Ancient Ardda Walk
This walk takes you high above the Conwy Valley to the site of the medieval township of Ardda and the spectacular waterfalls of the Afon Ddu.
When it is safe to do so, cross the track to exit from the station by the far white gate and walk along the clear track some 150m to the bridge over the River Conwy. There are lovely broad views over the water here, both up and down the valley. Pass through the kissing gate and turn left to cross the stile and head for the river bank.
Cross the stile on the right and swinging towards the right follow a clear track with the Afon Ddu on the left running parallel beside you and large banks of common reed swaying along the waters edge. Ahead, high up on the hill, the black line of the pipeline is visible on the skyline identifying the location of the walk. Continue up onto the embankment alongside the river to come out at the main road by the small car park and the bridge Pont Dolgarrog. Ahead of us, stretching away to the right are the heavily
wooded slopes of Coed Dolgarrog which is a National Nature Reserve. To the left are the dramatic cliffs of Clogwyn Mawr.
Cross the road and continue upwards on the concrete drive, ignore the small path along the fence to the left; take this section slowly - it is a very steep maintenance road for the water company. Note the Countryside Council for Wales information board at the cattle grid, it shows this route and the surrounding area.
The road zig-zags ever upwards now until reaching the treatment works and nearly all the hard work is over. Ignore the waymarks on the left by some small buildings, this is the return exit. At a straight section the undergrowth clears and there is a taste of thespectacular views to come.
Pass the works and cross a new stile to continue on a steep short stretch of concrete, ignoring the waymark on the left. At its end continue on the farm track towards the left with an extensive and magnificent panorama of the entire valley behind you. Continue towards a fence line ignoring a left fork and reach a metal farm gate.
This is a good place to pause. Ahead is the old enclosure of Tai Isaf Ardda and the highest point of our route. Towards the left, in the far distance, the high peaks of the Ogwen valley can be seen, behind is the superb vista of eastern Conwy and the viewpoint of Cadair Ifan Goch and upwards to the right, the site of the ancient township of Ardda.
The medieval township of Ardda is mentioned in the mid-15th century Bangor manuscript and was
occupied as late as the 18th century. According to the Royal Commission on Ancient Monuments the area contains the remains of rectangular structures associated with early feilds and boulders presumed to be the last remains of true medieval structures. While the climate has perhaps changed it must have been a hard life high up on these slopes. There is little now left to see of their presence in the shadow of the modern black pipeline that dominates the skyline.
Cross the field to the enclosure and the wooden stile. Notice the careful refurbishment of the dry stone walling. Cross the stile and proceed down hill to some huge boulders and turning left cross another stile. Continue on past a small pumping station along an obvious footpath and adequate waymarks to join the track above the treatment works. Passing the building take the footpath into the wood marked by a large boulder and shortly cross an old metal stile.
This section of the route zig-zags through the woods to veer towards the river and a chance to see the
spectacular waterfall, it can be muddy and slippery and the viewpoint by the obvious Scots Pine is somewhat exposed, exercise considerable care above the gorge. From here the path turns away from the river and shortly exits by buildings and onto the main concrete track down to the road.
Here turn left along the road towards the Lord Newborough public house and opposite through a kissing gate turn onto a broad, straight track that leads directly back to the station. If taking advantage of refreshments at the Lord Newborough, allow at least 15 minutes to catch the train.
© Conwy Valley Rail Initiative 2001