Walk the Wales Coast Path from Conwy to Llanfairfechan The Upland Route
|19.23 km||803 m|
Calculate the time using Naismith’s Rule and factor in your own pace.
Start and Finish:
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Walk the Wales Coast Path from Conwy to Llanfairfechan The Upland Route Route Map and GPX Download
Walk the Wales Coast Path from Conwy to Llanfairfechan The Upland Route Details
These reports will be appearing on the site – as and when – and will be in as utterly random an order as we can manage. We’ve planned the route from Chester to Machynlleth – and will be adding the route as we complete the relevant sections to the site.
We’ll put the whole itinerary online as well so you know how we’ll be planning it out (Flint / Denbigh – 60km = 2 stages, Stage 3 = Rhylish to Llandudno Junction, Stage 4 – Llandudno Junction to Llanfairfechan, Stage 5 – Llanfairfechan to Caernarfon). Stage 4 is deliberately short as it both gives time in Conwy – worth spending time around the walls and the castle – but also as we’d heartily recommend the tougher Upland route instead of the regular route which largely parallels the busy A55, which comes in around 19km, but with over 800m ascent.
So we’ll start off with this tough Upland Leg from Conwy to Llanfairfechan.
We’ve tried to make these routes as easy to follow by public transport as possible – so we started from the Llandudno Junction Station as leg 0
0 – From the Station, turn left along the main road, past the supermarket and continue left along the pedestrian route marked as National Cycle Route 5. This passes some shops, before passing under the main A547, with some steps up to the coastal path opposite the old Arriva building.
1 – You’re back on the coast – and the next leg is across the embankment towards Conwy on the other side of the river and to the harbour. It’s well worth stopping to view the castle, and having a walk along the town walls, or even making use of the facilities. So I stopped for half an hour I didn’t have in the Liverpool Arms, after only about 1km!
2 – The route continues along the harbour front, under an arch and left uphill before taking an immediate right. Keep an eye out for the blue Coastal Path waymarkers and the Green North Wales Path markers which mark the way clearly – which point to a wide prom like path along the river. This passes the secondary school, where you’ll need to turn left along a suburban road and past the front of the school.
3 – The green NWP waymarkers are still in evidence, but you’ll need to find the now RED coastal path markers that denote this alternative coastal path route. Past the school, cross a main(ish) road and past some new houses to a footbridge over the railway.
4 – Continue along this old lane, which joins a tarmacked lane after a few 100m and then you’ll finally hit a proper path on your right that’s clearly marked Conwy Mountain.
5 – The path pulls up relentlessly for the first section, which is an excuse to look back on the view, with the North Wales coast slowly appearing, along with those turbines. The path itself doesn’t cross the summit of the hill, and seems to avoid being anything remotely coastal as much as possible. So you’ll need to keep an eye out for one of the paths that climb to the summit, one of which can be found just before an information board for the hill fort (Castell Caer Seion) I’d imagine that the decision was taken to minimise the impact on the summit hill-fort from walkers, which isn’t a bad thing.
6 – Continue along the excellent path, keeping a keen eye open for the waymarkers that are well set out and reliable. You soon reach a high point above some long greened over quarries from which the sea is finally fully visible! In keeping with this route, the path immediately pulls again inland, past the unexpected farm at Pen Pyra and along good tracks, with numerous junctions, along to the top of the Sychnant Pass.
7 – Follow the dry valley (roughly the meaning of sych – nant – dry-stream), the junction down again clearly marked, and past some houses where the path becomes a track again and you’re in Capelulo. Follow the lane, turning at the first left along a lane then footpath to come out opposite the Fairy Glen Inn. Typically, it was closed today, but time was against me, so that was probably a good thing.
8 – The path now follows, rather pointlessly, the road for well over 1KM where a much quicker route would be to take one of the earlier paths uphill instead. As I was following the route slavishly, in order to pass that information on here, I had no choice but to plod on.
9 – FINALLY you reach the Penmaenmawr to Dwygyfylchi road where the path uphill is sharply to your left. This pulls up, zig-zagging, with wide views back towards the Sychnant, and eventually levels out onto the well made Jubilee Path that contours around Moel Lus at 250m on a lofty walk along towards Penmaenmawr. This is the highlight of this section of the route, though some dog-owners appear to think it’s nothing more than a dog – toilet.
10 – After the path turns towards Penmaenmawr, and the hills beyond are visible, you realise that there’s a road all the way up to this point – which fully explains the few lazy dog walkers. The road deteriorates here, but makes a wonderfully easy ascent on foot towards the uplands.
11 – After a few incongruous road signs, with one having been repurposed as a walker’s signpost, you’re on high moor – with a good 4km to go before you drop below 350m. It’s a good track, past the wonderfully lonely Bryn Derwydd cottage (where someone had decided that a plastic bag of dog s*** on top of the wall was just what the view was missing)
12 – It really is good walking now – with the sea far below on the right, and the tiny hills of Cefn Coch and Moelfre offering a slightly loftier walk to your left. It’s worth ascending up to part of this section, if only for the stone circles. The waymarks are now for the NWP, Coastal Path and the North Wales Pilgrim’s Way which this section is shared between.
13 – Your path soon however diverges from these, taking a pleasant contouring path high along the hillside, before joining a quarry road for a short distance at SH 702 750, and returning to the descent path soon after. Follow it downhill for 700m, where it turns sharply left and down to a farmyard.
14 – Turn right here, past some pigsys, and through a gate closed with twine. Spend ten minutes here getting it tight as the night draws in and you realise you didn’t bring a torch.
15 – The path then continues across the fields, with clear marker posts making route finding straightforward enough, and takes a route far to the north, for some reason, rather than descending earlier and cutting a kilometre or so off the route. It does descend through some pleasant forestry, and is clearly some ancient drover’s route.
16 – Finally, you reach some houses, and you turn left, across a road and then a footpath before the lane starts to ascend again and you wonder if someone’s been messing with the signposts! It’s the correct route, and the route passes through Penmaen Park before the route takes you down to the centre of the village. You can continue down the road to the prom and railway station where you can rejoin the regular coastal path.