Conwy Mountain isn’t really a mountain; it’s more of a hill. But, for one reason or another, the giant mound behind Conwy Marina is known locally as Conwy Mountain. Growing up, I spent lots of summers (and many more weekends) in North Wales, visiting seaside towns such as Caernarfon and Beaumaris, collecting shells and sea glass at the beaches and taking in the splendour of Snowdonia National Park. From Chester, it’s only a hop, skip and a jump down the A55, and I was only too happy to spend a weekend there with my parents over the summer.
Keen to make the most of the sunshine, we decided to hike over to the Fairy Glen. (Spoiler: there’s no prospect of seeing any wee Welsh faeries here, as the Fairy Glen is in fact a pub.) With our boots laced and waterproofs packed – better safe than soaked – we set off towards Conwy Mountain. Upon reaching Ysgol Aberconwy, we crossed the main road and headed down the narrow path towards the bridge which crosses the railway tracks. From there, it’s simply a case of following the twisting lane up to the trailhead.
Once we’d passed through the woods, we could see Conwy itself, neatly nestled between the estuary and the surrounding hills. Ahead, rolling pastures stretched towards the hills on the horizon.
Pressing on, we reached the point which overlooks Conwy Marina, Deganwy and Llandudno’s Great Orme. (On the northerly side there’s a fairly steep drop, so do heed the warning signs and take care if you’re with little ‘uns.) To our delight, Conwy Mountain’s resident wild horses were scattered across the hillside, grazing on the grass, heather and bilberries which cover its slopes. We counted almost twenty of them, including a couple of foals.
Alas, we couldn’t spend all afternoon admiring the horses, for the pub was calling. (What’s a hike without a pub at the end of it? Or in the middle, as the case was for us.) We carried on up the fern-lined path, munching bilberries as we went. Unfortunately, we hadn’t given any thought to the pick your own opportunities before setting off, so we weren’t able to take any home for tea!
Along the crest of Conwy Mountain are remnants of a stone fort, called Castell Caer Seion. If it’s your first trip up the mountain, it’s worth poking your nose around these before carrying on.
Like Whernside in the Yorkshire Dales, Conwy Mountain is one of those mountains with an elusive summit: just as you think you’ve reached the top, you realise there’s another peak, and then another.
Eventually, we rounded the bend and made our way down onto the Sychnant Pass, a scenic road which winds its way down the hillside towards the Fairy Glen.
Aside from the bilingual signs, roads in the Land of Sheep also feature a few signs which aren’t so common on English roads . . .
Once on the road, it was simply a case of following the road down into the valley to the Fairy Glen. With the current bun still radiating warmth, we plonked ourselves down on a bench in the sunshine to enjoy our well-earned drinks and crisps.
A little while later, we began to make our way home, but not before pausing by Echo Rock to call out a few silly messages, which reverberated off the mountain on the other side of the valley.
Turning off the Sychnant Pass, we rejoined the footpath and made our way back over the mountain. Swathes of bright purple heather covered the hillside; nature’s finest carpet, a blend of emerald green ferns and regal purple heather.
North Wales boasts miles and miles of footpaths, from riverside paths to trails winding up each side of the country’s highest peak, but this modest little hike will always be one of my favourites – and not just because of a group of four-legged friends which call Conwy Mountain home.
- There’s limited parking in the residential area near the start of this trail, so your best bet is to park at either Morfa Beach or Mount Pleasant and walk the short distance to Ysgol Aberconwy where this hike begins.
- For those who aren’t so keen on hiking, there’s also the option of taking a scenic drive down the Sychnant Pass. There’s a small number of parking spots available at the viewpoint.