Wales Coast Path: Llwyngwril to Tywyn

30th August 2018 – 7.8 miles

Written up 10 months later …

We packed up the tent and drove down to Llwyngwril where we parked close to the station. Back in the village, we had another good look at the knitting.

Once again, we headed steeply uphill out of the village, but then stayed fairly level on the ridge, following the coast, past fields of sheep and ruined farmhouses. There was one rather scary moment when the path dog-legged a hundred metres down a narrow lane. I heard a motor so moved into the edge (a steep bank) – a good job I did as the farmer sped past, not slowing down at all, with inches to spare!

As we reached a country lane, we met another walker – the first person we had seen today. She said the next bit was “awful” – although with hindsight, we don’t know what she was talking about! Quite a bit of road to come, but not “awful”.

The road itself was bit dull, following the railway line and the coast, but with great views inland towards Cader Idris.

A new footbridge took us over the sea inlet of the Aber Dysynni north of Tywyn. We then hurried in to town, with one eye on the railway, getting to the station with a good 10-15 minutes to spare before our train to take us back to Llwyngwril (we had to try saying it again!).

A shorter walk today, followed by the drive home.

Advertisements

Wales Coast Path: Llwyngwril to Dyffryn Ardudwy

WCP Llwyngwril to Dyffryn Arddwdy-429th August 2018 – 17.4 miles

Written up over ten months later …

We looked up the train times and caught the train south from our campsite – they only come every two hours. It was surprisingly busy but a lot of people got out at Barmouth. I have to say we weren’t looking forward to asking for tickets to Llwyngwril, but the conductor understood where we meant!

It was a lovely little village that had obviously had some sort of charity yarn-bombing event and we spent a while wandering round looking at the knitting before heading up a steep road and track. Once we were up, we followed the rough road along the ridge of the hill with standing stones and cairns dotted about, and amazing views across the bay looking back towards the hills of the Llyn Peninsula.

We headed downhill, through a forest with little waterfalls rushing past, ending up passing old quarry workings. WCP Llwyngwril to Dyffryn Arddwdy-12

We reached the main road into Fairbourne, then walked along the promenade with the Fairbourne Light Railway running alongside. WCP Llwyngwril to Dyffryn Arddwdy-7The route then turned inland around the edge of a coastal wetland to reach the Barmouth bridge, one mile long across the Mawddach Estuary. There is a wooden footbridge running next to the railway track. There were quite a few people walking and cycling across. It is no longer a toll bridge and the toll house has become a troll house! We treated ourselves to an ice-cream in a very popular ice-cream parlour, and had a rest before heading onwards.

We followed the promenade north out of Barmouth before cutting uphill to the main road which we had to follow for over two miles. It seemed rather long and boring, although we had clear views down to the coast a short way below us.

It was a relief to head off the main road and cross fields, even if many of them were caravan and holiday sites. It was quite tricky at one point where we used the main road to cross a bridge. The route was meant to head back along the bank of a small river, but went through a caravan site and was barely marked. It always seems silly to me not to make a path clear to stop walkers wandering round your site! Anyhow, we kept to the right direction and found our way out. It just then seemed a bit of a trudge back to the campsite – a long day’s walking!WCP Llwyngwril to Dyffryn Ardudwy

Wales Coast Path – Harlech to Dyffryn Ardudwy

WCP Harlech Dyffryn-4

28 August 2018 – 11.7 miles

I’ve left this such a long time to write up! I hope the photos and map will bring back the memories …

We’d spent the Bank Holiday weekend at Shrewsbury Folk Festival and stayed overnight on the Monday ready to head into Wales on the Tuesday morning. We had the option of catching a train one way and walking the other but, as we had not long missed a train when we got to Harlech, we started to walk south. We parked on the road, very near the castle and station, then straight down a road to the dunes and beach. It was a bit dull and cool, but great views across the bay. WCP Harlech Dyffryn-2

At the end of the beach, there was a fairly steep climb across the railway and up to the road, where we had to walk for about a mile before coming to a small car park at Llandanwg and St Tanwg’s church, a tiny chapel, known as the Church in the Sands. The building itself is possibly 13th century, but there seems to have been a church or chapel here since the 5th or 6th century. The ancient churches and religious sites, and seeing connections between them all, are a fascinating part of this walk.

