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Jubilee Panoramic Walk
The walk or path around approximately the 800’ contour of Y Foel Lus was opened in 1888. Originally it was to be named Foel Lus Path, but it became popularly known as Jubilee Path commemorating Queen Victoria’s Jubilee of 1887. The path on the North and East facing slopes had to be dug out of the loose scree with nothing more sophisticated than a pick and shovel by contractor Joseph Jones and two assistants. There were already tracks to the west and south to link up with and these had only be widened and tidied up. The whole contract cost the princely sum of £50 plus and extra £5 to build two pillars which mark the entrance. It took just four months to complete the work.
On June 23rd, 1888 the opening ceremony took place. The honour of cutting the ribbon did not go to the Local Board member Mr.R. Lloyd Jones who first thought of the idea, but to the wife of Colonel Stewart. The latter had formerly been a resident of the town.
The path provided and extra leisure amenity in the rapidly growing tourist town of Penmaenmawr, which had grown to popularity thanks mainly to the regular patronage of W. E. Gladstone, three times Prime Minister of the U.K.
The views from the path are truly wonderful; to the north and east magnificent coastal scenery while to the south and west the stark, rugged landscape of the northern edge of the Snowdonia National Park.
Foel Lus (llus-bilberry) is made of rhyolite a volcanic rock, and plant cover is poor on the acid soil. The vegetation is slowly recovering after almost the whole are of the hill was set on fire in 1976.
To get there from the town:
If you have a car you can park behind the library. Leaving the car park, turn right, follow the road to the left, turn second right up Groesffordd Lane and carry straight on up to Mountain Lane.
The distance from the town to the start of the Jubilee Path is about 1 ¼ miles and is a steep walk.
These were started in 1830 and were originally quarried for the production of road setts. Now production is mainly railway ballast and dust for concrete making. The old workings on the left have recently been landscaped.
Town of Penmaenmawr:
In the distance is Penmaenan the village in which the quarrymen lived.
Above the railway station is Pantyrafon, the shopping arcade
developed from 1850 for tourists.
Anglesey and Puffin Island:
The original name of the latter is Ynys Seiriol, after a monk who lived there in the 6th century. He also had a hermitage on the slopes of Penmaenmawr.
Mining levels – pre 1914:
If permission had been granted to quarry here this beautiful hill would no longer exist.
Llys Helyg and Trwyn-yr-Wylfa:
At low tide rocks appear which are said to be foundations of a
palace belonging to a wicked prince named Helyg.
His wickedness was punished by the sea drowning all his land (Conwy Bay)
and destroying his palace. Helyg and his family supposedly
ran for safety to a nearby hill Trwyn-yr-Wylfa.
Isle of Man:
The island can be seen on the horizon especially in spring and autumn.
This is really the name of the parish contained between the two headlands but lately used to refer to this eastern end only. Most of the housing development dates from 1930’s.
The headland has recently been pierced by a second road tunnel which forms the A55.
Down the centre can be seen the old pack horse trail which continues
down the valley to the Parish church. The present road was opened in
1722 as part of the new turnpike road from Conwy to Bangor.
Known as Yr Hen Bentre (Old Village) but only dating from 1770. It developed around three inns which were built when the new Sychnant road was opened.
A group of pine trees where the river Afon Gyrach descends rapidly from moors to lowlands. Known since Victorian times as Fairy Glen – original name Nant Daear Lwynog (Glen of the Fox’s Den).
The Rock of the Bishop- refers to the Bishop of Bangor to whom this ridge once belonged.
Llyn y Wrach:
The gap in the ridge called Llyn y Wrach – Lake of the witch – but wrach is probably a corruption of the word Gyrach – the stream at the bottom of the valley – gyrach mean marsh or bog.
Cefn Llechen – Waen Gyrach:
In the middle ages the now bracken covered slope was divided into long narrow fields or strips. The fields can be seen clearly in shadow when the sun is low.
In the 18th century squatters cleared an area and built the homestead of Ffridd-y-Foel. The nearby property, Bwthyn Llwyd is modern.
The track which leads to Ty’n-y-Ffrith farm and onto Tal-y-Fan also led to the areas of ‘turbary’- peat bogs – the source of fuel for the farmer and peasants up to the last century.
(The Rock of the White Summer House) This refers to the ancient practice of families moving into the uplands with their stock in the summer months.
The slopes of this quarried hill are the site of a Neolithic stone axe factory.
Axes made here 5,000 years ago have been found all over Britain.
On the skyline can be seen the outline of some of the boulders which make up Meini Hirion a bronze age stone circle.
(Research by D.J. Roberts, Penmaenmawr Historical Society.