Little Orme

Little Orme

Route: Little Orme

Area: Llandudno, North Wales

Date of walk: 22nd September 2021

Walkers: Andrew and Gilly

Distance: 3.6 miles

Ascent: 700 feet

Weather: Sunny

Earlier in the week we’d walked around Great Orme, a limestone headland on the west side of Llandudno Bay, or Ormes Bay. We decided today to visit the headland on the east side of the bay – Little Orme, or Rhiwledyn. The area is part of a band of fossil-rich limestone stretching along the North Wales coast, and the white rocks date back 320 million years. Unlike its big cousin, the Little Orme is untouched by tourism and is now an SSSI known as ‘Rhiwled’ and is managed by the North Wales Wildlife Trust 

Thanks to the geography of the area it’s not possible to park near the entrance to the reserve and the walk must be started from the end of the promenade in Llandudno Bay where there is free roadside parking. Having secured a spot, we set off towards the cliffs of Little Orme, easily seen from the start at the far end of the stony beach

The roadside approach (and return) is in truth rather tedious, but is best regarded as the price of admission to this place – a price which is well worth paying. Just beyond a Premier Inn, a gate on the left affords access to Little Orme. We turned right here and started the ascent to the prominent white trig point, from where there are huge views along the coastline, with Llandudno Bay looking west and Colwyn Bay to the east

From the trig point we could see a limestone cairn on a second summit, and descended to a saddle before climbing to its top. More outstanding views greeted us here. We then descended to rejoin the Wales Coast Path and passed above a sheer quarry edge before dropping down to the popular viewpoint above Angel Bay. This is a good place to spot Atlantic grey seals, especially during the breeding season which is from September to December. We stayed here for a while and enjoyed some good sightings. It’s important to respect the warning signs and to watch quietly from the cliffs, and not to descend to the bay itself. To do so could cause seal pups to be abandoned

After that enjoyable interlude we followed the Wales Coast Path and just before a housing estate we forked off a path (easily missed) and joined a lane which brought us back to the Llandudno road. The remainder of the walk was beside the road back to the start. It had been a wonderful end to a short walking holiday in North Wales

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