Hermon to Dwyran – Wales Coast Path

« 1 of 2 »

Early morning sunshine and late afternoon gloom. We started this walk from a bend in the road at Hermon, taking a small side road down to the shoreline. Some wonderful houses along this stretch. Very envious of the view across the estuary – we even passed through the end of one of the Gardens. Quickly reaching Malltraeth and the marshes, we cross Afon Cefni, and head towards Newborough Forest, the largest public forest in Wales. A very popular area with the most walkers we have seen so far on any stage of the Wales Coast Path.

We are on the lookout for red squirrels, but not one did we see!

We abandoned the path and headed for the isolation of Penrhos beach, A vast expanse of golden sand, just ourselves, one man and a dog.

This time we had checked the tide tables and were able to walk directly across to Llanddwyn Island, this is such a special place. The church and well dedicated to St Dwynwen, the Welsh patron saint of lovers.

Onwards to Llanddwyn Beach, before reaching the car park and skirting the edge of the forest.

There are myriads of paths through the forest, and after I had a brief rant about signage, we didn’t access the main road at Pen Lon but detoured to Llys Rhosyr, the historical ruins linked to the Princes of Wales. Later rejoining the path at Penlon, passing a pig farm before turning right down a track leading to the stepping stones across the river Braint.

Two of the stones have moved, and are now virtually triangular so it was easier to take the shoes off and drop into the freezing cold water, than risk tumbling with camera and mobile phone into the water.

Some very muddy fields were to follow before reaching the spot at Dwyran which we had previously walked. Gratefully we made our way to the main road. The ice cold water of the river Braint had sorted out my aching feet…

Dwyran to Menai Bridge – Wales Coast Path

« 1 of 2 »

A beautiful Spring day, we access the path from the main road at Dwyran, following the yellow and green sign near a house called Llwyn Helyg. We are a bit nervous as the last time we followed a yellow and green sign rather than the Wales Coast Path signs we ended up in the bogs of mid Wales – to this day known as Bog-gate!

We refer to our guide book instructions constantly until we see the first of the WPC signs. We are finding that the Anglesey Coast Path is well signposted, which gives us confidence, to abandon the guide book and follow the signs.

Following field, farm tracks and road, passing the Anglesey Riding Centre where the horses are munching contentedly on their hay. We are surprised at the clear view  directly across to Caernarfon Castle.

Eventually join the road just past the former Mermaid Inn, just beyond the Tan y Foel ferry ran across the straits to Caernarfon taking passengers to market and workers across the Straits, only closing in 1952.  Near this spot the Romans invaded Anglesey in 61AD and massacred the Druids.

The road passes the entrance to Anglesey Sea Zoo and Anglesey Sea Salt.  It was too early into the walk to stop, a decision we later regretted as we could have stopped for a coffee, as there are very few refreshment opportunities along the way.

We chanced upon two local ladies as we approached Llandinan House, who informed us that the tide was out so we could walk along the shore line on the low tide route.

We ran into these ladies again when we detoured off the main route to the hamlet of Moel y Don.  They were very interested in our long distance walk. One of the ladies was looking for a retirement challenge.

We stopped for a while here, taking in the views across to Felinheli.  I spent a bit of time photographing a duck sitting on her nest, under the watchful eye of her partner.  Hard to believe that in 1282 the bloody battle of Moel y Don took place here. 2000 infantrymen and 200 cavalry was sent by Edward 1 to control Anglesey and cut off food supplies.

We returned to the path, passing St.Edwen’s Church, heading straight on across the crossroad on the A4080 towards Bryn Celli Ddu a reconstructed burial chamber dating from the Neolithic age. Only a slight verging from the path.  Some calves were drinking from the stream, we paused by a wooden footbridge with a plethora of sign to study the guidebook. To find that we needed to head up the next two fields, but were a bit flummoxed by an electric fence stretching across. It wasn’t switched on and we eventually found a gap where we could step through, leading to a farm track.

