Saturday, 31 March 2018

Penmaenmawr, Conwy, North Wales.

Tyddyn Du Touring Park on the North Wales Coast is situated between Conwy to the east and
Penmaenmawr to the west. It is an adult only site that has some wonderful sea views and overlooks both Anglesey and the Great Orme at Llandudno. It caters for touring caravans, Motorhome’s and tents. It has two very clean facility blocks, one of which is very spacious and warm with lots of hot water.  This is a great area with plenty to see without having to travel too far. A regular bus service runs between Llandudno and Bangor and can be caught at the road end of the campsite. There is a safe cycle path that runs along the shorefront and also some great walking above the Touring Park.
The Touring Park with its wonderful vista. 
Cycle Path starts from the new promenade at Penmaenmawr. 

Conwy is a World Heritage Site and has one of the finest remaining medieval walled towns in Britain. A walk around the top of the fortifications can be most enjoyable on a good dry day offering views over the Town, the surrounding countryside and the River Conwy. The walls retain three of the original narrow gateways, which are just about wide enough to give access to Arriva bus service!

The Conwy Town Walls.

Views from the Town Wall across to the Snowdonia National Park.
Conwy Castle was built by the “Hammer of the Scots” Edward 1st of England during his conquest of Wales between 1283 and 1289 which formed part of the same project as the walls. The English invaders lived within the walls but the native Welsh people lived outside. The castle was involved in several wars including its part in the so called ‘English’ Civil War in 1642 when it was held by forces loyal to Charles 1st who held it until 1646 when the Cromwell’s Puritan’s defeated the Stuart army. Following this defeat the Castle fell into disrepair until restoration work began in the 19th century. Managed by Cadw, a sort of Welsh National Trust, it is now a very successful tourist attraction. 
Conwy Castle.

The Castle Chapel and its stained glass window.

Other attractions in and around the town include the Grade 1 listed Aberconwy House a medieval merchants residence in Castle Street. Constructed in the 15th century, it is a fine example of a timbered stone built dwelling. It has two furnished upper floors over a cellar that is now a National Trust shop.

Inside Aberconwy House.

Other attractions include The Smallest House in Britain....
....and a very interesting shopping area. 

Originally the Cistercian Aberconwy Abbey, The Church of St Mary’s and All Saints foundations date back to 1172 and the body of the Kirk has some very interesting artwork. One of its entrances is situated behind the Tourist Information Centre.
St Mary's Church with the Information Centre in the foreground.

St Marys Church. 

In 1826 our old friend Thomas Telford designed the graceful suspension bridge that spans the River Conwy and was the only road bridge across the river until 1991 when the first immersed tube tunnel under the River Conwy was opened which now takes most of the traffic.
Thomas Telford designed Suspension Bridge.
While you’re in this picturesque wee town don’t forget to stop by the Fisherman’s Chip Shop to sample a great fish supper.

You can quite easily cycle from Tyddyn Du into Conwy where you can sit overlooking the River and out to sea and enjoy a picnic lunch.

Enjoy your picnic over looking the River Conwy and the sea.
From the roadway behind the Touring Park you can access a way marked pathway that will connect you to a circular walk called the Jubilee Path, opened in 1888 to commemorate Victoria’s Jubilee in 1887, it was originally called Foel Lus path. Positioned 800 ft. above sea level it offers some spectacular views of the surrounding terrain and across the sea to Puffin Island and beyond to Anglesey. It took just four months for Joseph Jones and his two assistants to create the path using just a pick and a shovel. It cost £50 and an extra £5 to build the two pillars which make the official start of the pathway.
One of the two pillars (on the left) built for a fiver!

The pathway up to the Victoria Path.

Views from Foel Lus.

Conwy Mountain with the Sychnant pass coming down the Centre of the valley. The road was open in 1772 as part of the new turnpike road to replace the original packhorse trail.

Conwy Mountain and the Sychnant Pass.
A great day out on your bike is a ride to the ‘Queen of the Welsh Resorts’. Go over the bridge at Conwy and follow the cycle path bearing left at the end and follow it along the shoreline and then join the path alongside the roadway and follow the signs.   Llandudno must be one of the nicest traditional seaside resorts you will find anywhere in the UK. Edging the Irish Sea it has a curved promenade approximately two miles long with some beautiful grand and well kept Victorian buildings that I would think are mainly Hotels and Bed and Breakfast establishments. Lots of seating is available to sit and enjoy the views with your coffee and sandwiches’ before you walk out on the Grade 2 listed pier. Built in 1878 it’s the longest pier in Wales at 2295 ft. and has the normal attractions you would expect to find on such a structure including a cafĂ©, amusement arcades along side an assortment of shops and kiosks that includes one that sell Kelly’s Ice Cream.  It would take more than one day to sample all the delights that Llandudno has to offer and I would certainly suggest travellers program in perhaps a long weekend to allow full appreciation of this wonderful Welsh holiday resort.

Llandudno Promenade.

The Grand Hotel.

The Pier with the usual amusements....
....and Kellys Ice Cream.

A much less interesting place to visit is Bangor. An 5 or a 5X Arriva bus from the campsite end will take you straight into the towns bus station. From there you can easily access the local shops, restaurants and coffee bars. But while your there visit Bangor Cathedral.

Bangor Cathedral with its beautiful artworks and stained-glass window.
St Deiniol’s Monastery originally occupied the Cathedral site in 6th century.  The leaflet given out in the building includes an interesting piece as follows:

About the year 525AD a man of noble birth named Deiniol settled on this site. Having been given land, probably by Maelgwn King of Gwynedd, he enclosed it with a fence constructed by driving poles into the ground and weaving branches in between them. The native technical term for this type of fence was ‘bangor’. Within this enclosure Deiniol built his church in which he and his followers lived. They were missionaries, going to join them. Thus a Celtic monastery or Clas was formed. As sometimes happens, the word ‘bangor’ was transformed from the original object  - in this case the fence – to that closely associated with it – the settlement within. That is how Bangor got its name.

Garth Pier, a short walk from the Bus station, is just on the outskirts of Bangor and situated out into the Menai Strait,. This is the second longest pier in Wales at 1500ft. Designed by J J Webster of London it was first open to the public on the 14th May 1896. Originally the pier had a small gauge railway that carried baggage to a pontoon landing stage for pleasure steamers, it was removed in 1914. The local council closed the pier for safety reasons in 1971and following the purchase of the structure for a nominal 1p in 1975; renovation works were started in 1981 and was completed in 1988. Further renovation works was again required and started in 2017. While this three-year project continues the pier remains open to visitors.

The Garth Pier.

Not having been to Wales since we were children we enjoyed out trip to what is a very lovely part of the UK and would not hesitate to visit again but would probably like to explore more of it next time. Unlike Scotland a great many Welsh people speak their own language, with English as their second, it is really great to hear this from both adults and children. 

The Welsh Flag.

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