Total miles walked in & around Wales = 1210.2 miles
I drive to Afon Ogwen Nature Reserve car park (free). I had wanted to complete this walk a few days ago but Storm Francis put a stop to that.
I join the official Wales Coast Path and walk eastward. The last time I walked on this route was in April 2013 when I was walking the WCP in its entirety.
The familiar WCP signs. The route follows the shingle shore and enclosed field-edge path along Menai Straits.
These slate fences are everywhere.
The route continues onto this farm track. I can see Penmaenmawr & the Great Orme ahead.
The Menai Straits to the left.
I pass another nature reserve car park at Morfa Aber.
I had seen images on Twitter of the flash floods & damage caused only 3 days earlier by Storm Francis in this area. I can see evidence of damage to the road caused by the storm as I turn right, away from the WCP and up Station Road towards Abergwyngregyn.
I pass under the A55 and walk into Abergwyngregyn. I walk passed this stone marking the Snowdonia National Park.
This is a popular place for day trippers coming to visit Aber Falls. Cars are trying to pass each other on this narrow road in & out of Abergwyngregyn.
I was here last week walking (see previous post). I turn right up a public footpath by this derelict cottage.
It’s a steady climb up the side of the valley.
At the top of the climb, my route joins the North Wales Path. This is a broad, grassy path that roughly runs parallel to the coast path below.
View looking back toward Llanfairfechan & the Great Orme.
View looking across towards Anglesey.
I meet a couple who had parked in the same car park as me but are obviously walking in the opposite direction. We compare our walks so far. I learn that the final stretch through farmers fields are ankle deep in mud. I had a feeling the fields would be muddy after Storm Francis so I had a plan B which was to walk via the road back to the car park.
I asked if they had come across any cattle, they hadn’t to my relief.
Views looking ahead towards Bangor & Beaumaris.
The clear path passes below massive power pylons.
As I approach Bronydd Isaf, oh no, I can see a field full of cows and they are stood on the path. One of them is a bull with sawn off horns! I clock where the gate is & walk quickly and quietly passed them to exit the field. I worry about cow attacks especially as I am walking solo.
The route passes along side a wood with more slate fences.
I pass the farm through a kissing gate onto a quiet lane.
The route follows the quiet lane steeply downhill along side a rather full rushing stream.
Although it is a quiet lane, there are quite a few cars passing me. It’s pretty much a single track lane so difficult to pass another car. I wouldn’t like to have to back up/down to the nearest passing place as the road is so steep.
Penrhyn Castle in the distance.
At the bottom of the hill, the route passes over the A55.
Instead of climbing the style and following the Coastal Circular Route, I continue along the road back to the car park to avoid the ankle deep muddy fields.
Just before I reach the car park, I pass the fields that I should have walked through and feel glad I chose to walk back via the roads.
Total miles walked in & around Wales = 1201.7 miles
I drive to Aber Falls pay & display car park, arriving early as Storm Ellen is due later in the day.
The track to Aber Falls is a popular one and Gwynedd council have adopted a one way system to ensure social distancing during the pandemic.
I cross the River Rhaedr-fawr….
……and join a tarmac surfaced track towards Aber Falls.
This track winds gently uphill through woodland, Aber Falls comes into view.
The path leads to a viewing area of Rhaedr Fawr (Aber Falls).
I cross this bridge……
…….and go to another viewing area on the other side of the waterfall.
I return to the path and follow a dry-stone wall to the second, smaller waterfall – Rhaedr-bach.
I cross several more streams via stepping stones. I figure these streams would be inaccessible during high volumes of rain?
I follow a broad, grassy path that heads in the direction of the coast. I look back at both waterfalls.
It’s getting quite windy, Storm Ellen is on her way! I can see the coast now, ahead is Puffin Island.
To the right, I can see the Great Orme, just.
I am following the North Wales Path but now I am leaving this path and heading downhill. I can see Anglesey & the Menai Straits. I think that is Beaumaris straight ahead – I walked the Anglesey coastline in 2018.
