Rock rose and wild thyme at Rhiwledyn Rob Booth

Rock rose and wild thyme at Rhiwledyn

Rhiwledyn

Rhiwledyn ©Mark Roberts NWWT

A spectacular slice of the Little Orme, with stunning sea views and wonderful grassland wildlife.

Location

Llandudno
Conwy
LL30 3AY

OS Map Reference

SH813821
OS Explorer Map OL17
A static map of Rhiwledyn

Know before you go

Size
5 hectares

Entry fee

No

Parking information

Park on the promenade and walk up to the public footpath entrance.

Grazing animals

Sheep, autumn and winter.

Walking trails

Uneven paths, steep in places. Part of North Wales Coastal path.

Access

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.

Dogs

On a lead

When to visit

Opening times

Open at all times

Best time to visit

Late 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-grazed grassland

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.
 

Directions
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).

Contact us

Rob Booth
Contact number: 01248 351541

Environmental designation

SAC SSSI
Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI)