[Llandudno HOME]  [Pen-y-Pass]  [Llanberis Pass]  [Bodnant]  [Great Orme]  [Caernarfon]  [Public Transport[Excursions]  [Links]

Through the Conwy & Lledr Valleys
to Blaenau Ffestiniog & Porthmadog

Part 2 - Betws-y-coed  [Part 1 - The Conwy Valley]  [Part 3 - The Lledr Valley]  [Part 4 - Vale of Ffestiniog]

Betws-y-coed is a village in the Conwy valley in the county borough of Conwy, North Wales. It lies in the Snowdonia National Park in the valley near the point where the River Conwy is joined by the River Llugwy and the River Lledr. The name Betws-y-coed means Prayer house in the wood. The village was founded around this little church, possibly a monastery, in the late sixth century.   In 1815, the Waterloo Bridge built by Thomas Telford to carry A5 road across the River Conwy and through the village brought considerable development. The village became an important road junction and coach centre on Telford's new road from Llangollen and Corwen (in the east) to Capel Curig and Bangor (in the west) on the Irish Mail route from London to Holyhead. This led to the improvement of the roads south to Dolwyddelan and Blaenau Ffestiniog and north to Llanrwst and Conwy.

Braving the cold waters of the Afon Llugwy and enjoying the sun on the falls below Pont-y-Pair,
the bridge at the approach to Betws-y-coed on the B5106 road from Conwy via Trefriw.

A roadside waterfall on the A470 from Llandudno and Llanrwst just before it joins
the A5 from London, Llangollen and Corwen.

The old coaching inn on the A5 just before its junction with the A470 to Llanrwst and Llandudno.  Before the erection of the Waterloo Bridge in 1815, the mail coaches had to travel via Llanrwst and the B5106 road south from there to Betws-y-coed and onwards to Capel Curig and Bangor. This inn on the outskirts of the village is the first of several coaching inns clustered here at Betws-y-coed on the famous A5 road.

The bridge in celebration of victory at the battle of Waterloo and built by Telford in cast iron,
one of the earliest such bridges.

The River Conwy looking northwards from the Waterloo Bridge.

Footbridge over the Afon Conwy near the venerable old church of St Michael:

St Michael's and its ancient churchyard, almost certainly the site of the
Prayer house in the wood that gives Betws-y-coed its name, are cared for by a local charitable trust. Nearby is the Betws-y-coed railway museum and the station:

The extensive station buildings built in 1868 at Betws-y-coed on the Conwy Valley line have been attractively developed as shops, cafés and restaurants accessed from the station forecourt and carparks. The main street of Betws-y-coed is famous for its fine hotels and several excellent Welsh woollen and tapestry and outdoor sportswear shops.  Across the line in the former goods yards is the Conwy Valley Railway Museum.

The museum has mainline railway exhibits (lunch and tea available in the dining car)
and an extensive miniature railway.

The Museum is reached by this footbridge from the station platform
or from its own carpark near St Michael's Church.

The miniature railway operates a variety of steam and diesel engines and gives adults and children
 a delightful ride round the museum and through a wooded park.

The Betws-y-coed station forecourt is also the starting point for several bus services including services to Penmachno, Pentrefolas, Corwen, Llangollen, Dolwyddelan and Blaenau Ffestiniog together with the famous Sherpa bus services via the Swallow Falls, Capel Curig and the Snowdonia mountain passes to Pen-y-Pass, Beddgelert, Porthmadog, Llanberis, Caernarfon, Bethesda and Bangor.

The Swallow Falls between Betws-y-coed and Capel Curig.

Here in the delightful Snowdonia village of Capel Curig (about four miles from Betws-y-coed), near the junction of the Nant Ffrancon and the Pen-y-Gwryd roads is an ancient church Eglwys Santes Julitta now in the care of a local charitable trust. In pre-Norman times the dedication of this church was probably to Saint Curig, a Welsh Bishop of the 6th Century. Later the name became Latinised to Cyriacus and identified with Saint Cyricus who with his mother Saint Julitta was martyred at Tarsus c304 AD. Probably known by the end of the 12th century as Saints Cyricus and Julitta, it later became known just as Saint Julitta.

Tryfan near Ogwen in the Nant Ffrancon Pass on the A5 road to Bethesda and Bangor.

NEXT  [Part 3 - The Lledr Valley]  [Part 4 - Vale of Ffestiniog]

Photographs © 2004/7 by Noel Walley.  Updated January 2009.

Email: Webmaster

Conwy & North Wales