Safe Harbour – Porth Diana…
In my opinion, the best thing about Anglesey is its awe-inspiring coastal and countryside walking opportunities! For lots of people the island’s beaches, eateries, and history are enough to keep them going – and why to goodness not; I’m certainly a fan? However, with Anglesey fast becoming a popular year-round holiday destination, but with our climate being unpredictable at best, there’s only one thing for it on a squally day: walking-boots, wind-cheaters – and a ‘what-the-heck’ attitude! For those based (or starting off) in Rhoscolyn, there are a multitude of tracks and treks that cover beautiful seaside, as well as more inland terrain – so read on to find out all about them!
For Rhoscolyn walks with magnificent mountain views – read on!
In this blog, the first instalment of what I hope to be both an interesting and informative set of hiking (and pootling) ideas in the area – and beyond – I’m going to describe some of the gorgeous Holy Island walks from Rhoscolyn to Trearddur Bay – including stop-offs at (amongst others) Porth Castell & Porth Diana.
Sunset over Porth Diana…
I’ve already covered most of what’s going on at Porth Saint and Porth-y-Garan (the first of the two ‘larger’ bays you pass on the walks between Rhoscolyn and Trearddur), as well as the main beach and village of Trearddur Bay itself – not to mention the interesting geological and coastal rock features on this part of the route (to remind yourselves, just click the links) – but looking back, don’t feel I’ve spent enough time on Trearddur’s smaller beaches – or the Rhoscolyn to Trearddur routes. However, for more about the bays in question – go to my next blog: ‘Porth Diana – a Safe Harbour’ – as this one’s more about the getting there!
Looking back towards Rhoscolyn’s Coast Guard Station…
Obviously, these jaunts can be enjoyed whatever the weather (which can be a truly stunning at times – I promise you), and I only mention meteorological matters as a starting point – but it’s true; there’s no point feeling tetchy about the temperature – the best thing for it is to get out there and get going! However, for those of you unable (or unwilling) to wend your way to Trearddur on foot, you’ll be pleased to hear you’re able to drive to these lovely spots as well – or at least park-up relatively close by!
NB For parking information in both Rhoscolyn and Trearddur (as well as places for refreshment to head towards) go to the end of the blog!
Low Tide at Porth Diana…
To walk to Trearddur from Rhoscolyn (or vice versa) – any of the following routes are great. Remember though, I’ve only described the way ‘there’, not ‘back-again’ – so you’ll have to work that out yourselves! Obviously, you can always get back from Trearddur via the roads – which is OK, especially as you get into the lanes to Rhoscolyn; but it’s a bit long-winded without as much wow factor. Another option is to just retrace your steps – but even better, why not join up with one of the other routes I describe? This way you’ll get to experience new bits as you wend your way ‘home’!
NB To walk back to Rhoscolyn via the road – go to where Ravens Point Road meets Lon St Ffraid – and turn right. Keep going (for at least 20 minutes) until you see the first sign to ‘Rhoscolyn’ heading right into the lane here. This route takes you into Rhoscolyn past Rhoscolyn’s Primary school and Rhoscolyn Chapel. Another option is to keep going, past this first Rhoscolyn turning – all the way into the Village of Four-mile-Bridge. You then need to take the second turning to Rhoscolyn (on the right – opposite the cafe and hairdressers). This route takes you into Rhoscolyn past the entrance for Bodior (and its farm shop) – but again, it’s quite a trek.
Route #1: Rhoscolyn Church – Porth Saint – Sea Arches – Porth-y-Garan – Porth Castell – Porth Diana – Trearddur Bay
Approx 40 mins – 1 hour
Head to the right of St Gwenfaen’s Church…
- Starting at Rhoscolyn Church (St Gwenfaen’s – NOT the Chapel) follow the road as it curves up around the right-hand-side of the building (if looking at it from the parking area below) – and keep going as swings right, passes a handful of houses, flattens out – soon turning into more of a track.
On the right track…
- Carry on for a few minutes – until you see a kissing-gate (and footpath sign) slightly to the right* – leading down into a little sloping field here (often muddy) – with old farm buildings to your left, and Holyhead Mountain in the far distance. NB * Don’t follow the track into the farmyard though – it’s private! The same goes for the driveway (on the right a little earlier) to ‘The Old Rectory’.
