I hadn’t been to Llandegla before. My riding buddy had been a few years ago and wasn’t too impressed. News of new black runs coaxed into making the journey.
The trail is a double-edged sword. The facilities are second to none: bike shop, toilets, cafe, bike wash, parking, bike hire, multiple routes etc but the flip side is that the experience is very ‘manufactured’. The trails are all very sterile feeling. However, the journey is worth it for the black runs alone. I’m by no means highly skilled but loved them. They flow incredibly quickly and the design is perfectly measured. I would say the extra 6KM these sections add to the red route can be tackled by most people, providing they attack them with a modicum of common sense. I was surprised at the amount of people heading down them with no pads (or even helmet in one case) and therefore equally unsurprised to find a chap with a dislocated shoulder at the bottom of the first jump (having spoken to his friends in the car park after, at least he was enjoying the hospital morphine)!
For a hassle free and quick blast (1.5-2.5 hours for the combined 21KM red and black routes) with all the amenities present and correct, you can’t really beat it. More info at the Coed Llandegla website
PS. You didn’t think that photo was me did you? It isn’t, I’m not that good! It’s one from their website…