Roughly half way down this farm track, my route turns right to descend sharply towards Abergwyngregyn.
Halfway down this steep path my guidebook mentions the mound visible behind these houses – a medieval motte known as Llewellyn’s Mound.
This path emerges onto the lane which leads to Aber Falls car park. I turn right to complete the circular walk, glad I came early as there are several cars trying to pass each other in & out of this narrow lane & competing for car parking spaces!
Total miles walked in and around Wales = 1192 miles
I drive to Morfa Bach pay & display car park, park my car and walk through this underpass (under the railway) at the rear of the car park.
I have previously walked some of this section of the WCP in April 2013 (20 miles from Bangor to Conwy) when I was walking the WCP in it’s entirety.
I walk through this arch into the medieval walled town of Conwy.
I walk down Church Street & High Street through the arched gateway in the town walls onto the quay.
It’s quite busy and difficult to keep to social distancing.
I walk through the arch of a spur wall before turning onto Marine Walk.
Marine Walk skirts around Bodlondeb Wood and passes Aberconwy School.
The WCP splits here. One route follows the official coast path but I am following the alternative upland WCP following these red WCP signs.
I cross the A547 Bangor Road & over the railway line via this metal foot bridge.
I follow the wooded path to a quiet lane uphill before entering Conwy Mountain.
I steadily climb uphill through woodlands to emerge onto open moorlands.
I continue upwards following the red WCP signs, passing these angled slabs of rock.
I sit on a bench here and have my picnic & taking in the view.
The building down there is an equestrian centre. I used to go riding from there up onto Conwy Mountain when I was young.
The colour of the heather is beautiful.
There are several paths here so it can be a little confusing which one to follow.
As I round the corner I get a view over the Conwy Estuary & the Great Orme. I walked around the Great Orme 10 days ago and then I had a great view of where I am today!
I join a track which leads round to the Sychnant Pass.
I can see the foot path I need to follow descending steeply from the car park.
The route descends steeply down this V-shaped valley.
Descending down the Sychnant Pass.
I emerge out by cottages onto Mill Road, a quiet lane, and continue downhill.
I pass over the River Gyrach and walk into Dwygyfylchi village.
The route follows alongside the river.
I pass St. Gwynin’s Church…..
……& the village cenotaph.
I turn down a narrow footpath which passes the backs of residents gardens.
I meet a group of three people so can’t pass them in a socially distanced manner. As we move further up the path so I can pass them, I learn that they are committee members of Dwygyfylchi’s communal allotment group & they were surveying where they were going to house their bee hives – what a great idea. They try and enroll me until they find out I am not a local.
I can see & hear the A55.
I cross the A55 via a metal footbridge, turn right and join the cycle path and the official WCP again.
I walk around Penmaenbach tunnel on the old road.
The view back to Puffin Island and Anglesey.
The old road and now the cycleway & WCP.
View across Morfa Conwy to the Great Orme.
I leave the tarmac surface of the cycleway and enter the sand dunes of Morfa Conwy along side the golf course.
The WCP goes through a car park and passes Conwy Quays Marina.
I reach Aberconwy school where I retrace my route around Marine Walk to Conwy Town.
I walk through the town wall via the same arch and back to the car.
Total miles walked in and around Wales = 1163.9 miles
I drive to Prestatyn and park in the Pay & Display car park next to the Nova Centre near the sea front.
It was October 2019 when I was here last, when I finished walking Offa’s Dyke path. Here’s the wayward post indicating the end of ODP in the opposite direction!
I walk away from the coast, through Prestatyn town towards the wooded hills following ODP signs. As I start to climb, I am entering the start of the Clwydian Range. It is an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty but walking is tough with steep climbs & descents (as I found out when walking ODP last year).
ODP climbs steeply above quarry faces with great views behind.
The path has been well maintained.
I have a rest and eat my picnic here at the ruin of a cottage, Pant y Fachwen, and take in the views across the North Wales coastline with Great Orme’s prominent headland in the distance.
Graig Fawr is visible, I’ll be walking up there soon.
