Walking Our Local Patch The Great Orme In North Wales Is Good For Us

The views alone make a walk on the Great Orme so good for us, just beautiful.

We are very lucky indeed here in North Wales it is a beautiful part of the world and we live in Llandudno a beautiful town in this wonderful area. During 2020 we have spent a lot of time at home due the COVID-19 pandemic restrictions and this has given us the chance to really connect with our local surroundings. On the north side of Llandudno lays a huge limestone headland that juts out into the Irish Sea – the Great Orme. This beautiful area is a local nature reserve and supports a lot of wildlife.

Seeing Northern Wheatears passing through on their migrations always lifts the spirits.

Being unable to work, we are wildlife guides and tours are not possible during the pandemic, and confined to home for many months at a time this year has been stressful to say the very least. But wildlife and birds in particular have helped enormously to reduce the levels of stress and help to ward off depression birds really are brilliant.

Most days we have walked our “local patch” the Great Orme which at first thought might seem a bit boring but if you watch birds and wildlife that is not the case at all. By concentrating on the birds all your other worries and stress are put to one side and your brain is given a rest, so good for us all.

Seeing world famous Great Orme goats always brings a smile however bad the day has been.

So let’s take a walk on the Great Orme and see what we can see….

Our route from our front door soon has us at Llandudno Pier a wonderful Victorian structure and is often a place we can watch Ruddy Turnstones especially if the tide is high and these delightful birds roost on the rocks close to the pier. A little further along and the limestone cliffs tower above the Marine Drive and Fulmars fly back and forth above us on their stiff wings such amazing seabirds. Scanning these cliffs usually produces a sighting of the resident pair of Peregrine Falcons always a real thrill to see. With luck these magnificent birds of prey will be flying around the rock-faces and showing off their flying skills. Also a great place to look for Red-billed Chough flying for fun along the cliffs and calling loudly “cheeow” always lifts the spirts to see these aerobatic corvids, so lucky to have them resident on the headland.

A pair of Red-billed Chough wheeling over the cliffs calling - magical.

Further around a path climbs steeply up from the Marine Drive at a point where Atlantic grey seals often haul out on a beach below the cliffs they seem to have life sorted with plenty of time to relax on the beach a life lesson for all of us right there. As the path climbs steeply up we look for Stonechats as spotting one gives an excuse to stop and admire these wonderful little birds that love to perch on the top of bushes and rocks. The path then crosses sheep fields and then into an area of scrub where there are always birds to see and listen to. Robins are often here on the fence posts and perhaps a beautiful flock of Goldfinches coming down to the spring to drink. Every time there is something to see and that is the beauty of noticing birds and nature each walk becomes a new and exciting experience because we never see the same things – always different.

Spotted Flycatchers stopped off in the cemetery in May and early June lovely to see.

Taking a route through the cemetery offers new sightings again, perhaps a stoat rushing between and beneath the graves or perhaps a migrant Wheatear posing on top of an angle statue? But always rabbits and Pied Wagtails here to enjoy and the views back out to sea are beautiful. Another hill section and then the steep downhill back to home and the views are stunning on this last section. We can see across to the mountains of Snowdonia, along the North Wales coast both east and west and right over the town of Llandudno.

Great Orme Tram View 1 August

The last section of our most regular walk and still the stunning views keep coming.

Getting out regularly and exploring our “local patch” has helped our mental health enormously and enjoying the birds and wildlife has reduced stress levels a great deal, get out into nature wherever you, you will feel so much better.

Alan Davies and Ruth Miller are full time bird and wildlife guides running their own company, Birdwatching Trips, and are Leica Ambassadors. We would love you to join one of our Birdwatching Trips.

We were very lucky this Spring finding a lovely flock of eight Dotterel on the headland.

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