We then walked across rough grass towards the estuary of the River Artro. We knew we weren’t on a waymarked path but didn’t think it mattered until we reached the river and found a large muddy inlet in our way, so we retraced our steps a short way to find a bridge!WCP Harlech Dyffryn-6

We reached a station at Llanbedr, but it seemed a bit too early to return so we carried on. There was quite a long, dull stretch of straight road leading out to Llanbedr airfield and then on to Shell Island. It was a bit better when we got to the pedestrian causeway, but even that was long, straight and tarmaced. It is many years since we have been here, and it was different to how I remembered. There were a good number of campers here, dotted around open spaces and in the woods. The Coast Path route seems to do a hairpin north then south here, so we just cut across a sand dune.WCP Harlech Dyffryn-8

There was then a long walk along the beach, again with great views north to the Llyn peninsula and south towards Barmouth, before we reached the route inland towards Dyffryn Ardudwy, across a nature reserve and past caravan and holiday sites. We ahd a bit of a wait at the station, but got the train back to our car at Harlech, then drove down to Dyffryn Ardudwy and our campsite for the next few days.

WCP Harlech Dyffryn-10WCP Harlech to Dyffryn Ardudwy

Wales Coast Path – Holyhead to Trearddur Bay

Holyhead Trearddur-515th July 2018 – 14.4 miles

We parked on the roadside, just outside Trearddur Bay, and decided to get the boring part of the walk over first so followed the road to Holyhead for about an hour. From here it wasn’t too far to get to the promenade along the harbour and marina, then offroad around the headland to Breakwater Country Park. We passed a rather grand hotel that had been burned out (this seems to become a familiar theme).Holyhead Trearddur-2

We stopped for lunch at Breakwater Country Park, by one of the lakes, then began to walk around the headland towards North Stack. We stayed high, and didn’t go down to the lighthouse as we had done this about 3 months earlier. Heading up Holyhead Mountain, South Stack came into view. There are a lot of paths up here and it wasn’t too clear which one was the coast path, but we seem to have got it right.

We stopped for an ice-cream at South Stack visitor centre, and had a look at the birds on the cliffs – I think they are guillemots.

There was a short bit of road walking, then it was back to headlands, around South Stack Cliffs, an unfamiliar area. It was a very scenic, but we did begin to tire of going around headlands when we could have cut straight across (we didn’t give in to temptation though!).

There was this amazing bit of grass growing on a cliff side. At first I thought it was a created sculpture or something. Holyhead Trearddur-10

The last part was on and off the road, with short detours round more, smaller headlands, back to Trearddur Bay.

Wales Coast Path: Llanfachraeth to Holyhead

WCP Llanfachraeth Holyhead-914th July 2018 – 13.3 miles

We camped at Church Bay again, and drove to the car park at Penrhos Country Park so we could do a figure-of-8 walk. We started by crossing Stanley Embankment, the causeway between Holy Island and the mainland of Anglesey. There was a fair amount of traffic, but a good pavement for walkers and cyclists, and the railway was hidden from the road by a wall. There was a very impressive point in the middle of the causeway where a large gap lets the tidal waters through. I don’t think the photos give a good impression of the size though.

It was a little unclear at the end as to which way the path went, but, as it was low tide, we went along the beach until the path led up to the road leading out of the village of Valley. Further on the coast was private, and clearly signposted so, which just meant we cut off the headland before reaching the banks of the Alaw. The path was pretty good, with some parts raised above the inlets and muddy flats of the river. We crossed the footbridge, which had been our stopping point on the previous leg, and headed back towards Valley.

We followed the path through the village, as the tide had now come in, and crossed back over the embankment for part 2, stopping first for refreshments at the old toll house cafe. They also filled up our water bottles for us (we hadn’t packed the drinks bladders and it is a heatwave!)WCP Llanfachraeth Holyhead-10

The path then took us around a coastal headland, part of the country park, past a pet cemetery to the old battery, built during the Napoleonic wars.

We followed a popular path around Penrhos beach, with constant views of the chimney of the aluminium works which had been in sight for much of the day. There seemed to be rather a long walk on the not-very-interesting outskirts of Holyhead, then past the ferry port (not very clearly signposted!) and over pedestrian walkways to the town centre.  WCP Llanfachraeth Holyhead-18We had an ice lolly in the churchyard, which is also the start of the Isle of Anglesey coast path (not identical to the Wales Coast Path route in places), before returning.

