Great walks for enjoying spring and summer flowers
One of the special joys of summer walks is the abundance of flowers filling the lanes and hedgerows, meadows and woodlands. From April’s bluebells to August’s roses, the Conwy Valley bursts with scent and colour throughout the warmer months. The valley’s particular climate suits flowers and bees, so much so that Conwy town holds a Seed and Honey Fair every year, an event held under the auspices of a 700-year Royal Charter.
So where are the best walks to see this wonderful flora? Read on and we’ll tell you!
Bluebells of Marl Hall Woods
Marl Hall Woods are on the low limestone hill that hides Llandudno from the A55. Leave the train at Llandudno Junction, cross the main road and head along Marl Drive as far as the A470 roundabout.
Cross this road carefully and turn left on the narrow lane until you reach a small car park. From here a path lets you explore this wonderful wood, especially beautiful in April with carpets of bluebells.
Don’t worry if you miss them, this ancient semi-natural woodland boasts stunning displays of rare and beautiful wild flowers in the spring and summer and dazzling autumn colour.
There’s even the bonus of a few historical features to discover along the way. We won’t say any more – you need to do the walk to find out what they are.
RSPB Conwy boasts flowers as well as birds
As of December 2016 the avid birders at RSPB’s Nature Reserve had catalogued more than 350 plants. There are lots of walks here, with wonderful views across the Conwy river to the mountains of Snowdonia beyond, as well as a great cafe.
There’s a network of pushchair-friendly trails with viewpoints and hides and you’ll see an abundance of birds as well as flowers.
In Spring you’ll see great yellow sprays of gorse, dandelions (ok, weeds, but in the wild they’re beautiful!), cowslips and cuckoo flower. Mixing it with the yellows of marsh marigolds, see lilac, herb roberts and common vetch, spikes of deep blue bugle and hawthorn.
June onwards is the time to see beautiful orchids, including the amazing bee orchid which looks like a flower with a bee inside it.
The best way to get to the reserve, just off the A55, is to leave the train at Llandudno Junction and walk past the cinema and over the roundabout over the A55.
There is a £5 entrance fee and only assistance dogs are allowed in the reserve (there is a public path north of the estuary that you and your four-legged friendly are free to enjoy).
Tyddyn Afon’s wildflower meadows
Wildflower meadows are one of the jewels in nature’s crown – but since the 1930s Wales has lost more than 91% of them.
These special meadows are private land but can be seen from the train. Travelling from Llandudno, about half a mile past Glan Conwy as the train hugs the banks of the River Conwy, look left inside.
There are two pastures here have not been re-seeded or ploughed or re-seeded since the war. Grazing has taken its toll, but now the owner has removed livestock and is restoring the land to its former wildflower glory.
It has received seeds from Conwy Coronation Meadow, near Penmachno, known for its abundance of wildflowers, especially devil’s-bit scabious and knapweed in late summer.
The Coronation Meadows Project is led by Plantlife in partnership with The Wildlife Trusts and the Rare Breeds Survival Trust. Tyddyn Afon’s wild pastures is just one of its ongoing success stories.
All-year flower-power at Bodnant Garden
We’ve featured Bodnant Garden but we cannot write about the flowers of Conwy Valley without mentioning this 80-acre oasis again!
While the Laburnum Arch grabs all the headlines in May, Bodnant’s acidic soils bring out the best vibrant colours in camellias, magnolias, rhododendrons and azaleas.
Throughout the summer month’s Bodnant’s Italianate terraces are awash with colour and scent, emanating from rose beds (best in July and August) and herbaceous borders. Electric blue hydrangeas fill the verdant riverside dells and the meadows breeze with wildflowers.
With new areas being opened all the time (2017 saw the addition of Furnace Wood and Meadow), there’s no reason not to visit Bodnant more than once.
The best way to get to Bodnant Gardens from Conwy Valley Railway is to leave the train at Glan Conwy and use the No25 bus service direct to the door.
Green lanes, woodlands and mountain views
This 3.5 mile circular walk from the edge of Llanrwst features a great mix of meadows, woods and wonderful views of Moel Siabod and Snowdonia’s western flanks.
Walk this route in spring or early summer for the best of the flowers, especially along the hedgerows. Look for red campion, herb robert, greater stitchwort, meadow sweet and bluebells. Time it right for the heady smell of wild garlic, especially in the sun after a spring shower.
The route isn’t way-marked but the PDF download from this Visit Llandudno web page describes the way for you.
Enjoy the flowers at our community stations!
Some of our stations, such as Tal-Cafn, Llanrwst North, Betws-y-Coed and Dolwyddelan feature fabulous floral displays in containers and baskets, all thanks to dedicated teams of volunteers.
The smaller stations may just be platforms but these bright sprays of colour make them a verdant delight nevertheless.
Wherever you decide to wander off the Conwy Valley Railway, make sure you pause a few moments at the station to appreciate these lovingly cared-for miniature gardens.