- Now, head down the little field – and exit through the gate at the bottom into a larger one. NB Trearddur Bay is visible to the north in the distance from here!
- Next, head left under the large tree – towards the sea, following the (often muddy) footpath route that runs parallel with the wall of the large white farmhouse to your left – towards another gate; ahead of you in the left-hand corner of this second field.
- Once through this, follow the pretty stone-wall fringed path (with the sea directly below and in front of you), until you see yet another gate across the field (with a little farm building closeby), almost directly in front of you again – just above Porth Saint.
Rocky Road to Porth Saint…
- If you have the time (and inclination) to attempt the scramble down – make sure you check out Porth Saint too (AKA Saint’s Bay/Pink Bay)! Beware though, a recent mudslide has made the already rugged path down a lot harder!
- NB The view over to ‘Rhoscolyn Head’ (shown below to the left) is wonderful from above Porth Saint! On clear days here (especially on summer evenings), you might even get a glimpse the hazy outline of the Wicklow Mountains in Ireland!
Passing above and behind Porth Saint…
- Once through the ‘Porth Saint’ kissing gate – follow the coastal path to the right – up and out onto the headland. NB the path to the left (across the little footbridge shown below) takes you round to ‘Rhoscolyn Head’ – and from here towards Rhoscolyn beach (AKA Borth Wen) – via St Gwenfaen’s Well and the Coast Guard Station.
Porth Saint Footbridge…
- There are a number footpaths to follow once leaving Porth Saint behind (including the official one) – with some closer to the cliff-edges than others – so take your pick – but as a rule of thumb, just keep the sea to your left from here on in – with the views (especially of the sea-arches) being better the closer you go!
- NB On low tides it’s possible to climb down to some the coves below – especially under Bwa Dda – as well as a number of other little bays and gullies, but do take care! Plus, for those brave enough – you can even walk right on top of Bwa Gwyn – as well as under it!
Me & Mark…being brave on Bwa Gwyn!
- After walking across this next flat and grassy part of headland (past ‘Tyger’s Grave’), as well as both the White and Black sea arches (AKA Bwa Gwyn and Bwa Ddu) – follow the main footpath as it heads through another gate (passing a little spring/waterfall) on your right – down into a bit of a dip (often muddy), with a cove to the left – which then heads towards another gate up in front of you.
- The narrow (often muddy) path from here actually passes through the ‘gardens’ of the nearby houses (including Pant Yr Hyman – with its fabulous sea views) before crossing the drive of a house to the left (called Cefn y Borth – with an old canon in its garden).
- Now you’ll find yourselves out on the headland again – with a wall bearing left. NB The view back to Rhoscolyn Head is beautiful from here too!
- With the sea to your left, head northwards towards the next cove (which we call ‘Lily Ponds’ Bay). NB Depending on whether you follow the main path behind it, or choose to scramble down via the rocks – there may be a gate or two to pass through before getting to the other side of this bay. However, whichever way you go – it’s not far to Porth-y-Garan from here (where there’s a small caravan site shouldering its northern side) – so just keep going.
- NB ‘Lily Ponds’ Bay and Porth-y-Garan are both lovely little spots for exploring and adventure!
‘Lily Ponds’ Bay…
- Now it’s time to make a choice route-wise! For something gentler, read on – but for a bit more adventure… jump from here to Route #2.
Passing through Porth-y-Garan…
- For an easier amble to Trearddur, once you’ve crossed Porth-y-Garan (AKA Crane Bay/The Lee Caravan Site Bay), follow the lane to the right after leaving the beach and going through the metal kissing-gate here, then first left. After a short uphill section (where you’ll see signs for various campsites) this lane soon joins Trearddur’s Ravens Point Road – where you need to head left (towards the sea again).
Look out for seals en-route! I saw this lovely fellow in Porth-y-Garan just recently!
- NB The area starts to become a little more ‘built-up’ around here – with various properties to your right and left, as well as ahead – which basically means you’ve reached the outskirts of Trearddur.