ODP emerges onto a minor road. This is where I leave ODP and turn right along the road before joining the Prestatyn-Dyserth Way and climb up Graig Fawr.
A great 360 degree view from the summit although it’s very breezy.
Looking across to where the climb up to ODP is.
I descend down Graig Fawr along a well defined path which becomes more overgrown with bracken & ferns, then more steeply down these steps.
This path is not as well trodden as ODP. There is a tree obstructing the path but I manage to get over it.
This path emerges out onto a disuse railway track – the Dyserth-Prestatyn mineral line. It is now a surfaced cycle path – the North Wales Path.
I walk passed a golf course.
The path is lined with these painted stones – they must have been done by the local children – a reminder of the on-going pandemic.
The North Wales Path ends in Prestatyn, I join the B5120, walk over the railway line via the road bridge and retrace my steps to the Nova Centre and the promenade.
Total miles walked in and around Wales = 1157.5 miles
It’s been just over four months since I have walked in Wales due to the Welsh Government’s Covid-19 restrictions. These were lifted two days ago.
I drive to Talacre and park in the public car park and walk up Station Road towards the beach and sand dunes. I’m mindful that the restrictions have only just lifted and that people may flock to the Welsh coast but, thankfully, it isn’t very busy at all.
I walk between the sand dunes to the vast stretch of sandy beach. I turn left & walk towards the lighthouse. The tide is out so walking on the damp sand is a lot easier than walking in the soft, dry sand.
There are views across the Dee Estuary to The Wirrall.
It’s nice to see the familiar WCP signs again.
The route leaves the beach via this path…..
….passed an area of salt marsh & reed beds called The Gronant Spit.
I emerge from this path to the entrance to the holiday park ‘Presthaven Caravan Park’. I follow the cycle path briefly before turning right still following the WCP passing over the Prestatyn Gutter via a bridge.
I descend from the boarded walkway back onto the beach.
At the start of Prestatyn promenade, I turn left down Barkby Avenue, over Prestatyn Gutter again via a wooden bridge to Marine Road East & start the return walk back to Talacre via Prestatyn Golf course.
After the golf course, I briefly join the same cycle path I walked on earlier, before entering Presthaven Caravan Park. This return route through the caravan park is not as pretty but soon I join a cycle path which is an alternative WCP which takes me back to Talacre.
My plan was to walk Glyndwr’s Way this year which is another national trail across Wales from Knighton – Machynlledd – Welshpool but Covid-19 put a stop to that idea!
This walk is taken from Top 10 circular walks from the North Wales Coast Path guidebook which I completed just two days before the lock down measures were enforced.
I drove to Greenfield Dock and parked the car in the free car park overlooking the Dee estuary. I had walked the WCP passing through here on 13th July 2013, I remember it was a very hot summers day and a long walk, 18.5 miles from Flint to Prestatyn!
Today’s weather is very different to then, it’s a lot cooler and windy. I start my walk by walking away from the WCP, over the railway to the main road A584 where I enter Greenfield Valley Heritage Park.
I pass the ruins of Basinwerk Abbey, visitors centre and farm museum (all closed today) and emerge out onto a quiet lane.
I pass Abbey Wire Mill and walk around the back of ruins of a cotton mill….
….then back up a zig-zag path to the lane.
I pass a reservoir….
…..and more ruins of Meadow Mill…..
……..and cross a metal bridge over the reservoir
and walk passed some more ruins of the battery works.
After emerging out onto the roadside, the route continues up to St. Winnifreds.
I would have liked to go inside to look at St. Winnifred’s Well but although it was open to the public today, I felt I shouldn’t because of the risk of contracting/spreading Coronavirus – I’ll come back one day when the pandemic is over.
From St. Winnifred’s Church, the route follows the same direction back but along the disused Holywell branch line back to the A584 and then I retrace my route back to the car.
It was a pleasant, short walk and I was able to walk socially distanced from other walkers.
It’ll be nearly 4 months before I can return to walk on Welsh soil again.
This is a diary of our walks along the Wales Coast Path