Discover nature walk at Penrhyn

Penrhyn Castle, Bangor

Route details and mapDownload as a print friendly PDF
The Penrhyn oak trees are full of life © Penrhyn Castle

The Penrhyn oak trees are full of life

Looking for the fungus den © Arnhel de Serra

Looking for the fungus den

Colourful and vibrant water lillies decorate the walled garden © National Trust

Colourful and vibrant water lillies decorate the walled garden

Be careful where you put your feet - you might disturb a slow worm © Simon Garner

Be careful where you put your feet - you might disturb a slow worm

Daffodils at Penrhyn castle in the spring © National Trust

Daffodils at Penrhyn castle in the spring

Route overview

Explore the lesser known parts of the castle grounds, seeing how we encourage wildlife.

Route details

See this step-by-step route marked on a map

Map showing the route for the Discover Nature trail at Penrhyn, Gwynedd
  • Directions
  • Route
  • Bus stop
  • Parking
  • Toilet
  • Viewpoint

Start: Penrhyn Castle car park, grid ref: SH603717

  1. Leave the car park and head through a stand of mature and semi-mature oak trees. In spring you'll walk through a sea of flowers.

    Show/HideBursting with life

    Oaks support more wildlife than other tree species. Mixed grasses and wildflowers grow beneath the trees: you might see spotted orchids, vetch and field woodrush.

    The Penrhyn oak trees are full of life © Penrhyn Castle
  2. Follow the grass path as it curves round a small mixed woodland known as the Lime Grove. Oak, lime and sweet chestnut of varying ages grow here with an under-layer of box, bay and holly. Ferns abound here.

  3. Cross over the mown walkway. Flanked by fine specimen of trees and shrubs, it's known as the Broadwalk. There's a fine view of the Castle Keep and Library Carrel from here.

  4. Walk down the Heather Slope into The Dell. The Heather Slope faces south west into the prevailing winds and several mature oak and beech trees have been uprooted here.

    Show/HideThe Fungus Den

    The Dell holds a 'fungus den' of decaying timber and a small marshy area. These provide the right conditions for parasitic fungi, beetles and other moisture-loving invertebrates to thrive.

    Looking for the fungus den © Arnhel de Serra
  5. As you cross the Old Drive, the original entrance to the Castle, pause for a moment and imagine Queen Victoria's grand entrance when she visited in the Castle's heyday. You can still see some of the original setts or cobble stones.

  6. Follow the path to the Bog Garden - a wonderland of exotic water loving plants like gunnera and reedmace. The path leads past a rustic wooden belvedere to a wooden boardwalk. Take the steps up to the Walled Garden. If you have a dog with you, by-pass the Walled Garden by heading back to the Old Drive and turning left along the yew hedge. This joins up with the path out of the Walled Garden.

  7. You can take a botanical world tour in the Walled Garden, which has plants from all over. Wander around the formal paths till you are ready to leave, then go out through the door opposite the one you entered by.

    Show/HideUpper Terrace

    The beds and ornamental ponds in the upper terrace have a wide range of habitats, especially for birds, pollinating insects and water creatures. There are lots to see in this colourful garden all the year round.

    Colourful and vibrant water lillies decorate the walled garden © National Trust
  8. Turn left on to the gravelled path through the Rhododendron Walk. In spring and early summer the rhododendrons and azaleas are a mass of scent and colour

    Show/HideSlow worms

    In spring there are massed drifts of flowering bulbs on the right hand slope, providing an ideal basking ground for slow worms on sunny days.

    Be careful where you put your feet - you might disturb a slow worm © Simon Garner
  9. Carry on along the path to a brick stable then turn right up the slope to the ruined chapel. Every castle needs a romantic ruin and this is Penrhyn's. Its setting amongst redwoods, firs and cedars add to its gothic atmosphere.

  10. Follow the path to the left under some yew trees and between the stable block and the disabled parking area. At the corner of the Castle, follow a broad grass path to the boundary fence and Fox Hollow.

  11. The path follows the fence line through the Elysian Fields with their magnificent coastal and mountain views. Remember to look right as well for an imposing view of Penrhyn Castle. The path takes you back to the car park where you started your walk.

    Show/HideFlower meadow

    This open area has drifts of bulbs in the spring and many species of wildflowers and grasses throughout the summer. Daffodils, ox-eye daisy and meadowsweet all thrive here, offering a perfect place for nectar-gathering insects.

    Daffodils at Penrhyn castle in the spring © National Trust

End: Penrhyn Castle car park, grid ref: SH603717

  • Trail: Walking
  • Grade: Easy
  • Distance: 1 mile (1.6km)
  • Time: 30 minutes
  • OS Map: Landranger 115
  • Terrain:

    Grass and gravel paths, some slight inclines, uneven surfaces and steps. Dogs on leads welcome except in the Walled Garden - alternative route available to avoid this.

  • How to get here:

    By bike: NCN Route 5 goes close by, see Sustrans for details

    By bus: Caernarvon to Llandudno route stops at entrance to Penrhyn Castle, see Traveline-Cymru for details

    By train: Nearest station Bangor, 2.5 miles (4km), see Traveline-Cymru for details. 1 mile (1.6km) walk up drive

    By car: A5122 to entrance at Llandygai. Post code LL57 4HN

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