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The falls from the viewing platform
Conwy Falls after heavy rain

Conwy Falls (Welsh: Rhaeadr y Graig Lwyd) is a waterfall on the River Conwy at Bro Garmon in Conwy County Borough in Wales. The falls and surrounding area are a Site of Special Scientific Interest.[1] The nearby cafe, adjacent to the A5, is an interesting example of the work of the Welsh architect Clough Williams-Ellis, of Portmeirion fame.[2]

The falls, woodland and wildlife[edit]

The falls are located in the last gorge section of the river Conwy at a point where it plunges 50 feet (15 m) into a deep pool.[3] The falls are accessible via natural paths through the preserved woodland of the SSSI. Polecats and other wild animals, including 32 species of bird, inhabit the surrounding woodlands, which extend to approximately 9.5 acres (38,000 m2).[4]

Salmon ladder[edit]

The River Conwy is a salmon river, and there are two salmon ladders at the falls. One is a disused Victorian wooden ladder that was destroyed by a storm soon after being built, and incorporating steps hewn into the rock. The second is a modern ladder, built in 1993 at a cost of nearly £1m, which can detect and count every fish that enters.[5] This ladder—not visible to the public—consists of some 30 pools set in a zig-zag pattern within a piped tunnel.[6]

There is a water gauging station at the Falls, measuring the flow into the fish pass. When low levels are detected, the flow is diverted over the falls, rather than through the pass, to ensure that flora in the gorge is protected.[7]

The cafe building[edit]

The first cafe at the falls was simply a wooden hut.[8] In 1938 the Welsh architect Clough Williams-Ellis was consulted with regard to the design of a new building, the original design being for a building perched on the rocks above the falls, but this was never built. The current building dates from the 1950s and, although rather different from Williams-Ellis' design (drawings of which are displayed in the cafe's main room[8]), is nevertheless an excellent example of his style, the cafe being "provided with a pediment in the Georgian style and an open loggia on the upper level."[9]


  1. ^ Sayer, Zoe; Rebecca Terry (2006). All Terrain Pushchair Walks in Snowdonia. Sigma Press, p. 59.
  2. ^ Clough Williams-Ellis, by Richard Haslam & Clough Williams-Ellis, published by Academy Editions, 1996
  3. ^ RoughGuides.com - Conwy Falls
  4. ^ BritainExpress.com - Conwy Falls
  5. ^ Conwy Falls - the salmon ladder
  6. ^ New Scientist - Technology: The fish ladder with a twist
  7. ^ Environment Agency - Conwy Catchment Abstraction Management Strategy, April 2004
  8. ^ a b Conwy Falls cafe - History
  9. ^ Clough Williams-Ellis: The architect of Portmeirion : A memoir, by Jonah Jones, published by Seren, 1996
  • Conwy Falls fish pass tunnel, R.Byles, from International Journal of Rock Mechanics and Mining Sciences and Geomechanics Abstracts, Volume 32, Number 4, June 1995, pp. 189A–189A

External links[edit]

Coordinates: 53°03′55″N 3°46′45″W / 53.0652°N 3.7791°W / 53.0652; -3.7791

Original courtesy of Wikipedia: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Conwy_Falls — Please support Wikipedia.
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40 news items

BBC News

BBC News
Wed, 04 Nov 2015 08:18:45 -0800

Sian Williams, from NRW, said: "The River Conwy is an important natural asset for the area and we'll be conducting a thorough assessment of the proposals before we decide whether to allow it to go ahead." The consultation on the Conwy Falls project ...

Daily Post North Wales

Daily Post North Wales
Thu, 29 Oct 2015 22:03:27 -0700

The plans submitted to the Snowdonia National Park Planning Authority for the weir near Fairy Glen and Conwy Falls impinge on sites of special scientific interest (SSSI). More than 1,000 people have signed an online petition opposing the venture. Mr ...

Daily Post North Wales

Daily Post North Wales
Tue, 19 May 2015 03:17:04 -0700

RWE Innogy UK wants to generate 4.5MW of “green” energy - enough to meet the needs of 3,200 houses - at its Conwy Falls project near Betws y Coed. Snowdonia National Park Authority (SNPA) will decide whether to grant planning consent. A number of ...


Mon, 21 Oct 2013 04:09:51 -0700

The pair, described as experienced paddlers, were on the River Conwy yesterday when they overshot a safe exit point and ended up in a steep gorge at the Conwy Falls. The men, one in his late 20s the other in his early 30s and from mid- and south Wales, ...


Fri, 16 Oct 2015 05:40:45 -0700

Controversial proposals for a hydro electric power station at Betws-y-Coed's iconic Fairy Glen are set to get the green light. The plans would see a 25m wide and 1.2m high weir or dam built above Conwy Falls for the station. Environmental group the ...

Norfolk Eastern Daily Press

Norfolk Eastern Daily Press
Fri, 31 Jul 2015 23:22:30 -0700

Sean Laxen, nine, from Horsford, died in August 2007 after he fell into water after slipping on rocks at Conwy Falls in the Welsh town of Betws-y-Coed. An inquest in 2008 heard how Sean had slipped on rocks at the water's edge and drowned. Coroner John ...


Tue, 19 May 2015 16:48:45 -0700

... to be the world's longest subterranean attraction with three miles (five kilometers) of track, including a bloodcurdling 21-meter freefall. Zip Below Xtreme, Conwy Falls Caf, A5 (Pentrefoelas Road), Betws-y-coed, Snowdonia, Wales, UK; +44 016 9071 ...

South China Morning Post (subscription)

South China Morning Post (subscription)
Thu, 10 Sep 2015 23:53:36 -0700

There's also the bizarre Go Below, at Conwy Falls, where you can zip line in an underground cavern. There, you can also climb a vertical shaft in one of the largest abandoned slate mines in the world, traverse an underground abyss, scale a subterranean ...

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