NEWBOROUGH BEACH/FOREST TO LLANDDWYN ISLAND WALK
Rating : Easy Circular walk. 4 miles (6.5 km). Time 2h But allow longer to enjoy the beauty of the location.
What’s the attraction ? Glorious beaches, fantastic views of Snowdonia and the Lleyn peninsula, legend of St Dwynwen, (Welsh Patron Saint of Lovers), a bit of history, plenty of geology and wildlife abounds.
Facilities : Toilets including disabled facilities are available at the Car Park.
Essentials : Take a picnic …and towels if you think the waters off the Welsh coast are warm enough for a swim. The beaches on the island are gorgeous. It is usually possible to access the “island” on foot. However at highest of tides Llanddwyn Island can actually become an island.
After a scenic drive and parking our minibus it is a short stroll to the beach, and what a beach. It stretches from Abermenai Point on the Menai Strait in the south to Llanddwyn Island in the north. And there’s more… if time permits, we can continue north past Llanddwyn Island toward Malltraeth Bay for even more spectacular sand dunes.
But Llanddwyn Island is the jewel in the crown of the west coast of Anglesey, having several beautiful coves, pleasant shingle and sandy beaches and superb views of Snowdonia and the Lleyn (Llyn) Peninsula. If you are lucky enough to visit on a warm summers day then I would strongly recommend you take along your swimming costume as you won’t find many more inviting waters than the waters off Llandwyn Island.
Llanddwyn Island itself offers several other points of interest:
Geologists and others find the rock formations fascinating, the rock outcrops at the entrance to the island are fine examples of rocks formed by pillow lava.
The island also has a long maritime history, and the small terrace (the pilot house near the headland) houses a museum of local maritime history. Indeed it is said that Prince Llywelyn who held his royal court in Newborough anchored his fleet off Abermenai Point.
Wildlife and nature buffs are also well catered for with seabirds aplenty including cormorants and oystercatchers, and waders such as turnstones and sandpipers. Large blubbery creatures can be seen waddling ashore (leaving their yachts anchored off the coves …some people just don’t have the figure for those wet suits!) while seals generally stick to the small rocky islets or can be seen heads-a-bobbing offshore.
There are two towers on the island, the larger original lighthouse, and the smaller which is a day-mark, marking the entrance to Pilot’s Cove and which now displays the light.
But Llanddwyn Island is most famous for it’s connection with Dwynwen, Santes or Saint Dwynwen, the Welsh Patron Saint of lovers, and the island is a place of pilgrimage for those unhappy in love.
Legend has it that Dwynwen, a 5th Century princess had fallen in love with a man of her choice but unfortunately, her father had other ideas and had promised her hand in marriage to another.
Torn between her true love and her filial duty Dwynwen prayed to be released from the pangs of love and to be allowed to live unmarried. Her prayers were answered and Dwynwen lived the life of a recluse on Llanddwyn Island until her eventual death in 465 A.D.
The beauty of the island must have been some consolation for St Dwynwen as her dying wish was to be carried up to watch the sunset through a cleft in the rock which still stands to the north west of the ruined church to this day (look through the north window of the chancel).
On the return walk we venture into the beautiful settings of the newbrough forest. Here there are many waypoints to read and interact with, and some fitness stations for the more energetic. Another tip is to keep an eye open for the red squirrels that inhabit the forest at Newborough Reserve. The Anglesey red squirrel population is now the second largest population of squirrels in Wales, and it is the only Welsh squirrel population that exists without grey squirrels.
Most of the year there are mobile refreshment facilities, for food and drinks set next to a BBQ area.