- Next, where Ravens Point Road curves downwards (on the corner where the Ravens Point Estate’s ‘raven’ decorated entrance-posts stand) you only have a gentle stroll to go before reaching Porth Castell – as well as Porth Diana, and the main beach and village of Trearddur Bay.
- NB Porth Castell is the first proper little bay you’ll pass once on Ravens Point Road in Trearddur – followed soon after by Porth Diana – both to your left, and just below the Road. The main bay is easy to spot in the near distance.
- There are various routes off Ravens Point Road onto all three bays (including steps down) – and even some rugged footpaths leading you over the rocks and headland areas that link them – so it’s up to you which way you go from here.
Route #2: Rhoscolyn Church – Porth Saint – Sea Arches – Porth-y-Garan – Ravens Point Gully – Porth Castell – Porth Diana – Trearddur Bay
Approx 40 mins to 1 hour
- For the first part of Route #2, follow the directions in Route #1 – until you get to Porth-y-Garan. However, for those of you after a more of a rough and rugged ramble – as you leave Porth-y-Garan (through the caravan site’s metal kissing gate) – instead of turning right up the lane, cross it instead – and look for the rocky steps heading up on the other side; they’re almost directly opposite the gate – and after taking you between a couple of caravans, lead you up onto the headland again.
Looking back (at Porth-y-Garan) from the stone steps…
- Once up on the headland, head left – and follow one of the little paths that take you around it, then down into Ravens Point Gully (right around the back) and up again onto the other side. NB The area starts to become a little more ‘built-up’ around here – with various properties to your right, as well as ahead – which basically means you’ve reached the outskirts of Trearddur.
- You’ll soon pass under a small stone archway (which is basically part of someone’s garden) – and shortly afterwards you’ll see some (modern-ish) holiday apartments directly ahead of you. NB Keep an eye out for the wonderful Hottentot-fig plants and other gorgeous succulents on the rocks around here.
Looking back at the archway on the way to Ravens Point Gully…
- Head towards the (white-ish) side-wall of these apartments – then follow the little alleyway to the right – until you come out into the top part of the Ravens Point Housing Estate.
- Next, head left – following the road that runs through the estate, and soon you’ll meet Ravens Point Road (on a bend as you exit the estate through its stone gate posts decorated with ravens).
- From here, just follow the sweep of the road as it heads downhill to the main beach and village – with the sea to your left again.
- Porth Castell is the first bay you come to on your way down the hill into Trearddur proper. If you carry on you’ll pass Porth Diana too (as well as the Seacroft Grill) – before reaching the ‘main’ Trearddur beach).
Route #3: Rhoscolyn Church – Rhoscolyn Coast Guard Station – St Gwenfaen’s Well – Porth Saint – Sea Arches – Porth-y-Garan – Porth Castell – Porth Diana – Trearddur Bay
Approx 1 – 1 ½ hours
- Starting at Rhoscolyn Church (St Gwenfaen’s – NOT the Chapel) follow the driveway just to the left of the ‘parking area’ here – the one that leads you through parts of the Plas Estate (past the beautiful rental properties of: Plas, Plas Bach, Cabbage Patch, and Plas Uchaf).
Passing through the Plas Estate…
- Keep going, past the last house on the lane here (Ty Haul/Sun House – soon to be a Menai holiday cottage too), through the kissing-gate, then down the farm track – and over the stile.
Follow the ‘right’ track…
- Next, take the footpath/track uphill and to the right – which leads you up to, and past Rhoscolyn’s headland Coast Guard Station (AKA The Lookout). NB the path to the left (heading downhill – looking towards Rhoscolyn’s ‘beacon’) leads you down to Rhoscolyn Beach.
- NB The Coast Guard Station is run by volunteers, and always in need of funds to keep it going. If you’d like to donate there’s a collection box on the door! Remember, these guys help keep us all safe when out on the water!
- Keep going, with the sea and Coast Guard Station to your left – following the coastal path as it leads you downhill, past St Gwenfaen’s Well, before heading up onto ‘Rhoscolyn Head’. The views from The Lookout, and the area in general, are awesome!
