Search Results : conwy – valley

Nov 112017

First published in: The Times Click here to view a map for this walk in a new window
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Llandudno is a great traditional seaside resort, and proud of it. Giciante Ferrari and his Performing Birds and high diver Walter Beaumont share equal billing with Sir Malcolm Sargent and Matthew Arnold on a ‘Notable People Who’ve Stayed Here’ plaque on the promenade. The high Victorian hotels stand draw up in a long line around the curve of the bay, buttressed by the two bulbous headlands of Great and Little Orme and backed by the distant mountains of Snowdonia. It all made a fine setting for our walk to explore the rugged charms of Great Orme, where the National Trust own a major piece of land, Parc Farm, at the heart of the Great Orme Country Park.

The peace of a cold, cloudy morning lay over Happy Valley gardens as we climbed their pathways, then on up steps to the crest of a natural limestone amphitheatre. How proud those Victorian holidaymakers must have felt of their civilisation as they wandered the gardens among Scots pine, palm trees, rockeries and flower borders, looking down over the pier to the sparkling white arc of the town, and up to the mountainous Orme above, all ‘savage nature wild and rude’.

Great Orme is a giant lump of limestone, in profile like a barking dog with muzzle raised to the northwest. Paths and tracks crisscross it, legacy of leisure walking and of the quarrymen and copper miners who dug it for stone and ore since back in the Bronze Age. We set out on an anticlockwise circuit of the top in the teeth of a strengthening wind, past the farmhouse of Penmynydd Isa and Powell’s Well, down to St Tudno’s church perched above the sea. In the sprawling graveyard the names of Jones and Davies, Williams, Roberts and Evans adorn black slate slabs. Inside we found intricate medieval Celtic stonework, and a fine dragon snarling in the shadows above the chancel window.

We headed west from St Tudno’s towards the Orme’s seaward snout over a moor patched with limestone pavement and scattered with big erratic boulders left there by the retreating glaciers ten thousand years ago. The fat sheep of Parc Farm stood munching heads down in a walled beanfield. The wild goats of the headland were keeping out of sight today, but close under the cable car station at the summit we caught their pungent whiff.

On over the brow of Bishop’s Quarry where hundreds of lovers, rogues and wanderers have spelt out their names in white limestone fragments. A sensational view over the Conwy estuary to the packed mountains of Snowdonia, stamped on a stormy sky in flat grey-blue silhouettes as though cut in profile from the lead and slate they are founded on. And then the skeltering path of the Zig Zag Trail, steeply down through windblown heather, rocks and cliffs to the gentle pathways of Haulfre Gardens and Llandudno’s promenade once more.
Start: Happy Valley Road, Llandudno Promenade, LL30 2LR (OS ref SH 782828)

Getting there: Rail to Llandudno.
Road – Llandudno is signposted off A55 between Colwyn Bay and Conwy

Walk (6 miles, moderate, OS Explorer OL17): Opposite Grand Hotel front door (782828), up Alex Munro Way to Happy Valley Gardens. Path up left side of lawns; follow Happy Valley Summit Trail (‘To Summit’/TS arrows, blue-ringed posts/BP) to top of gardens (780831). Up steps beside ski slope area; on across heath to Penmynydd Isa farmhouse (774834). On to St Tudno’s Church (770838). Up road towards summit; 100m beyond top of graveyard, fork right (TS, BP). In 150m (768836) right along gravel track, then grassy path, keeping wall on your left, for 1½ miles anti-clockwise to SE corner of wall (765831), just below summit station. Bear left to see pebble signatures and Bishop’s Quarry; return to wall corner; follow track past yellow-ringed post to brow of hill. Bear half right over ridge; aim half left for post near erratic boulder (769828). From here follow Zig Zag Trail (‘To Town’, black-ringed posts) steeply down to tarmac path by shelter near sea level (772823). Left via Haulfre Gardens to Promenade.

