hearing Wyn Masters joking on his podcast after moving to the UK that it's all just rut tracks, and you'd be forgiven for thinking that. We do have a lot of them.
They're also very fashionable and TBH I had to stop following the creators of this video on Insta, because their output was so repetitive.
We do have straight bits, and quite a few rocky and rooty bits, and a lot of great tracks on open hillside (thanks to our historic rights-of-way).
It's just that Tommy C (the filmer) and his imitators are all about the S bends.
  • 1 0
 I think it's more to do with filmers and what people assume people like to watch. We've a reasonable variety of terrain and trails bar jumps and drops as they get pulled down by the local forestry commissions (health and safety reasons which is fair enough in most cases). But all the locations filmed (near enough) have steeper technical trails and faster more mellow stuff which rarely gets shown.
  • 2 0
 @kinematix As far as the North Highlands is concenred ( where we are from) and where I think the style of rut tracks originated to some degree.
The repetitive looking stuff (as @chakaping puts it) a lot of turns one above another and rutty/muddy is because of the terrain. In the winter going up on the mountains above the treeline isn't very pleasant for weather/snow. In our woods there are rivers/streams every 15meters across the hill so you have to go fairly fall line unless you want to build a thousand bridges which I personally don't.
We do get a hell of a lot more rain and than the rest of the UK so I guess elsewhere the issue is more space.

If you watch our early Dudes of Hazzard films from 10years+ ago (some of the first of this style) you'll see the same and everyone LOVED IT back then because it looked so different, now its obviously common. For ourselves at home it's really the only option for winter without a truly massive amount of work.
If you make a straight line its going to be a disgusting fall line rut so may as well have corners!
  • 8 3
 Great video, but again, a video. I get pinkbike is changing, but please can we get an article every now and then?
  • 4 1
 innit butt.
  • 2 0
 Cwmcarn trails are running great for the time of year.
  • 1 0
 We were there mid November and genuinely couldn't believe how dry it was! Got a bit of a lucky break on good weather most of the spots we went which wasn't expected for the time of year!
  • 1 0
 I ride the trails where rob rides and there's a vast amount of off piste trail here.
  • 1 0
 i second what Jaib06 mentioned in his comment.
  • 1 0
 The welsh wash

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