About Conwy Falls (Rhaeadr y Graig Lwyd)
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”.
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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