Lunch: Haulfre Tearooms, Haulfre Gardens LL30 2HT (01492-876731)

Accommodation: St George’s Hotel, The Promenade, Llandudno LL30 2LG (01492-877544, – welcoming, traditional seafront hotel.

Parc Farm:

Great Orme:;


 Posted by at 02:45
Oct 032009

First published in: The Times Click here to view a map for this walk in a new window
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A cold autumn morning, with the Snowdonia mountains smoking with cloud. We were looking for a high and handsome walk, something tastily mountain-flavoured but without actually ascending too far. ‘Going in the Carneddau? Tops are all covered, rain’s on the way,’ predicted a tough-looking hero of the hills in the Betws-y-Coed sports shop. As so often in the mountains of Wales, however, he’d reckoned without the effects of local weather. We started under gloomy morning skies, and finished in glorious afternoon sunshine. In between, there were the two secret lakes of Melynllyn and Dulyn.

You can’t see either Melynllyn or Dulyn from the upland car park at Llyn Eigiau, high above the Conwy Valley and bang in the middle of the Carneddau range. In fact they lay well hidden until we had climbed the old quarry track round the shoulder of the tongue-tinglingly named Clogwynyreryr, and were deep in the hidden valley behind. Dulyn was the first to slide into view across the cleft, a dark sliver of water in a bowl of rock-scabbed cliffs 500 feet high. But it was Melynllyn we came to first, skirting an old quarry building where a great cast-iron flywheel stood buried up to its axle in rubble. The slate around Melynllyn is studded with tiny particles of abrasive quartz, and first-class hones or whetstones were quarried here to sharpen the scythes and sickles of Victorian Britain.

The clear water of Melynllyn lay hidden until the last moment. As we gazed, a fish jumped and disappeared with a little plosive plop and a ringburst of ripples. A steep track led down to Dulyn, black and still under its cliffs. The twisted fingers of an aeroplane propeller reached out of the water like a demon hand in a Tolkien setting. As many as 20 planes have crashed into the cliffs above Dulyn over the years, and their engines and wing parts still litter the rocks and waters. It was a solemn, hauntingly beautiful place to sit on a rock and eat our sandwiches before taking the long and squelchy homeward path.

Start & finish: Llyn Eigiau car park (OS ref SH 731662)

Getting there: Train (; to Dolgarrog Halt (4½ miles by footpath). Road: A5/A470 to Betws-y-Coed; B5106 to Tal-y-Bont; left at Talybont Farmhouse (just before bus shelter and Y Bedol/The Lamb PH); mountain road for 3 miles to car park.

Walk (6 miles, moderate/difficult, OS Explorer OL17): Cross stile at east end of parking place (732663); follow paved path. Cross stile (727666); follow track past sheepfold and up shoulder of Clogwynyreryr for 1¾ miles to ruin near Melynllyn Reservoir (706656). Ignore footpath on map; continue along track to SE corner of reservoir (703658). Follow track skirting to right of crags, steeply down to reach Dulyn Reservoir. Follow path above bothy (707664), along hillside above Afon Dulyn. Pass Scots pine clump; cross first stream (709669), then fence by ladder stile. Cross Ffrwd Cerriguniaun (713671), and another ladder stile (715673). Cross Afon Garreg-wen (718675); then head a little right, aiming downhill for white dam 1/3 mile away. Ford Afon Dulyn below dam (725675); follow track to Maeneira farm ruin (728673) and on to re-cross stile below sheepfold (727666) and return to car park.

Conditions: A mountain walk – hill-walking clothes, boots, gear. Homeward path could be tricky in mist.

NB – Online map, more walks:

Lunch: Picnic

Accommodation: Mairlys B&B, Betws-y-Coed (01690-710190;; from £60 dble), or Acorns B&B, Betws-y-Coed (01690-710395;; from £60)

Snowdonia Walking Festival: 16-18 October 2009 (

More info: Betws-y-Coed TIC (01690-710426;;

 Posted by at 00:00