Know before you go
Parking informationPark on the promenade and walk up to the public footpath entrance.
Grazing animalsSheep, autumn and winter.
Uneven paths, steep in places. Part of North Wales Coastal path.
Rhiwledyn is a steep site with strenuous climbs which become very slippery when wet – appropriate footwear is advisable. Please be aware of the hazards associated with cliffs, including falling rocks and sudden drop-offs.
When to visit
Opening timesOpen at all times
Best time to visitLate Spring and Summer
About the reserve
Overlooking Llandudno and the Irish Sea, a visit to this limestone-rich reserve brings opportunities to experience the wildlife of land and sea together. Gorse and blackthorn flowers provide a beautiful yellow-and-white backdrop to any springtime visit, whilst sheltering our smaller birds, building nests and raising chicks inside their prickly branches. As spring turns to summer, the wildflowers that fill the grassland also provide a riot of colour: bright yellow common rock-rose joins the pinks and purples of wild thyme, pyramidal orchids and common spotted-orchids. Rabbits, emerging tentatively from their networks of tunnels, supply a constant grazing regime – helping to keep the grass short and perfect for wildflowers. Sparrowhawk, peregrine and kestrel are all seen hunting over the site – it’s little wonder the rabbits are careful! As you climb higher, the sound of seabirds becomes clearer, with the familiar sound of herring gulls combining with the more unusual cackling of fulmars nesting on the cliffs below.
Sheep graze the site in autumn and winter, helping to keep soil nitrogen levels low and reduce competition between wildflowers and scrub or large grasses in the summer. Whilst the scrub here is varied and important (made up of gorse, blackthorn, holly, juniper and privet, it provides shelter and food for lots of nesting birds), its spread is controlled to prevent it overtaking the grassland areas and it is trimmed and rotationally cut to maintain a diverse age structure. Non-native species, particularly cotoneaster, are monitored and removed.
Did you know?
The rocky outcrop on which Rhiwledyn sits is formed from coral and other sea creatures that lived in tropical seas over 320 million years ago. Layers of their remains, built up over time, covered the sea floor and fossilised, forming the calcium-rich limestone you can see today.
Rhiwledyn is located approximately 2 miles East of Llandudno, on the Little Orme. From Junction 20 of the A55, take the B5115 towards Rhos-on-Sea/ Penrhyn Bay. As you approach Llandudno, look for the Craigside Inn on the Left – there is some limited parking available for reserve visitors in the upper car park (SH 812 821). To get to the reserve, cross the road with care and walk Right for about 150m along road until you see the gate to the public footpath and prominent interpretation panel (SH 813 821).