On the return route, we did not follow the coast, but went along the cycle route on the inland edge of the country park. WCP Llanfachraeth to Holyhead

Wales Coast Path: Church Bay to Llanfachraeth

WCP Church Bay to Llanfachraeth-410th June 2018 – 14.9 miles

We packed up the tent and left the car packed at the campsite in Church Bay then headed the few hundred yards to the path. It was another very hot day with views of blue sea and sky. However, it was pretty hazy in the distance and we could not see the port in Holyhead clearly, although it felt as if we could hear it from a long way off (machine and engine noise). WCP Church Bay to Llanfachraeth-3

It was a nice walk along the cliffs, with a good number of little sandy bays, which I suspect aren’t as hidden and unknown as they looked, early on a Sunday morning!Porth Tyddyn Uchaf

We then came to a large campsite, spread across the headland. This is where the GPS eventually came into use as, looking back, we went around three sides of a rectangle instead of straight across! Nobody said anything though. We stopped for lunch once we got out of the campsite and the access road, on the edge of a bay looking right across to Holyhead. The mist had not lifted at all, despite the warmth of the day.WCP Church Bay to Llanfachraeth-7

Shortly after this, we had to walk along the beach, and here the mist was quite thick and eerie. WCP Church Bay to Llanfachraeth-9

We kept a look-out for the path heading inland, but still managed to miss it by quite some way. Once we found it we realised that it was not easy to see from the beach – you had to head onto the path to see the waymarker.

Heading inland, we passed a ruined farm building and had to find our way across some rather rough ground before the path became more obvious. The path follows the Alaw river, meandering with mudflats. We met a man with a metal detector who told us there had once been a settlement there and he had recently found a silver 19th century florin, worth several hundred pounds!

Further up the river there is a new bridge to take the coast path across. On our map it headed quite a way inland, and was not terribly clear which route it took. We decided to make this our turn-around point and headed into the village for an ice cream, then returned to Church Bay along the roads. WCP Church Bay to Llanfachraeth-13I didn’t take many photos as I was really hot and fed up on the return route, and put my camera away! Back at Church Bay, however, the cafe offered us coffee and cake, and I took a photo of the local buzzard sitting outside.WCP Church Bay to Llanfachraeth-14WCP Church Bay to Llanfachraeth

Wales Coast Path: Church Bay to Cemaes Bay

Ynys y Fydlyn9th June 2018- 18.2 miles

We camped at Church Bay and only had to walk 100 metres down the lane to pick up the Coast Path. This led up over the cliffs heading north. For once, the thrift or sea pink was in bloom. So often, we walk along coastal paths a bit later in summer when the flowering is over.WCP Church to Cemaes

It was a hot, sunny day with blue sea and sky. There were clear views across to the lighthouse on the Skerries. A few months ago, we were near Holyhead with friends and trying to decide if this was a ship or an island on the horizon. It did look as if it was floating above the sea today!WCP Church to Cemaes-2

Despite being warm and relatively dry underfoot, we still came to a very muddy patch – probably a stream in wetter weather – where Robby lost the end of his trekking pole!WCP Church to Cemaes-3

We were glad to be here in summer and to be able to continue around the headland. It would be quite a long and dull diversion in winter, I imagine. There were some strange structures on the headland, which seemed to have no obvious purpose. We thought they must be for navigation, and later learned we were correct, and they are the White Ladies seamarks, pointing to a group of rocks offshore.

 

We continued heading east along rolling fields above cliffs until we got to Cemlyn Bay. There were quite a few more people here. We had been here before on a shorter walk. It seemed a long walk across the shingle spit. The nesting terns were in evidence but they mostly seemed to be staying on the lake.

 

We then came to a little bay with a watermill, which I remembered as an idyllic spot from our previous visit.WCP Church to Cemaes-12

The whole character then changes as we approached Wylfa Power Station. This had been looming in the distance for a while. The path to it was well marked and laid out off the road. I was quite surprised to find we actually had to walk up to the power station itself, and then head off over the hill – this part was not well marked, surprisingly, as I thought they would want walkers to know the way and not be wandering around lost!WCP Church to Cemaes-10

I was a bit tempted to cut off the loop that the path takes around the headland, but we didn’t! From there, it was not far into Cemaes Bay. We had half-hoped to be able to catch a bus back, although we weren’t sure of the route it took, but there would be a wait of several hours for the next one. We spoke of getting a taxi, but someone said there wouldn’t be any (although I am sure we could have rung for one). We decided to walk back along the road, and then the lanes, which wasn’t too bad, and we were back sooner than waiting for the bus! We had dinner at the Lobster Pot, which is another good reason for staying in Church Bay!WCP Church to Cemaes-11WCP Church Bay to Cemaes Bay