The Wales Coast Path – Llandudno to Conwy.

Travel writer David Atkinson tackles a northern stretch of the Wales Coast Path. An 11km day walk from Llandudno’s Victorian promenade to Conwy harbour.

The Great Orme Country Park

View of Llandudno from Great Orme

View of Llandudno from Great Orme, North Wales

They’re small blue & unique. You only find them on the Great Orme, the limestone outcrop that anchors the northern stretch of the Wales Coast Path around Llandudno. For the butterfly cognoscenti, they’re the feather-winged Holy Grail.

Sally Davies, Assistant Country Park Warden for the Great Orme Country Park, still remembers her first encounter with the rare Silver-Studded Blue. “It was dusk on Llandudno’s West Shore,” she says. “They were roosting on blades of grass like a carpet of delicate flowers. So still, so tiny.” She smiles. "I go back every summer now."

I’d set out that morning to tackle the 207m Orme as part of my first taste of the Wales Coast Path, an 11km day walk from Llandudno’s Victorian promenade to Conwy harbour.

I picked up the Happy Valley Trail, one of three summit routes, climbing through the limestone grassland along a stony path. The sound of amusement arcades on Llandudno’s pier below faded on the breeze.

St Tudno church and cemetery, Llandudno

Cemetery at St Tudno, Llandudno by Mabjack

The trail took me up the Orme’s western flank and via St Tudno’s Church. The hermit saint, who gave Llandudno its name, founded the holy site in the 6th century. It remains, today, a stoic, stone-built place for prayer.

Spring wildlife & the famous Conwy Castle

Conwy Castle from across river

Conwy Castle, North Wales

 
I found Sally marking up the names of early-spring wildlife on a board outside the Great Orme Visitor Centre. The Orme’s natural habitat is richly diverse: dog’s mercury, early-nesting buzzards and migrant-returning red admirals.

After a cup of tea, I took the Zig Zag Trail down to the West Shore, rejoining the Wales Coast Path by a statue of the White Rabbit from Alice in Wonderland, a nod to the town’s little-known links to Lewis Carroll.

From here I followed the Conwy Estuary across sand dunes, venturing onto the beach to scour for pebbles, wave washed and mineral hued, as I was blown onwards by the sea air towards Deganwy.

For me, this is the only way to approach Conwy. The harbour all glassy and still. The castle looming in the background.

Jenny Towill, Coastal Access Project Officer for Conwy Council

Oystercatchers played on the beach as the tide washed in. Water-running gullies snaked like exotic reptiles across the sands. It was dusk and the castle glowed with a cinnamon coating.

I was just starting but hungry for more.

More attractions in Llandudno and Colwyn Bay