is it ? Colwyn Bay, (Old Colwyn), north Wales.
How long will it take ? 3
to 4 hours, Distance 6 miles / 10 km
What's the attraction ? historic location
; sea views ; view quarry boats ; sea birds ; panoramic views of Bay
of Colwyn ; dolos.
Tip : Check the tide tables for options for
Check the BBC tide tables here > High
tides offer the chance to view the quarry boats loading, whereas low
tide enables the first section of the walk, Old Colwyn to Llanddulas,
to be undertaken on the sands. If in any doubt take the cycle-path
Rating : This
is an easy walk but with a long drag of a hill on the return walk.
Parking : available on the Promenade (free) in Old Colwyn,
This could be called Traitor's Walk. Walk the route
where the King of England was betrayed. In 1399 King Richard II of England
was ambushed by Henry Bolingbrook's men at Penmaenhead and taken to Flint
Castle. Richard was deposed and after incarceration in Pontefract Castle
died in mysterious circumstances. The traitor Bolingbrook became King
Henry IV of England. The act of treachery on Penmaenhead was to fan the
flames of Owain
Glyndwr's rebellion that spread throughout Wales and the border
lands causing turmoil for the next decade and more, and ultimately
to the Wars of the Roses.
Directions : [ Map
of Old Colwyn to Llanddulas Walk
From Chester take the A55 to Old Colwyn, Colwyn Bay. Exit the expressway
at junction 22. After the sliproad bear right toward the seafront and then
right again for 1/2 mile to the Old Colwyn end of the promenade.
Enough with the history let's get on with the walk!
After parking the car on the promenade head east toward the Penmaenhead
headland. The directions are very easy as all that is needed is to follow
the markings for the North Wales Cycle Path on the promenade. The first
section (the Tan y Lan section) continues parallel with the North Wales
Railway and the A55 Expressway before the railway disappears into the
tunnel below Penmaenhead, with the pebbled beach of Old Colwyn on the
As you pass the "rainbow bridge", the footbridge that crosses
the A55, you will see to your left an old quarry man's hut. These huts
were used to protect the quarrymen engaged in blasting the limestone from
the cliff face of penmaenhead in days gone by. Some miner's cottages are
still to be found in the lane behind Tan y Lan known as, unsurprisingly,
Back to the walking, and as you proceed along the path you will see
further evidence of the limestone quarrying with two wooden jetties
reaching out to sea. At high tides you may see the quarry boats being
loaded with limestone aggregate, whereas on quiet days you may see the
local bird life seemingly taking control of the jetties. What with the
jetties and the expressway close by you would think that this semi industrial
environment would discourage nature. But no, nature fights back! The
bird life, particularly the sea birds have increased since the construction
of the expressway and if you are lucky you may see oystercatchers, dunlins,
terns, grebe, goldeneye, or cormorants.
You will also notice another strange creature alongside the path, or
rather creatures, plural. In fact there are thousands of concrete anchor
type structures known as "dolos" lining the bank that supports
the expressway. There were
20,000 dolos used in the construction of this section of the A55 with
each one weighing some 5 Tons. They are designed to protect the coastline
from the forces of the Irish Sea, and to date seem to have done their
job pretty well.
Because of the jetties what would have been a flat coastal path has a
short sharp rise as the path has to circumvent the conveyor belts feeding
the aggregate to the boats. But what goes up must come down and there
is a nice downhill section on to Llanddulas beach. Continue past the car
parks and there is a nice picnic area on the banks of the Afon (river)
To continue the walk, however, we need to exit the cycle path at this
point and thus we turn right on reaching the Afon Dulas. Follow the lane
round to the A547 or the "old road". Continue uphill on the
A547, it is a bit of a drag but there are interesting views of the old
quarries to the left side of the road half way up the hill. And, as with
most climbs, you have the reward of great views from the top of the hill.
While taking in the panoramic views, which include the Little Orme, the
Great Orme and the Bay of Colwyn take time to reflect on the treachery
that took place on Penmaenhead some 600 years ago when King Richard was
taken into custody on this very headland. Wales was cast into war
and the Welsh people suffered decades of fear, famine and terror.
From the headland the route continues down hill as far the steps that
lead from the A547 to Miner's Lane below. Continue down the lane and cross
over the rainbow bridge rejoining the cycle path. Turn left for the return
walk to Old Colwyn promenade.
(An alternative route to the finish is the stone steps starting at the
top of Penmaenhead and leading down to the Rainbow Bridge,
but these are well worn and are not recommended unless you are very sure
Refreshments are available in the Kiosks on the seafront promenade between
Old Colwyn and Colwyn Bay pier. Toilets are sited on Llanddulas beach
and on Colwyn Bay promenade (close to the turn off for Eirias Park)