Starting at the Wales/England border and running westwards for 75 miles/120km to the tip of Anglesey, The North Wales Way is one of three Wales Way touring routes created to guide and inspire visitors. Each ‘Way’ has been designed as a fluid experience, not a route that’s set in stone, with plenty of diversions off the main path that allow you to explore further and deeper.
Whether you’re a hardcore hiker or gentle stroller, this four-day itinerary showcases places to put your best foot forward on and around The North Wales Way. Head off on walks through dramatic mountain passes, country parks, forests and nature reserves.
Begin your journey with a walk around Greenfield Valley Heritage Park near Holywell, where a network of paths reveals streams, ponds and dappled woodland – plus historic monuments and a huge outdoor playground for younger visitors.
Wepre Country Park has 160 acres of ancient woodland. It has pools, waterfalls and wildflower meadows. In 1257 Llewelyn the Last built “a castle in the corner of the wood”. Ewloe Castle is still there. Still surrounded by trees. And less than a mile from the Wepre Park car park.
Then it’s on to Loggerheads Country Park nestled between Ruthin and Mold in the Clwydian Range and Dee Valley AONB, for a stroll around waymarked routes that show off a landscape of wooded valleys, rocky outcrops and jagged cliffs.
Close to Wrexham, Plas Power and Nant Mill Woods covers 104 acres/42ha of ancient woodland, bog and grassland – home to a colourful cast of animal and plant life, including kingfishers, orange tip butterflies and fragrant honeysuckle. If time permits, call into Erddig further downstream along the marked Clywedog Trail, the National Trust’s very own ‘upstairs downstairs’ manor house featuring resplendent gardens and an apple festival every autumn.
Suggested overnight: Wrexham.
Make your way along the A5 to Betws-y-Coed, before taking the B5106 up the Conwy Valley to Trefriw and climbing up the minor road to remote Llyn Crafnant. Laid out around this lofty lake are three waymarked trails ranging from a short and accessible amble through woodland to a longer, steeper walk with far-reaching Snowdonia vistas of mountains and forest.
Return to the B5106 and head for Conwy to explore the network of paths that criss-cross the summit of Conwy Mountain, watching out for the remains of Iron Age hillforts as you go. Continue on to Llandudno for a walk to the top of nature-rich Great Orme, the rugged mini-mountain that dominates the skies above this handsome seaside resort.
Suggested overnight: Llandudno.
Drive along the coast to Abergwyngregyn for the Aber Falls circular walk, a family-friendly 4½-mile/7.5km trail along a picturesque valley to the spectacular Rhaeadr Fawr waterfall.
Next, it’s over the Menai Strait to Llangefni and the Dingle Nature Reserve, a steep wooded valley that’s home to shimmering dragonflies, azure kingfishers and playful red squirrels. Check out the weekly park run, which challenges even the keenest of runners. Your last stop on Anglesey is on the north-west coast at Breakwater Country Park, a former quarry just a stone’s throw from the busy port of Holyhead, where you’ll find walking trails past a rocky coastline, ponds, cliffs and woodland.
Suggested overnight: Holyhead or Trearddur Bay.
Return to the mainland and drive via Caernarfon to Llanberis. From here, the only way is up – to the top of Snowdon on the Llanberis Path, the longest and most gradual of the six paths to the summit (there and back it’s 9 miles/14.5km).
If you’re in the mood for more, drive up the formidable Llanberis Pass (where the team that first conquered Mount Everest trained) to tackle the Aberglaslyn, Llyn Dinas and Cwm Bychan circular walk starting at Nantmor near Beddgelert. You’ll pass through some of the loveliest scenery in Snowdonia, taking in the beauty spots of the Aberglaslyn Pass, Beddgelert village and placid waters of Llyn Dinas.
Suggested overnight: Beddgelert.