Conwy natural sites
Conwy natural sites
Although Conwy outgrew the town walls long ago, green spaces press in on all sides. To the south lies Coed Benarth, a deciduous woodland. A public path along the edge of the wood starts from Llanrwst Road, not far from the Morfa Bach long-stay car park. Alongside Llanrwst Road flows the Gyffin stream, which powered a mill when the walled town was established. Sheep graze the slope below the wood, a stone’s throw from the Castle walls.
West of the town walls are the last remnants of the market gardening which kept the town supplied with fresh fruit and vegetables in medieval times. It fell into disuse in the 20th century, but many of the trees carried on growing and producing fruit. Now it is managed by the Conwy Orchard Community Group, whose volunteers work with the local authority to maintain the site’s biodiversity as well as giving the old trees a judicious helping hand and harvesting the fruit for the community to enjoy.
North of the town walls, Bangor Road is flanked by mature horse chestnut and other trees. Here too is Bodlondeb, a large area of parkland. Gardens were laid out here by a wealthy landowner in the 18th century, but are much changed since then. Beyond the house, now the seat of Conwy County Borough Council, is Coed Bodlondeb, a woodland which includes an unusual alleyway of holly trees and is criss-crossed by public paths. Welsh Black cattle graze the field west of the woodland.
Along the eastern edge of the wood runs Marine Walk, a shoreline footpath leading from Lower Gate Street almost to Conwy Marina.
The boundary of Snowdonia national park lies fairly close to modern Conwy. A short walk north-west from the town walls takes you to Conwy Mountain, or Mynydd y Dref ( “The Town’s Mountain”), where locals never tire of the superb views over the town and estuary to the east, of Conwy Bay and the Great Orme to the north, and of the Carneddau and other mountains to the south. Here too is what might be regarded as the predecessor of the walled town of Conwy: Caer Seion was an Iron Age fort, and its outlines can still be seen.
There’s more greenery on the far side of the Conwy estuary, including the RSPB nature reserve and the hills like camel humps of the Vardre (Y Faerdre). The estuary itself is an important feeding ground for wading birds, grey herons and others. The herring gulls, on the other hand, seem to prefer chips and other leftovers from humans. Too many tourists have thought it's great fun to feed these birds, so now they'll skilfully grab food from the hands of the unwary. Jackdaws nest in holes in the town walls and are such a feature of Conwy that people born within the town walls have long been known as Jackdaws.