The next stage follows much of the main road, but behind a small hedgerow, with duckboards in part.

At low tide take the permissive path down to the shore line, this is a lovely stretch passing the statue of Lord Nelson, in the shadow of Britannia Bridge, then through the church yard of  St Mary’s Church, which gave Llanfairpwllgwyngyllgogerychwyrndrobwllllantysiliogogogoch it’s name.

Turn right in front of the Carreg Bran Hotel, some tree cutting is taking place in the wood. The path circles back to the road to Menai Bridge, and you might think you are at the end of the journey, but it tracks down to the left again passing church island, well worth a side tour before reaching the bridge.

For dinner it was a toss up between the Liverpool Arms or Dylan’s

Beaumaris to Menai Bridge – Wales Coast Path

We are on the Isle of Anglesey at last. Some 131 miles to go before completing the Wales Coast Path.

We have decided that we want to complete the Wales Coast Path, so a short walk to Menai Bridge is planned, followed by Sunday Lunch, Louise is heading home, and Lucy and I will have a leisurely afternoon.

Turning right, away from the promenade , it’s a bit of a hill start to the walk,passing Baron Hill Golf Course.

Much of this walk is along minor road, but there is a very boggy muddy patch To get through before we reach an easy stretch through the village of Llandegfan. Eventually reaching Cadnant Road, follow onto to St George’s Pier passing the Liverpool Arms on the left.

We pass Porth y Wrach (Witches Port) and wonder what the story is behind the name.

We eventually reach and cross the Menai Suspension Bridge, a Thomas Telford design opened in 1826. We head for the Antelope pub for a drink and to pick up the car. The pub has guitar lesson sessions on a Sunday, and a number of locals of differing age groups are arriving for the session.

We pick up the car and drive back to Beaumaris for a very pleasant afternoon. Sunday lunch at The Bull and shopping. I love places where there are more independent shops than large stores!

Chester to Flint – Wales Coast Path

« 1 of 2 »

We did this section out of sequence as a result of the guidebook suggesting accessing the start of the 870 mile WPC from Chester starting at the Cathedral. We subsequently switched back to South Wales.  We started the walk around 1pm, having picked Lucy and Kim up from the train station, we deposited our luggage in a lovely AirBnb property and off we set.

The weather forecast was for a cloudy day with rain coming in around 5 pm.

There was a time when the Welsh were forbidden to enter Chester before sunrise or stay out after nightfall – but no such curfew applies today.

We made our way out of Chester via the Town Hall, said to have only three faces to the town clock, as the citizens of Chester didn’t feel the need to have one facing Wales, as they couldn’t be bothered to spare the Welsh the time of day. I am glad to say we found the people of Chester charming and very welcoming.

We carried on via Northgate, past Pemberton Tower and the Water Tower, it was easy to see that Chester is one of the best preserved Walled cities in Britain.

On reaching the Welcome to Wales sign – the walk is pretty straightforward onto a long straight stretch of a cycle path, beside the river Dee

An hour into the walk we were soaked to the skin – the rain came early. We gave up at the Jubilee Bridge or Blue bridge at Queensferry – called a taxi to get us back to our townhouse, looking more like the female cast of “Last of the Summer wine” than the cosmopolitan women we perceive ourselves to

The guide book had specified the four towers of the gas powered Connah’s Quay power station as a key landmark for the walk. Today was the first time we had been able to sight it through the gloom and rain.

So, back to the Jubilee Bridge, a bascule bridge, sparkling blue in the sunshine. This stretch of WCP is mainly dominated by industry, so from bridge to bridge we go Jubilee, then Hawarden railway Bridge, built by the Manchester, Sheffield and Lincolnshire Railways, originally as a swing bridge, but now welded solid!

