Autumn. The best time of year to get out and explore the countryside. As the days get shorter and the temperatures drop, the landscape explodes into a rich kaleidoscope of reds, oranges and gold. The Conwy Valley has a some great vantage points that offer an abundance of colour throughout the autumn months. As the Conwy River winds its way along the wide valley, the hillsides close in to either side, thick with forests. Beautifully landscaped gardens, pretty market towns and dramatic deep river gorges. There's so much variety, without having to travel too far.

Heading inland, the first stop, and one of the best in the area for autumn colour is the stunning Bodnant Gardens. Set in 80 acres of hillside, the gardens are rich in colour during the autumn months. Explore the woodland and dells to encounter some fantastic displays. While the formal gardens look stunning at any time of the year, head downhill to the Old Mill and follow the stream along through The Dell until you reach the Skating Pond and Boat House at the Far End. Here you'll be rewarded with a fantastic display of colour.

Following the trail around the Boating Lake, you can take a stroll through the Arboretum and Yew Dell, taking in the range of colourful trees that surround you. The high point of heading back in this direction towards the main house is passing through the magnificent Acer Glade, packed full of Japanese Acers and bright with colour. It's a really stunning spot.

Leaving Bodnant Gardens, the A470 heads further up the valley following the Conwy River before arriving at the market town of Llanrwst. This is a popular spot to visit in early autumn for photographers,  the main reason being to see Tu Hwnt i'r Bont. This 15th century grade II listed building sits next to Pont Fawr at the river and is covered in Virgina Creeper, meaning that as autumn arrives the leaves turn from green to a bright red. It's a stunning effect and combined with the setting, creates a beautiful scene. Keep an eye out on local news and social media though, as it's a very short lived process of change and depending on weather conditions it can happen at any time from early September.

Heading south from Llanrwst, the landscape begins to change. The hills close in from either side and are thick with dense pine forests as you head towards the town of Betws-y-Coed. The woodland area surrounding the Conwy River south of the town is rich in autumn colour. Be sure to head to the area early, before the sun disappears behind the hills and mountains.

There are several woodland walks in the area near to the river, which offer great views of the surrounding countryside. The trail to the Fairy Glen meanders through meadows surrounded by woodland. The contrast of the bright green fields against the backdrop of trees turning to shades of brown and orange is beautiful. The best time to visit is mid to late afternoon when the sun is low in the sky, creating a beautiful golden glow over the landscape. Autumnal perfection.

As the roads snake deeper into Snowdonia and the views stretch out for miles, the contrasts of the evergreen pine forests at higher elevations against the deciduous trees lower down are even more prominent. It's a stunning area with so much open space to explore and photograph.

Where is your favourite area in the Conwy Valley for autumn colour?

Dylan Jones is a travel writer and photographer and runs the Shoot from the Trip travel blog. The site features stories and travel trips from around the globe as well as closer to home in North Wales, all complemented by high quality photography. 

 

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Bodnant Garden - National Trust
Garden
Bodnant Garden - National Trust

Bodnant Garden is one of the finest gardens in the country famous for its Spring displays, Summer rose terraces, Autumn colour and Winter Garden. Its idyllic setting above the River Conwy provides breathtaking views of the Snowdonia range.

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