- NB The rocky ‘dell’ to the left (just before Rhoscolyn Head) is called Porth Gwalch (Hawks Bay) – and can even be reached by the more daring! The rockface here is also a popular rock-climbing Anglesey spot!
St Gwenfaen’s Well – and Porth Gwalch (below)…
- After leaving St Gwenfaen’s Well behind – there’s another kissing gate to pass through – with the footpath heading up and onto Rhoscolyn Head. From here, keeping the large stone wall to your right, follow it as heads downwards, then curves right.
- Once you’ve turned the corner, down below you on your left, you’ll now be able to see Porth Saint. Look out for Rhoscolyn’s wild goats on this stretch!
Head right when you get to the far corner of this wall…
- The footpath soon swings to the left again (as it passes behind Porth Saint) – and you have to cross the little footbridge mentioned earlier in Route#1) – then head up and out onto the headland again.
- From here you need to follow the directions from this point given in Route #1.
Rhoscolyn’s famous Push-me-pull-you (AKA Porth Saint’s Holy Goats)…
Route #4: Rhoscolyn Beach – Porth Corwgl – Rhoscolyn Coast Guard Station – Porth Saint – St Gwenfaen’s Well – Sea Arches – Porth-y-Garan – Ravens Point Gully – Porth Castell – Porth Diana – Trearddur Bay
Approx 1 ½ – 2 hours
- Starting at Rhoscolyn Beach/Borth Wen (and just after passing Glan Towyn – the last house on the lane here; another Menai Holidays Cottage in the offing) – head right from the car park (across the sand if possible – but up the steps and via the raised sea-wall on the right if the tide’s too high).
- NB Look out for the ‘ancient’ folly in the garden of Ty Crainc to the right; apparently a Victorian addition! The house is pretty eye-catching too – I love it! Incidentally, I’ve been told Ty Crainc translates as ‘Crab House’ – but someone else said it meant crack or crag…any ideas?
Head right on Rhoscolyn Beach – towards ‘Little Cornwall’ in the distance…
- Next, head up the sloped lane that leads off the ‘main’ beach – to the cluster of houses that shoulder the two smaller Bays here. They sit almost back-to-back and are called ‘Little Cornwall’ (colloquially), and Porth Corwgl – which is just behind.
Rhoscolyn’s Porth y Corgwl…
- NB Both ‘Little Cornwall’ and Porth y Corwgl (AKA Coracle Bay; named after the small, rounded, lightweight, traditional ‘Welsh’ boat) are super spots for exploring. Plus, there are great views of Rhoscolyn’s offshore beacon to be had from Porth y Corwgl!
The view from above Rhoscolyn’s ‘Little Cornwall’…
- At the top of the slope, the lane splits in two – circumnavigating a private property called ‘The Old Lifeboat Station’ (which it is)! Either route is fine (as they link up around the back) – but make sure you look out for the footpath sign pointing right, past a set of stone gate posts for a property called ‘Bryn Eithin’ (Gorse Hill).
Take the footpath to the right…
- Head uphill a bit, following the footpath as it leads you between a few houses here (and even through their gardens) – then off to the left a bit – until it straightens out and passes between a dilapidated building to the left (part of property called ‘The Point’), and the wall of a pretty property to the right (called ‘Point Gardens’).
- Next, head through the kissing gate at the end of the (often muddy) path here – and keep going, heading uphill and straight-ahead (with the sea to your left) – towards Rhoscolyn’s Coast Guard Station – which you can see in the distance.
A Bit of an Uphill Struggle…
- NB Before heading upwards here – there’s a little inlet or cove to the left, just after passing through the kissing-gate. It’s called Porth Hwngan, and is another interesting spot for a bit of beach-combing and clambering!
Porth Hwngan. If anyone knows what this translates as – let me know…
- Before reaching the Coast Guard Station though, there’s another kissing gate to go through – more or less parallel to Rhoscolyn’s offshore beacon (AKA The Pepper Pot).
Sea Salt & Pepper Pot!
- NB There are various little paths to follow once on this part of the headland – so just pick the one that suits you – but again, the closer to the cliff edge the better the sights (and sounds)!
