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 Wales > Walks in Wales  >   A walk to Aber Falls from Abergwyngregyn, North Wales

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the hairy legged hiker walking in WalesWhere is it?  Just off the main A55 North Wales coast road behind the village of Abergwyngregyn (Aber), close to Llanfairfechan.
How long will it take ? : 2 to 3 hrs. The walk is approx. 4.5 miles, 7 km's.
What's the attraction? : The valley contains the Coedydd Aber National Nature Reserve with an abundance of wildlife and beautiful woodland and mountain scenery, and of course the 115 foot tall Aber Falls (Rhaeadr-fawr).
Essentials : Stout footwear for the complete loop. The shorter " to the falls and back" route is on a gravel track and is no more difficult than a walk in the park.
Rating : Easy, but with a steep descent on the longer route.
Car Parking : There is a choice of two car parks, the first, in the village, is free, while the one near the head of the valley is Pay and Display. As our walk is a loop it makes no difference to the length of the walk which car park you choose. And as the locals seem to prefer visitors to visit the village then you might as well park for free in the village. The free car park sits between the A55 and the village. It is signposted as you leave the expressway.
Facilities : Refreshments and Cafe in the village. Small information centre in the valley.
Be aware : The return section passes through grazing land and I would not recommend taking a dog on this part of the trail during the spring lambing season .....even if the dog is on a lead.


Directions :   [ Map of Aber Falls Walk location ]
Exit the A55 at Junction 13. Follow the signs to Abergwyngregyn.
Map opens in a new window

Lets Go !

Rhaedr-fawr, Aber FallsLeave the car in the car park and follow the waymarker through an iron gate next to the bridge over the river. Follow the path past a small information centre that holds a disabled toilet and an interesting information board. Follow the lane south through the village. The lane continues alongside the river, Afon Rhaeadr-fawr, for approximately a half a mile. Cross the old stone bridge, Bont Newydd, or go through the gate on the west bank of the river for the picnic benches and the Coedydd Aber National Nature Reserve information boards. Follow the way markers for the North Wales Path into the valley. There are more information boards and a Nature Reserve Visitor Centre along the way explaining among other things the wide variety of wildlife and their habitats. The full story of the industrial past of Abergwyngregyn and the valley can be read about in a small Visitor Centre along the way. Another display board explains the management of the Alder trees and their part in the making of charcoal. The path continues toward the falls and just before we reach Rhaeadr-fawr there is yet another information board explaining that the pile of stones at the side of the trail are in fact the remains of an iron age round house probably dating from 2000-2700 years ago. The standing stone amid the stones is dated at circa 2000.B.C.

Passing by the ancient site it is just a short walk up the bank to a fine viewpoint of one of Wales most beautiful waterfalls and the surrounding hills of Moel Wnion, Gyrn, Bera Mawr, Bera Bach, and Drosgl.
The falls themselves are a most impressive site, and indeed a most impressive sound, but I've not seen a photograph yet that does them justice. You would be forgiven for believing that the milky white water was just that .....milk. And I am surprised that they have not been named Rhaeadr-Llefrith, Milk Falls, as the contrast between the granite rock face and the aerated water looks nothing less than if a milk tanker was spewing it's load over the cliff edge.

If you don't fancy the longer walk then this is the point to return to the car park. But it could be said that you are missing the best bits.

To continue the full walk cross over the river to the west bank of Afon Rhaeadr-fawr and follow the way markers for the North Wales Path. But before going too far you can get another good view of the falls from the grassy bank on the right of the falls.

A look back towards the falls from Moel WnionThe trail continues west across the head of the valley crossing another river, Afon Rhaeadr-bach, with more grand views this time of Rhaeadr-bach, ....or the smaller falls. From here the path turns back towards the coast up a slight incline along the lower slopes of Moel Wnion. The path can be quite muddy but nothing that good walking boots can't handle. There is a bench at the top of the hill to pause and take in the fantastic views of the Carneddau foothills across the valley, Llwytmor,  Foel Ganol, Pen Bryn-du, Drum and Foel Fras. In the foreground the old Roman Road can be seen winding it's way below Garreg Fawr and through to the pass of Bwlch y Ddeufaen and on to Rowen and the Conwy Valley ....but that's for another day.

