Tal Y Fan circular walk
Distance: 5 miles
Suitable for dogs? Yes, but they must be kept on leads at all times due to grazing sheep.
Tal Y Fan is a mountain on the North Coast of Wales, overlooking the Conwy Valley. Not quite in Snowdonia, it’s an outlier which doesn’t attract many tourists. We love quieter hiking trails though and enjoyed having the summit to ourselves. If you want to climb the whole mountain, you should really start from sea level in Llanfairfechan. However if you have less time, or want to cheat slightly (like us), then you can do a circular walk from an unmarked parking area at the end of the Bwlch y Ddeufaen road, which is a steep winding lane off the B5106 Conwy-Llanwrst road.
The hike starts under some electricity pylons and then rapidly ascends Foel Lwyd, a smaller mountain next to Tal Y Fan. Most of the trail follows an old stone wall, which used to separate farmland from quarries, so it was fairly easy to navigate. Some scrambling is required and the path is very steep in places, so we ended up gripping the wall a few times to steady ourselves. Even though we only climbed 300m, it was pretty tiring!
Once at the top of Foel Lwyd, you’ll need to continue following the stone wall back down the other side before you start to climb back up to the summit of Tal Y Fan. Tal Y Fan has a far more impressive summit than Foel Lwyd, but is also wilder and rockier, so more scrambling is required! If you’re lucky enough to have clear skies, you should be able to see for miles over the Conwy Valley; the views are pretty incredible.
Once we’d refueled and taken some photos we continued on our hike, following the same stone wall down into the Conwy Valley. The trail fades away, but as long as the wall remains to your right, you’ll eventually find the path again. When you reach the point where another wall crosses perpendicular, turn right to follow this crumbling wall towards a track. Continue along the track past a small cottage until you reach the tiny windy road that will lead you back up towards the car park. The final walk along the road is a little boring, but only takes 5-10 minutes and then you’ll be back at your vehicle. If you’re in need of refreshments when you’ve finished, the towns of Conwy and Llandudno are very close and both have ample restaurants, pubs and cafes.
We’d love to hear your thoughts. Have you done this hike? What did you think? Leave a comment below!