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Druid’s Circuit

Sun, November 30, 2014

Yesterday was definitely a day to get out into the hills. We decided to head out mountain biking and give the Druid's Loop a try. It is a 28km circuit that takes in some great terrain and beautiful scenery around Tal y Fan, near the north Wales coast. Considering we only started after lunch and it is the end of November it was handy that a fair bit of the accent took place on country lanes. We started at the Sychnant Pass road above Conwy and made our way over to Garnedd-Wen, where there is a beautiful old church.

Church at Garnedd-Wen
Church at Gardedd-Wen.

The church dates back to the twelfth or thirteenth century and is still used today, but only for three services a year. These services are held in the summer as there is no electricity or heating. Apparently there is a well in the church yard where sick children were bathed in the belief that they would be cured from illness. They were then taken to a nearby house to stay the night while their clothes were washed in the water from the well. If their clothes floated they would be cured but it was believed that if their clothes sank the healing powers of the water had not worked.

After Garnedd-Wen it was back onto bridleway and quite a steep and loose descent to more country lanes leading up VERY steeply to the youth hostel at Rhiw. From here the route got more scenic as we left the roads and the peak of Tal y Fan appeared to our right. We were stunned to see a red kite very clearly above us- I've never heard of red kites near the north coast before. The track continued easily until we were able to begin the fantastic descent into Llanfairfechan. Its a brilliant, super fast grassy descent that is fantastic in dry conditions but gets very slippery in the wet.

After the climb out of the village we were able to follow the North Wales Path all the way back to Conwy. It was a fantastic ride with beautiful mountain and coastal views and regular sighting of the semi wild mountain ponies. Due to fading light we had to stop when we reached the car but the ride could be made even better by continuing on over to the north side of the Sychnant Pass road and riding the bridleway along conway mountain to finish with some fantastic downhill single track.

Ponies and mountain views!
Ponies and mountain views