As the trail continues north through sheep filled pastureland the outlook changes as the Irish Sea comes into view. A panorama that includes the Menai Strait, Lavan Sands, the south west tip of Anglesey, Beaumaris, the Penmon Lighthouse and Puffin Island.
From the brow of the hill can be seen the starting point of the walk the small village of Abergwyngregyn, looking even smaller from this vantage point.

            -------------------------------------- Click to enlarge the pictures -------------------------------------------------

There are two tracks down to the village, the direct route, the one that bears right, is the shortest but also the steepest. If you have good boots then there should be no problem but if you are concerned for your safety then take the left hand track and bear right after a few hundred yards. Both tracks arrive at the same point in the village.

The car park is nearby but dawdle a while and you will find some interesting places in Aber. A cafe-cum- information-centre offers  refreshments and ..er information. Take a short stroll through the streets of Aber and you will find a lot of history for such a small place.

The size of Aber belies it's historical importance. A look into the field behind the houses off the main street reveals a large grassy mound that  is known as Llywelyn's Mound after the Welsh Prince Llywelyn. The mound is circular, 22 foot high with a flat top 57 feet by 48 feet. It's origin has probably no connection to Llywelyn and it has been suggested that it might be a fifth or sixth century A.D. mound built over the body of a local champion warrior lord.

Garth Celyn from Abergwyngregyn villageBut look further across the field and through the trees and you will see the tower known as Twr Llywelyn, The tower, belonging to the house once known as Garth Celyn and now known as Pen y Bryn, is reputed to have been built circa 1200 A.D. Historians seem to be at loggerheads over the exact history of Pen y Bryn but the latest evidence points to it being the home of Llywelyn ap Gruffudd, Prince of Wales and Lord of Snowdon.
And if you should see the gentleman who lives in the house that backs on to the previously mentioned Llywelyn's Mound ask him about the secret chamber below the tower of Llywelyn's home. He might tell you of the hidden tunnel that runs from Garth Celyn under the Menai Strait to Anglesey, and of  the legend that Prince Llywelyn's horse was hitched to a post in the cellar in readiness for an attack from the English King. And that he saw the post still in the cellar to this day................

Buy the Ordnance Survey Map:
Outdoor Leisure OL17 (1:25,000) or the Landranger Sheet 115 (1:50,000)

Please -- click on the pictures -- for enlarged pictures of the walk to Aber Falls, North Wales, UK.

Follow the lane to the falls Through the iron gate and take the track
Follow the lane to the falls
 
Through the iron gate and take the track
The falls come into view through the trees   The winding path leads through the trees
The falls come into view through the trees
 
The winding path leads through the trees
An iron age site
The falls come into view
An iron age site with standing stone borders the pathway
 
The magnificent falls come into view.
Close up of the falls View toward Moel Wnion
Close up of the falls
 
View toward Moel Wnion
Rhaeadr Bach   View down the Rhaeadr Fawr valley
Rhaeadr Bach, the smaller falls
 
View down the Rhaeadr Fawr valley
Foreshortened view of the Menai Strait from the head of the valley
Foreshortened view of Penmon Lighthouse from the head of the valley
Foreshortened view of the Menai Strait from the head of the valley
 
Foreshortened view of Penmon Lighthouse from the head of the valley.
A look back to Aber Falls from Moel Wnion The forests across the valley
A look back to Aber Falls from Moel Wnion
 
The forests across the valley and the Carneddau foothills
The foothills of the Carneddau mountains including Drum and Foel Fras   Walkers heading back to the coast
The foothills of the Carneddau mountains including Foel Ganol, Pen Bryn-du, Drum and Foel Fras
 
Walkers heading back to the coast and the Menai Strait
Panoramic views of Puffin Island, Anglesey, Lavan Sands  and the Menai Straight
The village of Aber, Abergwyngregyn
Panoramic views of Puffin Island, Anglesey, Lavan Sands and the Menai Straight
 
The village of Aber (Abergwyngregyn) and the Irish Sea.
Prince Llywelyn's lodge Pen-y-Bryn or Garth Celyn as it was known
The Motte or ancient mound known locally as Llywelyn's mound
Prince Llywelyn's palace Pen-y-Bryn or Garth Celyn as it was known
 
The Motte or ancient mound known locally as Llywelyn's mound

© All pictures copyright Bernard Wellings

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