Know before you go
Parking informationApproaching Llandudno on the A470, turn R for Esgyrn at the first roundabout and take successive R turns onto Esgyryn Road, Pydew Road and Bryn Pydew Road. The lay-by parking and entrance to the reserve is approximately a mile further on (SH 818 798).
Paths through woodland, steep in places
The limestone outcrops and pavements are great places to explore. However, they are full of holes and can be slippery when wet – be very careful not to twist an ankle.
When to visit
Opening timesOpen at all times
Best time to visitSpring and summer
About the reserve
On a busy summer’s day, the hustle and bustle of life at Bryn Pydew re-creates the industrial toil of the site’s former function as a limestone quarry. Limestone pavements punctuated with lush green ferns taper down into grassland filled with flowers (including plenty of orchids) and gorse scrub, which then gives way to ash and yew woodland. This variety of habitats in such a small geographical area supports a wealth of plant life, which in turn ensures that the site is home to a huge variety of invertebrates: over 20 species of butterfly and 500+ species of moth have been recorded here. On warm, dark nights in mid-summer, you might be lucky enough to see the green glimmering of glow-worms, whose larvae feed on the abundant snails!
The areas of open limestone pavement are kept clear of non-native species like cotoneaster and evergreen oak. Left unchecked, they would damage the pavement itself and come to dominate the plant assemblage. The grassland is cut and cleared in autumn to mimic the action of grazing animals, keeping it in good condition for the following year’s wildflowers.
Did you know?
Limestone pavement is formed by a combination of chemical weathering and erosion. As special geological features, they have their own terminology: clints are the blocks of limestone that form the pavement; pits and hollows called karren cover their surface. Grykes are the deep cracks that separate the clints – they can be well over a metre in depth.