Catch the COLOUR

Caernarfon Herald - - NEWS -

IT IS a sight that has be­come one of the most quin­tes­sen­tial au­tumn views in Wales.

And you can only catch it for a few weeks each year.

Tu Hwnt i’r Bont, a 400-year-old for­mer court­house nes­tled be­side the 15th-cen­tury bridge in Llan­r­wst, be­comes a pop­u­lar tourist at­trac­tion at this time of year not only for its idyl­lic set­ting, but be­cause of its un­usual tran­so­for­ma­tion.

The tra­di­tional Welsh tea­rooms, which is known to serve a sa­cred scone recipe, is clad in Vir­ginia Creeper, a five-leaved ivy.

It is dark green in colour through­out the spring and sum­mer months, but as the au­tumn creeps in, the leaves quickly change from green to red.

And, at this time of the year, the lit­tle old tea­room, perched across the River Conwy, gets wrapped in a blan­ket of blaz­ing red leaves start­ing from the roof all the way down to the floor.

But, if you want to catch sight of this hid­den gem, you will need to be fast be­cause, this year, it has bloomed much ear­lier than ex­pected.

Nor­mally, you can see the leaves be­gin­ning to change their colour at the end of Septem­ber but this year, the Vir­ginia Creeper peaked a lit­tle early.

Tim Mad­dox who runs the cafe, said: “Although it has just past its peak, it is still very red now so if you want to pop down with your cam­era, I’d get a move on and come quickly.”

If you want to see the Vir­ginia Creeper at its best, you should visit the café within the next cou­ple of weeks.

There is nor­mally a pe­riod of around five weeks from the day the leaves be­gin turn­ing red un­til the day they be­gin to drop off.

The leaves hold such a strong colour due to the min­er­als in the soil, which come from be­ing so close to the Conwy river bed.

It is very un­usual for Vir­ginia Creeper to turn such a ro­bust red, mak­ing Tu Hwnt i’r Bont a fa­mous tourist at­trac­tion.

Built in 1480, Tu Hwnt i’r Bont (be­yond the bridge in English) is con­sid­er­ably older than the Inigo Jones bridge it stands be­side.

Shortly af­ter it was built, it was used as the Court­house.

It was from here where the most se­ri­ous of­fend­ers would have been taken to Tan y Craig, in Llan­r­wst, where they could be hanged. out­side the gaol.

This cu­ri­ous swan took a break from ad­mir­ing the creep­ing colourful leaves in Llan­r­wst

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