There are good family walks based around the Sychnant Pass, a road route from the Conwy Valley to the plain between the two headlands that contains the town of Pen Maen Mawr. The Romans did not bother with this route as it would have taken them over the narrow strip of sand beneath the headland of Pen Maen Mawr [Big Stone Hill] which would be ideal for an ambush by the Britons,who would have found many a boulder to roll down onto the Romans. The route to Aber would have been the safer of the two. So the road up the Sychnant had to wait until the days of the mail coaches when it provided a better coach route than the tidal sands of Morfa Conwy.
The Sychnant gives access to several low hills: Conwy Mountain [Myndd yr Dref, Citadel Hill] Pen Maen Bach [Little Stone Hill] and Allt Wen [Fair Hill.] Pen Maen Bach is denuded rock, but Allt Wen is still well-vegetated. There are a few small stone circles in the vicinity known as Druid's circles. but this is a misnomer, as the cultus of stone circles antedates the druids by centuries, as it goes back to the Neolithic and Bronze Ages, whereas the druids were an Iron Age cultus of the oak. Still, they are worth a visit for their atmosphere.
Sadly, access to the privately owned Fairy Glen is now so difficult that I cannot recommend it as an attraction,even though I thoroughly enjoy the dancing of the exuberant stream through the enchanting woodland. But the area has good facilities for eating and drinking, so walks can culminate well.
One hill is Foel Lus. Foel is a mutated form of moel, which means bare hill. I cannot find a meaning for lus. It stands above the town like a huge pyramid with scree slopes. There is a route from the Sychnant over boggy ground, but at eighteen years old I ascended the slope directly. Scrambling up the steep slope was great fun. I took the opportunity to walk over to the slightly higher Craig Hafod Wen, which is a bit further from the town. This name means "The Crag of the Fair Farmstead."A hafod was a summer residence used in transhumance farming, the movement of animals from lower winter pastures to higher summer grazing.
It was on that walk that I was buzzed in a friendly way from a height by the mountain rescue helicopter. I had sat down on the slopes of Craig Hafodwen when the pilot must have seen my motionless figure, so suspecting a casualty he turned to investigate. In these circumstances DO NOT WAVE, as this makes the pilot think that you are seeking help. I just stood up and walked around. This was far preferable to what happened years later when a group of us were buzzed by a jet fighter, probably on a photo-bombing practise. That was scary, and I knew then the truth that my father told me, a fighter comes at you before you can respond. But he knew from grim experience!