The warmest temperature in Wales was recorded here 35.2 in August 1990. We could have done with a bit more warmth on a chilly February day!
The other bridge on the skyline is the Flintshire Bridge, the largest asymmetrical bridge in Britain, opened in 1998, and built at a cost of £55 million. A testament to the importance of the industrial Deeside and the impact on the Welsh economy.

The path continues past the Wepre riverside SSSI past the side of the Old Quay Pub. Much of the final leg of the walk is along the road, not very interesting, until we finally return to the marshes and come upon Fflint Castle, one of the first built by Edward 1 to control the Welsh. The design of this castle is very different from the rest of his domineering castle portfolio , in fact it is the only one of its kind in Britain.

The castle was burnt down by the custodian in 1294 to avoid it falling into the hands of Madog ap Llywelyn and his Welsh followers.

Lucy bursts into an extract from Henry IV as we approach the castle. Here Henry Bolingbroke, son of John of Gaunt captured Richard 11 in 1399. “Fake news” is not a new phenomena – Richard’s reputation has been given a bad rap over time. If you were king from the age of ten years you would also make a few mistakes along the way. There is a legend associated with Richard’s dog – who apparently was loyal to Richard and never strayed from his side, but when Henry came to Flint the dog left Richard’s side and lay down at Henry’s feet – I think I might have taken a bit of liberty with the legend but you get the gist.

 

Flint to Ffynnongroyw – Wales Coast Path

« 1 of 2 »

An appalling national weather forecast doesn’t necessarily mean it will rain where you are in Wales.

We got up early to try and avoid the rain due to come in around 11am – in fact it rained at 1.30pm and we had completed our walk.

Starting at Flint castle, one of Edward 1 first strongholds in Wales, this is an easy walk along the River Dee.

It is had to believe that Flint Dock used to be a busy harbour built to carry lead from the mines in Halkyn mountain. In 1778 a ship taking grain from the area was taken over by local miners, as locally there was severe hardship and it seemed the right thing to do to combat the shortage of food, mainly bread.

The beacons along this stretch are nicely designed, with the dragon beacon at Bagillt being the most impressive.

Not a day to linger we set a brisk pace passing Bettisfield Colliery now a scrap yard, hard to believe that 500 men used to work here.

Onto Greenfield Dock which used to be a very busy link for the people of Liverpool, Wirral and surrounding areas who used to take the waters at nearby St Winifred’s Well, Holywell.

At Llanerch y Mor we come across the Duke of Lancaster, the ship not the person. Docked here as a Fun ship in the 1970s, it had previously been used as a ferry from Belfast to Haysham – it is by now rusting badly and looks rather sad.

Beyond the fun ship, we spotted hundreds if not thousands of oystercatchers nesting – one of the joys of winter walking is the easy sighting of various birds.

We took the easy option along the cycle track past the busy Mostyn Dock. In hindsight we should have taken the higher route through the woods, as this is a very busy road, we were glad to cross over into the village of Ffynongroyw (Clear Well). To access the well there is a path from the village via Well Lane. It also happens to be the birthplace of renowned Welsh harpist Ossian Ellis.

We ended our day fittingly, at the commemoration to the Point of Ayr Colliery, as this walk is a poignant reminder of Flint’s rich industrial heritage.

Ffynnongroyw to Kinmel Bay – Wales Coast Path

« 1 of 2 »

Snow is forecast, but we are wrapped up warm and ready to go from the winding gear commemoration at Ffynnongroyw. Crossing the busy A548 we are soon out on the exposed wasteland of the Point of Ayre Colliery.

A hail storm slaps us in the face. There is a bitterly cold wind. A large gas works looms, we hurry down towards Talacre and the Point of Ayr the entry point to the river Dee.

At the car park the dog walkers were out in force, reminding me of a certain Peter Kaye car comedy sketch. We went up to the viewpoint, but decided to keep off the beach, the first or last beach in Wales depending on your direction of travel.

We follow the low tide route through the dunes, which offered a little protection against the wind, passing inland of lighthouse which had seen better days.

