Llandudno - Great Orme Summit - Happy Valley - Llandudno
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Llandudno - Marine Drive - Great Orme's Head - Great Orme Summit - Happy Valley - Llandudno
A dry ski slope, mini-golf, tram and cable car rides! On this walk I've tried to avoid the more commercial aspects of the Great Orme but they are all near at hand for those who want them.
The walk starts by skirting the base of the limestone cliffs of the Great Orme to the furthest point where our route turns away from the sea and ascends to the Great Orme's summit. As it does so it passes through the nature reserve and offers good views of the sea and the coast to the south. The descent passes close to the copper mines and then through Happy Valley, a former limestone quarry which has been transformed into an area of gardens, informal parkland and woodland with its own network of paths.
'Orme' is the Viking word for sea monster and the Great and Little Ormes are thought to have reminded early sailors of giant sea serpents. Great Orme Country Park is a Site of Special Scientific Interest owing to its limestone pavements and heathland and their plantlife. Several endangered moth and butterfly species can be seen here e.g. Silky Wave, the Grayling and the Silver Studded Blue. Seabirds nest on the cliffs – guillemots, kittiwakes, razorbills and various gulls – and although the nesting places are not visible from this route you may see individual birds coming and going. Sightings of raven, little owls, choughs, skylarks, wheatears and peregrine falcons are also possible. The country park also has several species of rare flowers, including orchids and unique varieties of cowslip and cotonester.
The Summit Complex is the old Telegraph Inn used for relaying shipping messages between Holyhead and Liverpool. It later became the Summit Hotel, the clubhouse for the Great Orme Golf Club which closed in 1939. The area which was formerly the golf course is now used for grazing sheep. During World War II the hotel became RAF Great Orme Radar Station. The disused Bishop's Quarry is prominent on the hillside opposite the summit. Numerous fossils have been found here. The rock from here was used to build the Old Bishop's Palace towards the end of the thirteenth century.
The cable car, built in 1969, has the longest aerial cableway in Britain, the lower station being just above Happy Valley. The funicular Victorian Tramway is Britain's only cable-hauled tramway and one of only three in the world. It is in two sections; passengers are obliged to change line at the halfway station where the winding gear can be seen in halfway house.
Situated near the halfway station, the copper mines are the largest Bronze Age copper mines in Europe and possibly the oldest in the world. Excavations of the oldest opencast part of the mines can be viewed; these were mined over 4,000 years ago. Mining operations appear to have ceased after the Bronze Age and resumed in the seventeenth century, only to decline again in the 1860s.
Wales - North Wales - Conwy - Coast
Birds, Butterflies, Cafe, Flowers, Gift Shop, Good for Kids, Great Views, Industrial Archaeology, Play Area, Pub, Public Transport, Sea, Toilets, Wildlife
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