Conwy Falls (Rhaeadr y Graig Lwyd)

Betws-y-Coed / Snowdonia National Park, Conwy County, Wales

Rating: 1.5     Difficulty: 1.5
Conwy Falls (Rhaeadr y Graig Lwyd)

TABLE OF CONTENTS



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INTRODUCTION

Conwy Falls (Rhaeadr y Graig Lwyd in Welsh) was kind of a throw in waterfall that we hadn't planned on visiting when we set up our itinerary for North Wales. However, when we just so happened to be passing by its well-signed car park (see directions below) as we were approaching Betws-y-Coed from the south, I decided it was something we shouldn't pass up. And after seeing the waterfall, I was pleasantly surprised at how scenic it was largely because it kind of reminded me of a smaller scale version of what Burgess Falls might look like. It was pretty unusual in that the the Afon Conwy (Conwy River) was split such that the segmented drops of the 15m falls were actually tumbling away from each other.

Once I got past the coin-op turnstile (which demanded 1 pound for entry), I was behind the waterfall cafe building where there was a lawn area with some stone benches lined up in the grass as well as some wooden stage looking thing. I had a choice of some paths to take, and I had intended to take the shortest path down to the overlook of the falls (said to be 15 minutes round trip according to the signage). Apparently, I must have misinterpreted the maps because I ended up going left onto a longer and rockier path following some cliffs above the river (near the "Victorian Path") before eventually dropping towards the main viewpoint of the falls, where the other trails converged to. The route that I went on apparently was said to take 25-30 minutes of walking (maybe they meant round trip?) though I didn't take nearly that long spending only 10 minutes or so to get down to the bottom.

Anyways, down at the lookout for the waterfall, I was able to get the photo you see at the top of this page. The lookout also allowed me to see the Conwy River bend and continue further downstream. I didn't notice any salmon attempting to leap and continue their way above the falls, which a sign at the top said tended to occur starting in August. The woodland in which the foot trail and the falls was located was said to be within a Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI) so apparently the area was to be kept as natural as possible. Given the naturesque feel of the woodland during most of the walk, it seemed like there was indeed a concerted effort to indeed keep things natural.

When I had my fill of the split Conwy Falls (spending about five minutes or so), I then made it back to the car park in another 5 minutes. So my overall visit was a quick 20 minutes, but I can easily envision someone in less of a hurry spending even more time here. I was hastened because it was already 5:30pm and we were still looking for a dinner place either in Betws-y-Coed or in Conwy (nearly another hour away). Finally, it took me some time to decipher the meaning of the Welsh name for the falls (it's those mutations again), but according to my Welsh dictionary, craig means "rock" and graig could be a mutation of the word. Meanwhile, llwyd (commonly associated with the surname Lloyd) might mean "grey" and lwyd could be a mutation of it as well. So if you put these meanings together, Rhaeadr y Graig Lwyd could mean "waterfall of the grey rock".




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PHOTO JOURNAL

While we were touring North Wales, we based ourselves in the charming town of Conwy, which featured the UNESCO Conwy Castle as well as the city wallsWhile we were touring North Wales, we based ourselves in the charming town of Conwy, which featured the UNESCO Conwy Castle as well as the city walls
Although this wasn't on the way between Conwy and Conwy Falls, Caernarfon Castle was also a worthwhile UNESCO castle well worth a stop some 23 miles west of Conwy or 45 minutesAlthough this wasn't on the way between Conwy and Conwy Falls, Caernarfon Castle was also a worthwhile UNESCO castle well worth a stop some 23 miles west of Conwy or 45 minutes
Another worthwhile place to check out just 5 miles north of Conwy was the Victorian beach resort town of Llandudno, which had colorful Victorian homes that really reminded us of San FranciscoAnother worthwhile place to check out just 5 miles north of Conwy was the Victorian beach resort town of Llandudno, which had colorful Victorian homes that really reminded us of San Francisco
In addition to Conwy Castle, Conwy also had a pretty happening waterfront with the smallest house in Britain as well as views of the castle as shown hereIn addition to Conwy Castle, Conwy also had a pretty happening waterfront with the smallest house in Britain as well as views of the castle as shown here
The wide open car park for the Conwy Falls CafeThe wide open car park for the Conwy Falls Cafe

The turnstile next to the cafe to enter the woodland containing the waterfallThe turnstile next to the cafe to enter the woodland containing the waterfall

The lawn area in the back side of the cafeThe lawn area in the back side of the cafe

Descending down to the lookout area for Conwy FallsDescending down to the lookout area for Conwy Falls

Late afternoon look at Conwy FallsLate afternoon look at the falls

Looking back down at the lookout area as I started my ascent back up to the cafeLooking back down at the lookout area as I started my ascent back up to the cafe

Back at the turnstile about to leave, but I took a look back at the trail I had taken to get up here because I still wondered what that stage looking thing was forBack at the turnstile about to leave, but I took a look back at the trail I had taken to get up here because I still wondered what that stage looking thing was for


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VIDEOS OF THE FALLS


Sweep of both segments of the falls before briefly looking downstream then ending off with another look back at the falls' entirety


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DRIVING DIRECTIONS

I'll describe the driving route from Swallow Falls Hotel since that seemed to be a sensible landmark for waterfall lovers given its relatively close proximity to Conwy Falls and that it was right across the road from Swallow Falls. So see that page for specific directions on how to get there from Conwy.

So driving east on the A5 from the Swallow Falls Hotel, continue through the town of Betws-y-Coed to the junction of the A5 and the B4406 road (4.4 miles). The Conwy Falls Cafe and Car Park is right at the western corner of this junction on the right. It took us about 10 minutes drive to cover this distance.

Now we were actually driving west on the A5 after having visited Pistyll Rhaeadr earlier in the afternoon. It took us about 80 minutes to make that drive. In any case, once we got to the junction of the B4406 road with the A5, we turned left then made a quick right into the large car park by the Conwy Falls Cafe.

For some more context, Conwy was 27 miles (about 45 minutes drive) northeast of Caernarfon, 55 miles (over an hour drive) west of Liverpool, 83 miles (2.5 hours drive) north of Aberystwyth, 192 miles (4 hours drive) north of Cardiff, and 259 miles (4.5 hours drive) northwest of London.




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ITINERARIES

For more information about our itineraries involving this waterfall, check out the following links.




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MAP OF THE FALLS



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TRIP REPORTS

For more information about our experiences with this waterfall, check out the following travel stories.




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TRIP PLANNING RESOURCES





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NEARBY WATERFALLS




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