We head for the Gronant dunes at Presthaven sands holiday park. The dunes has a noted inhabitant – the natterjack toad.
Following a walkway we find ourselves on Barkby Beach passing some marsh land.

We soon head back into the shelter of the dunes. Bright blue skies, sharp hail showers and a biting wind had us hurrying to the Beech Hotel for a fine lunch of Welsh Cawl.

From here it is a straightforward promenade following a concrete walkway along Ffrith Beach passing the jolly holiday towns of Prestatyn and Rhyl. At the Very ugly Pavilion building in Rhyl we stepped inside to warm up.

The walkway continues across the footbridge to Kinmel Bay ending a very cold winter’s walk

Kinmel Bay to Porth Eirias Colwyn Bay – Wales Coast Path

 

Torrential rain early morning saw us starting our walk later than usual.

It would take a bigger optimist than me to find many pluses for this stretch of the WCP.

Out to sea, standing like sentries on the horizon are hundreds of wind turbines. Turn to look inland and we are faced with seemingly endless, row upon row of caravans. Coupled with grey skies – not a walk to lighten our spirits.

The path runs along cycle track 5, a bonus as we cover the miles quickly. A large breakfast at the Beach cafe at Pensarn – Abergele, served by cheerful, polite young staff puts some pep back in our step.

Gwrych castle comes into view looking across the A55 towards the limestone cliffs. I can’t make out whether it reminds me of Disneyland or Grimm’s fairy tales.

A family on bikes approach us, followed by several others. The older kids must have had big bikes for Christmas, as they are still a bit wobbly. It puts a smile on my face and lifts my mood. Several other cyclists whizz by. It makes me feel positive – the cycle route is an asset and well used.

I remind myself that thousands of families enjoy great times in these caravans every year, and while not easy on the eye, who am I to hasten by and judge the scenic aspect.

At Llandulais the cycle track climbs a little before passing by the jetty that handles the limestone from the quarry across the road.

Rain brings our walk to an end at Porth Eirias where we pop into Welsh chef Bryn Williams restaurant, but we have left it a bit late to be served. It had been that sort of day!

Porth Eirias Colwyn Bay to West Shore Llandudno – Wales Coast Path

« 1 of 2 »

The curved golden sands of the bay between Porth Eirias to Llandrillo yn Rhos – Rhos on Sea is a delightful contrast to the previous day’s walking, despite the fact that work is underway to dismantle the Victorian Pier.

Embedded into the walkway are a number of historic facts.
One states that Prince Madog sailed from here and discovered America 300 years before Columbus.

We follow the cycle track up the hill and turn towards Penrhyn Bay. Walking to the headland we look out for the seals, half a dozen are huddled and well camouflaged on the rocks below.

Turning back, we take the short but steep slope up the Little Orme and head through the quarries before quickly coming down Craigside to the roadside and an easy walk into Llandudno.

We pause in the bitter wind to watch the brave RNLI lifeboat crew man their boat, before wandering on and veer off the path into the Mostyn Gallery for coffee, cake and a look around their exhibition.

Llandudno has done much to preserve its Victorian charm, and we return to the Promenade making our way to the pier, where the Path skirts around to Marine Drive which takes us up the Great Orme.

The road is closed to traffic, but we are soon joined by the 700 or so participants in the Nick Beer 10k Road race.

The Kashmiri goats which roam the headland don’t take a blind bit of notice of the spectacle as they continue to graze on the uplands.

Passing the road access to the Lighthouse, now a B&B, we stopped for a breather at the aptly named Rest and Be Thankful cafe – (and we were). We poured tea from one of those stainless steel tea pots – the ones that seem to have a design fault as the tea drips past the lid!

We share a laugh with fellow customers as we watch the walkers being swirled around by the wind, while knowing we will soon be engaged in a similar pantomime.

Rounding the headland, there are stunning views across to east Anglesey and the Carneddau mountains. On the way down we overlook an old military site.

