Conwy Valley Walk, a walk to Llangelynin Church in the Conwy Valley, North Wales
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Where is it? Above the village of Rowen in the Conwy Valley, in North Wales.
How long will it take ? Distance 7 miles. Approximately 3.5 hrs.
What's the attraction ? Fine views of the Conwy Valley and the Creuddyn Peninsula. Prehistoric sites, standing stones, and one of Wales' oldest churches.
Rating : This is a moderate walk. There are a few inclines but nothing that a reasonably fit 70 year old can't cope with. The ground can be very boggy in parts and a few small streams need fording so waterproof footwear is a good idea. Good walking boots recommended.
Car Parking : Free Car Parking in Car Park.
Facilities : None, but there are pubs in LLanbedr y Cennin and Rowen village nearby. holiday cottages near by.
Essentials : Walking boots and appropriate wet weather clothes required. Compass and OS map wll not go amiss.

DIRECTIONS >Map of Conwy Valley to Llangelynin Church walk location Map opens in a new window

From Glan Conwy Corner (junction 19 on A55) Take Llanrwst Rd / A470. Turn right at B5279. Take the 3rd left onto B5106. Travel 1.9 mile to Tal-y-Bont. From Tal y Bont take the minor road marked in red on above map.

Lets Go! - Conwy Valley to Llangelynin Walk

This is a walk for those who appreciate fine views but also like a fairly level walk. Unfortunately if driving along narrow single-track country lanes is not for you then neither is this walk. The narrow country lanes that gain access to the uplands are barely wide enough for two cows to pass never mind two cars.

There is the option to leave the car in the village of Rowen and take the road out of the village but if you are not too good at climbing hills this option might not suit you as it is a very steep climb to the uplands and the start of the walk.

Best to think of the narrow roads as an adventure and not a chore.

Fortunately the narrowest sections of the road are contained within a three mile stretch between Llanbedr y Cennin and the Roman Road. By taking care to remember the passing points it is possible that, like ourselves, you might have to reverse just once along the way.

We start the walk at the car park located between the hills of Drum and Tal y Fan. You can’t miss the car park as it is where the tarmac section of the Roman Road ends. The Romans must have had to park up their chariots at this point and continue on foot towards Anglesey.

Exit the car park and head east back along the road for some three quarters of a mile to the T-junction. Continue past the T-junction for 100 yards before turning left up a track for a short way in the direction of Cae Coch, a renovated cottage. Follow the track as it veers to the right. The trail is obvious from this point as it gently crosses the lower slopes of Tal y Fan. Enjoy the views of the Conwy Valley.

Walk for one and a quarter miles till you reach a metal gate with large stone gateposts. Check out the gatepost on your left for the stonemason’s initials and the carefully carved date of 1870. Note the stone step stiles to the left of the gateway.

After passing through the gateway you may notice an interesting rock formation to the north, at the eastern end of Tal y Fan. It reminds me of those sacred burial grounds of the Red Indians (Native Americans) so often seen in 1950 black and white movies.

Head toward the higher ground at the base of the rocks. Continue over the ridge to a plateau and find a suitable rock to sit on and eat your butties and enjoy the view. To the south the Conwy River winds its way toward a distant Llanrwst; to the east can be seen Llansantfraid Glan Conwy, Eglwysbach, and, over the hills, Colwyn Heights; to the north can be seen the historic town of Conwy, the huge limestone rock of the Great Orme at the end of the Creuddyn Peninsula and, in the foreground, the rolling hills of Conwy Mountain and the Sychnant Pass.

Once refreshed head north in the direction of those rolling hills. But only for a short distance. Approximately 500 yards down the slope and you will reach the Maen Penddu Standing Stone. This prehistoric stone sits between Tal y Fan and Cefn Maen Amor at a meeting of the tracks and is a fine ancient monument worthy of a visit in itself. Moreover, if standing stones are not your thing there are always the luscious bilberries. Yes, bilberry plants cover the ground surrounding the standing stone …when in season of course.

Although Maen Penddu is a meeting of the tracks, unfortunately for our walk the track we wish to take is the least obvious. You will need to head east-southeast toward a gap between a stone wall and a grassy bank. On emerging from the gap, follow the stream downhill until you join the track at the foot of Craig Celynin.

A well-defined path takes you past a sheepfold and a cottage, Garnedd Wen, before opening out to a view of the old church of Llangelynin …the star attraction for this walk.

If you appreciate old churches you can’t fail to be impressed by Llangelynin Church and its surroundings. Sitting high above the Conwy Valley and surrounded by old dry stone walls this ancient church is one of the most atmospheric of Wales’ Holy places.
Founded in the 6th Century by Celynin the present church probably dates from the 12th Century. Being close to the Roman Road it was a place of rest for pilgrims to Bardsey and West Wales for many centuries.

Some would climb the 900 feet from the Conwy Valley to seek a cure for the sick, as the Holy Well in the southwest corner of the churchyard was renowned for its healing qualities for sick children. Indeed, I know of an American couple who travelled several thousand miles from Los Angeles on the west coast of the USA to seek a cure for their sick child. The father was a doctor and lieutenant in the US army and he and his wife travelled to Wales with the express purpose of taking water from Celynin’s Well. Sadly, I can’t vouch for the efficacy of the waters in healing the child, but I do know that they conceived another child while staying in the area and called the newborn “Conwy”.

Maybe the waters of Llangelynin’s Holy Well should be renowned as an aid to fertility!

Within the old church a skull and cross bones looks down on the faithful from the chancel walls, and a wooden bier hangs from the old cold stone walls, always at the ready, as if to remind the congregation of their precarious hold on life. Artefacts within the church date from as early as the 13th, 14th and 15th Centuries, and the old church is well worth a visit.

Leaving the old church we ignore the roads leading south and west as the path of the righteous man is beset on all sides by the iniquities of the selfish and the tyranny of evil men. Well not really. We ignore the road south because they lead to a hilly section.

We retrace our route for 500 yards or so, as far as the fork in the path at the foot of Craig Celynin. Bear left at the fork skirting the lower slopes of Craig Celynin. Take the walk in late summer and as you ascend the path you will enjoy the colourful mix of gorse and purple heather.

At the top of the slope the track veers to the right before skirting the stone wall from where it heads back to the car park in a westerly direction.

This land has been inhabited for tens of thousands of years and it is well worth carrying an OS map to help in differentiating between what are plain old boulders and what are the remnants of the many ancient dwellings that are scattered about the landscape.

To the right of the path are the remains of Caer Bach (Small Fort) that sits below the rocks of the previously mentioned “Sacred Native American Burial Chamber”.

You could, if you so wished, walk straight from here to the Car Park, or alternatively you could make a short detour to see one of Wales’ finest Cromlechs or Burial Chambers, Maen y Bardd ….it may be small but it is perfectly formed.

To make the detour: on reaching the metal gates (with the carved initials on the stone gate posts) continue walking in a westerly direction for some 200 yards then bear left and take the more southerly path. On reaching the tarmac road (after some 500 yards), turn left and walk down the lane for another 100 yards. Maen y Bardd, Stone of the Bards, is on the raised bank to the left of the road.

To return to the car park simply follow the road in a westerly direction. As an added bonus, you will see a fine standing stone some 600 yards along the lane on the return route.

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

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