The Newborough to Llanddwyn Island walk has got to be one of our absolute favourite family friendly walks. This short 5 mile/8 km walk hosts some truly stunning coastal scenery. With spectacular views of the mountains of Snowdonia as your backdrop, you’ll struggle to find many better beach walks in Wales.
Beginning your mini adventure at the Newborough Forest car park SH 406 636 (Explorer map 263), you have a choice of forest trails or a direct path to the beach. The car park itself is a good size with toilet facilities and will cost you £4 for the day. This is payable at the barrier kiosk located on the road down to the car park. During busy periods there are usually refreshment vans present including that of a local Welsh ice cream company. It goes without saying it’s very highly recommended!
The forest trails are all well marked and beaten, although you do have a variety of paths to follow. Consequently, you’ll still be able to satisfy your inner explorer. As well as playing host to a wealth of birds, it is also home to the much rarer red squirrel, so make sure you keep an eye out for them in and amongst the trees. Other than that the tall pines offer a lovely contrast to the adjacent sandy beach and offer some shade in very hot weather.
If you prefer to walk along the beach (which we often do) you’ll be rewarded with a beach that has many times been crowned Wales’s favourite. This serene stretch of coastline just unfolds before your eyes. The mountains in the distance lend a dramatic feel to the whole area while the real star of the show, Ynys Llanddwyn, juts out proudly, extending itself into the sea.
The route from Newborough to Llanddwyn Island is as straight forward as it gets. Once you arrive on the beach head right and stay on the sand. Simple. The beach is a beautifully clean and expansive walk where you and the kids can take your time to sit, play games, skip waves or simply take a gentle stroll. On a nice day this is definitely kick your shoes off time. Sinking your toes into the sand onto a beach this picturesque doesn’t get much better!
As you approach Llanddwyn Island you’ll see its distinctive raised, rocky profile. Just be aware that at high tide it becomes cut off from the mainland beach. So, if you want to cross over make sure that you check the tide times (https://www.tidetimes.org.uk/llanddwyn-island-tide-times). You don’t want to get this far and then miss out on this gem of an island. Once on the island, waymarks point you in the right direction with a couple of paths to choose between. Personally, we love the right hand path which ascends the short number of stone steps to the right of the information point.
Llanddwyn Island gains its name from St Dwynwen, the Welsh patron saint of lovers. Translated it means “The church of St. Dwynwen”. According to legend she returned to the island after being forced to spurn the advances of the man she was in love with because her father wanted her to marry another man. She prayed to be released from this unhappy union but was unsuccessful. To add insult to injury, her true love, Maelon, was then turned to ice. Broken hearted, she retreated to Llanddwyn Island to live a life of solitude.
On arrival she asked to be granted three wishes. Firstly, her true love, Maelon, be saved from his icy tomb. Secondly, that true lovers everywhere find real happiness, and thirdly that she should never again find herself married. As such, the island is a tale of unrequited love and a place dedicated to real lover everywhere. It’s certainly a lovely story to share with your loved ones as you stroll along, gorging yourself on the spectacular scenery.
Explore the ruins of Llanddwyn chapel and the giant stone cross that offers a wonderful vantage point of the surrounding area. The two lighthouses that also adorn this short stretch of beautiful coastline are also well worthy of merit. Practically, they have traditionally been used to warn ships approaching the Menai Strait. However, just from an aesthetic point of view, they really are the icing on the cake. The former pilot’s cottages, built for the pilots who used to navigate the ships, can also be explored and sometimes house small exhibitions.
I can’t recommend this walk from Newborough beach to Llanddwyn Island enough. Take a towel and lie on the beach listening to the waves. Take a picnic and stay all day. Believe me it’s worth it.
Location: Newborough Forest, Anglesey
Distance: 5 miles/8 km
Car park: located in the forest at a cost of £4