Reaching the Gatehouse to the Gogarth we hurry along West Shore beach frozen to the core, so grateful to reach the car.

A varied walk, enjoyable in the high winds, but probably preferable in warmer weather!

Conwy Marina to West Shore Beach Llandudno – Wales Coast Path

« 1 of 2 »

Balmy breeze and warm sunshine. How changeable can our weather be?

We have given ourselves a day off, or at least a short stroll in the sunshine with an evening out sampling the delights of Conwy.

The Wales Coast Path passes by our home for the holidays, making it so easy. We stroll along Conwy Quays passing Bodlondab nature reserve, stopping for photographs in front of the “smallest house in Great Britain” – I wonder whether it has ever been any colour but red?

I chuckle as a seagull strikes at a woman trying to eat her fish and chips.

The stroll takes us passed the lobster pots on the Quay, up a few steps to the walkway alongside the road. Looking across at the original Telford Bridge built in 1826.

It is only a little distance along the Walkway that you can appreciate the full scale of Conwy Castle, one of Edward 1 iron ring of castles, built in the 13th century to subjugate the Welsh. Now given UNESCO World Heritage Site status

Looking up at the impressive build I want to sing the song by Dafydd Iawn, Welsh folk singer of note:- “Er gwaetha pawb a phobpeth, ry’n ni yma o hud” – roughly translated it means Despite everyone and everything, we are still here.

The promenade and cycle track gives great views across the estuary at the Walled town of Conwy and the mountains beyond.

A leisurely pace, enjoying the scenic backdrop to Deganwy and onto the West Shore in Llandudno. The White Rabbit memorial is a reminder that Alice Liddell’s holiday home was here, and she was the inspiration behind Lewis Carroll’s Alice in Wonderland.

Our leisurely day was followed by an equallyleisurely evening starting at the Albion pub, dating from the 1920s by owned by local small brewers, serving a variety of local beers. The Observer newspaper said this was the best pub in the world. We loved the Smoking Room sign on the door, a reminder of bygone times.

We followed this with a short stroll to the Erskine Arms, a Georgian coaching inn. We dined on locally sourced, cockles and Mussels, fish and pork.

Both places had the most friendly staff and on a night where it had started to rain, welcoming open fires.

Sometimes you just have to let go of the longer term goal and pause to enjoy the now!

Conwy Marina to Abergwyngregyn – Wales Coast Path

« 1 of 2 »

We are both determined to complete the path on mainland Wales on this trip, before completing our Wales Coast Path walk on the Isle of Anglesey.

We are joined by Louise Tambini, a good thing as she sets up a good pace. It is officially British Summer Time, the days are longer and the sun is shining. The Beast from the East 3 is forecast for a few days time, so we need to set up a bit of a pace.

We selected the Blue route, the Red route through Sychnant Pass is a walk for another day!

We walked along the beach from Conwy Morfa. You could walk along the beach as far as Penmaenmawr as long as tides permit and be wary of soft sand, but not wanting to be too disloyal to the path we rejoined at Penmaebach and worked our way through a network of
bridges and cycle paths along this stretch, heading high over the A55 is a marvel of engineering and effort.

We stopped for coffee at the cafe in Penmaenmawr. The vivid street art helps to come to terms with the brutalist architecture.

The pretty village of Llanfairfechan is soon reached, the Victorian school with the separate entrance for boys and girls, the independent shops and the chapels add a certain charm, heading under the bridge to the promenade we watched a chap feed the swans by the pond,before following the track to Morfa Madryn and a network of nature reserves, teaming with birdlife.

We could have parked the car at the nature reserve below Abergwyngregyn, but not knowing this we had parked in the village.

Greeted by a smiling George Clooney. Well on a poster, ad eating a brand of coffee, a welcome sight nonetheless.

In the evening we had dinner at the local pub, the Garddfon Inn – Desperate Dan wouldn’t have been unhappy with the size and quality of my Welsh beef steak