Deganwy sits on the banks of the River Conwy, in Conwy County, North Wales. The village sits in a perfect location between the seaside holiday resort of Llandudno, and the ancient walled town of Conwy. To this day Conwy Castle and walled town dominate the view from Deganwy. The Castle and the estuary with the backdrop of the foothills of Snowdonia offer fantastic views. Deganwy beach is a part of this beautiful landscape and being one of the few southwesterly facing beaches on the North Wales coast is appreciated as a suntrap.
Deganwy is a Welsh town in the county borough of Conwy that owes much of its history to a series of English invasions. The hill behind the town, known as the Vardre, has two rocky summits that were once home to fortifications including Deganwy Castle (Degannwy). Maelgwn Gwynedd or Maelgwyn the King of Gwynedd, one of the most powerful of the Kings of Britain in the 6th Century, had some of the earliest fortifications on the Vardre but little remains of his stronghold.
In the 11th Century the Anglo Normans built a fortification on the Vardre which was later occupied and strengthened by the Welsh princes Llywelyn ap Iorwerth (the Great) and his grandson Llywelyn ap Gruffudd, before finally being destroyed by the Welsh as part of a scorched earth policy in answer to the latest English threat of invasion.
When the English King Edward 1 again invaded Wales in the late 13th century he built his new castle, Conwy Castle, on the opposite side of the River Conwy on a riverside site that had, in Edward's opinion, more strategic value than the Vardre.
The 20th century version of Deganwy, as a holiday resort, could be said to owe it's origins to another English invasion and the coming of the railways in the 1850's and 60's. The Victorians built the railways to satisfy the English city dwellers desire to escape to the seaside and Deganwy itself benefited from this with the building of boarding houses, hotels and an impressive Victorian gothic church.
However, the railways would also lead to the development of the docks along the riverfront. The primary use of the railways and the docks was to transport the slate that was quarried in Blaenau Ffestiniog. The railways delivered the slate, via the Conwy Valley Line, to the Deganwy docks where there were large cranes to load the slate on to ships in order to take the slate to the English cities.
Eventually the docks fell into decline and were abandoned until in the second half of the 20th Century they would be used as builders merchant's storage sheds. The holiday trade would also fall into decline with the traditional holidaymakers by passing British seaside resorts and taking their holidays on the Mediterranean.
With the dawn of the 21st Century the wheel has turned full circle and another English invasion, the yachting set and marina settlers. Depending on your point of view they have revitalised the town with a large hotel complex and marina, or ... they have blocked the views of local children who are now unable to see the wild life of the estuary from their windows!
Golfers will be spoilt for choice in Deganwy with two golf courses between Llandudno and Deganwy: Maesdu Golf Club and North Wales Golf Club. Across the river on the Conwy Morfa is the renowned Conwy Golf Course.
South of Deganwy on the banks of the River Conwy is the RSPB nature reserve with an abundance of wildlife and fantastic views of the upper Conwy Valley.
Boat Trips are available from Conwy harbour both around the estuary and up the Conwy River.
Walks, Cycle Trails and Other Activities
There are several walks in the local area: walks across the Vardre hillside; through Conwy to Conwy Mountain and the Sychnant Pass; along the coast to Llandudno and the Great Orme; and last but not least the North Wales Coastal Path, that is soon to be extended to the “All Wales Coastal Path.”