Trefriw nestles at the foot of the Gwydir Forest on the banks of the River Crafnant in the Conwy Valley, Conwy County, North Wales. The village sits between the towns of Dolgarrog to the north and Betws-y-Coed to the south. It is an excellent starting point for walks in the Conwy Valley and the foothills of Snowdonia. An information board in the centre of the village displays several walks, including the Llyn Crafnant lake walk and the Llyn Geirionydd lake walk. The Trefriw Woollen Mill sits at the heart of the village and the Trefriw Wells Spa sits on the northern edge, and visitors can enjoy traditional weaving demonstrations or partake of the mineral waters respectively.
Conwy Valley Railway: A visit to Trefriw will be enhanced by a trip on the Conwy Valley Railway Line. The full journey from Llandudno to Blaenau Ffestiniog offers glorious views of the Conwy Valley and surrounding countryside. Visitors to Trefriw can cut short the journey and disembark at Llanrwst Station. The walk from Llanrwst Station to Trefriw via the splendid Gower Suspension Bridge is a pleasure in itself. The village has a number of pubs, cafes, hotels, guesthouses and holiday cottage accommodation and the Fairy Falls Public House keeps alive the ancient tradition of Fairies in the village of Trefriw.
Fairy Falls: Some say the Victorians who were fascinated with fairies and identified many enchanting locations as home to these mythical creatures named the falls. However there is an abundance of Welsh Folklore concerning the fairies, or the Tylwyth Teg, who would dance on the banks of the Conwy and play tricks on the locals. Nevertheless, whether you believe in fairies or not this is a magical spot.
Trefriw Woollen Mills: At Trefriw Woollen Mills in the Snowdonia National Park, North Wales we manufacture Welsh double weave (tapestry) bedspreads (carthenni) and tweeds. We carry out all the processes from raw wool to bedcovers, i.e. blending, carding, spinning, doubling, dyeing, warping and weaving. We generate our own electricity using water turbines. Thomas Williams bought the mill in 1859. His descendants still own and operate the mill.
Trefriw Wells Spa: It is believed that Trefriw Wells Spa was first discovered by Romans from the XX Roman legion stationed at Canovium, 3 miles north of Trefriw. The Spa is conveniently located midway between the castle town of Conwy (8 miles) and the picturesque Betws-y-Coed (5 miles). Local inhabitants used it extensively until a landslip covered the entrance to the Cave of Wells. In the 18th century the cave was re-excavated. Originally, people would bathe in the caves but in 1743 Lord Willoughby de Eresby built the Cyclopean Bath House. This was to cater for the greater number of people visiting the spa. Ownership of the spa passed from public to private ownership. Today the spa and tearooms still operate on the outskirts of the village.
Walks, Cycle Trails and Other Activities
Trefriw Lakes Trail: The Trefriw Lakes trail is just one of many trails starting from the village. As its name suggests this walk starts in the small village of Trefriw in the Conwy Valley. From the village the trail heads up hill toward Llyn Geirionydd and cuts through the forest before skirting Llyn Crafnant. Although the lakes can be secluded and there is wonderful scenery the walk is quite suitable for inexperienced walkers as you are never too far from a metalled road.
Mountain Bike Trails: Mountain Bike enthusiasts will be spoilt for choice in this area of North Wales, and visitors to Trefriw won't have to cycle far to find some of Wales' best trails. The Gwydyr Forest Marin Mountain Bike Trail starts just a mile from the village and covers a distance of 15 miles, 25 km, with a climb of 450m. Expect to take between 2 - 4 hours. The trail is suitable for experienced mountain bikers. Gwydyr Forest is to be found between the towns of Llanrwst and Betws-Y-Coed in the beautiful Conwy Valley, North Wales. Long challenging climbs lead to miles of brand new technical singletrack weaving through trees and boulders, across streams and down snaking ridge lines to get your heart and brakes pumping. Alternatively, you can explore the hundreds of km of fire road trails yourself. Whichever you choose, cascading waterfalls, crystal clear lakes, awe-inspiring mountain vistas and forgotten river valleys deep in the Gwydyr forest provide a stunning scenic backdrop. ....
Llanrhychwyn Church: Llanrhychwyn Church is a lovely little church high above the Conwy Valley in North Wales. It is claimed to be the oldest in Wales being the site where Rhychwyn originally established his church in the 6th Century. The oldest part of the present church dates from the late 11th century, and is known locally as Llewelyn's Church after Prince Llywelyn ap Iorwerth, (Llywelyn Fawr or Llywelyn the Great). The church is a good example of primitive architecture. The Eastern aisle was added in the 13th century, and the north aisle dates from the 16th century. It has a very old square font, as old as the church itself, and an early example of stained glass in the east window. The roof beams, some 800 years old, are the earliest example in Wales. The ancient oak door has wooden hinges, and the bell, which dates from the 13th century, possibly came from Maenan Abbey. The altar rails date from 1616, and the pulpit from 1691. The chalice is dated 1614 and is of an ornate design. Registers date from 1594. These days, services are only held in Llanrhychwyn church during the summer months, and on special occasions.
The Romans: Trefriw lies some 4-miles south of the Caerhun Roman Fort and was indeed on the route of the Sarn Helen Roman Road that linked Caerhun to the fort at Tomen-y-mur, close to Trawsfynydd. The village can trace its popularity to Roman times when it is believed soldiers of the XXth legion discovered the caves from whence flows the mineral water at Trefriw Spa.
Prince of Wales: In medieval times, the Welsh Prince, Llywelyn the Great or Llywelyn Fawr, had a hunting lodge in Trefriw. His church was at the top of the steep hill that leads south out of Trefriw to the village of Llanrhychwyn. His wife Siwan, Joan, daughter of King John of England grew tired of the climb and Llywelyn built a church within the village on the site of the present church of St Marys. The hill may be as steep to this day but I would strongly recommend the walk to Llanrhychwyn Church, one of Wales' most ancient and most atmospheric of churches.
The Victorians: By the early 20th century the village was popular as an inland holiday resort with the Victorians arriving by both boat and railway train. Railway passengers would disembark at the nearby Llanrwst Railway Station and complete the journey via the Gower Bridge, while Paddle Steamers would carry passengers from Conwy harbour through the scenic Conwy Valley on a 90-minute trip.
Come the 21st century, and I am afraid the paddle steamers no longer navigate the waters of the Conwy, however, the Conwy Valley Railway offers a pleasant alternative.
Accommodation and Services
The village has a number of pubs, hotels, guesthouses and holiday cottage accommodation and the Fairy Falls Hotel keeps alive the ancient tradition of Fairies in the village of Trefriw. Parking is available in the centre of the village.