- From the Coast Guard Station – follow the directions given from this point in Route #3.
Route #5: Rhoscolyn Chapel – Porth-y-Garan – Ravens Point Gully – Porth Castell – Porth Diana – Trearddur Bay
- From Rhoscolyn Chapel (and Ty Capel) head right out of the parking area and down the road.
Leaving Ty Capel and the Chapel behind…
- Around the bend, and soon after crossing the little stone bridge, you’ll see a property called Cerrig (above the road) on the right. Directly opposite Cerrig’s driveway/gate, you’ll see a little lane (with a dead end sign) leading to the left – which leads behind another property (Plas Coch).
- Follow this straight, spike-rush and bulrush fringed lane (ignoring the turning off to the left) until it begins to curve right and slope upwards a bit. Once past the brow of this little hill, you’ll be able to see the sea directly in front of you. NB There’s also a very small patch of rough parking here.
- Next, keep following the lane in front of you (ignoring another footpath/lane to the left) – and head over the stile (or through the gateway here – remembering to shut it behind you) – then right for a bit, but shortly you need to follow the (often muddy) footpath to the left (curving seaward off the lane) – towards ‘Lily Ponds’ Bay.
Heading towards ‘Lily Ponds’ Bay and Porth-y-Garan…
- Soon you’ll reach the head of a small cove here (we call it ‘Lily Ponds’ Bay). Take the footpath that leads to the right of it – up onto the headland – and continue walking the short distance to Porth-y-Garan. There are various footpaths and routes to take you there – but basically, you’re heading north, with the sea to your left – and Porth-y-Gran is only a short distance away.
- NB Look out for the fresh-water ponds in the area; awash with wild Yellow Iris and White water-lilies during the spring and summer months!
- From Porth Garan, follow the directions as given from this point in either Route #1 or Route #2.
Looking back at the Coast Guard Station from the ‘Lily Ponds’ area…
Route #6: Rhoscolyn Chapel – Porth-y-Garan – Ravens Point Gully – Porth Castell – Porth Diana – Trearddur Bay
- From Rhoscolyn Chapel (and Ty Capel) the route for this walk is almost exactly the same as for Route #5 – so head right out of the parking area – down the road and over the stone bridge – following the same directions as before.
- However, this time – don’t take the first lane to the left (opposite Cerrig’s driveway), but keep going for another 10 minutes or so on the ‘main’ road, taking the 3rd turning on the left instead (with the house-sign ‘Bryn Ffion’) on the gate post.
- Also look out for the ‘double’ footpath sign as your signal to turn left. (NB It points right too – which eventually takes you to the road that passes Bodior’s driveway).
- You’re now heading onto the (Rhoscolyn to Trearddur) headland area – but just arriving at it a little further down than you would do in Route #5.
- You’ll pass an interesting (modern) property nestled into the rock face on the left first, as well as stables and horses on the left – plus more properties further on.
- Walking between the wetland areas here is very atmospheric – and the countryside scenes are delightful.
Walking Through Wetlands…
- After a while, you’ll be coming out into more of an open and rocky area – with little paths running off here and there.
- Keep heading west (towards the sea) and you’ll soon come out onto the headland area just to the south of Porth-y-Garan and the Lee Caravan Site. From here head north again (with the sea on your left) – and follow the directions from this point in either Route #1 (the easier one) or #Route 2 (the rugged trail).
- NB If you head off the main path to the right (up and onto the rocky area here), not only do you get fabulous views across the sea – but behind you to the mountains on mainland Wales – as well as over Rhoscolyn Chapel and Ty Capel! You can also get to Porth-y-Garan and the Caravan site from via the rocky routes.
- If you want to stay in Rhoscolyn, why not combine this walk with Route #5 – and make it more or less circular?
Misty mountains views – behind Rhoscolyn Chapel…
Now it’s time for you to get going! Have fun out there folks – and maybe we’ll see you out and about! It goes without saying, but as well as the stunning scenery, there are loads of birdwatching and wildlife spotting opportunities on the routes mentioned – as well as climbing, exploring, beachcombing, rockpooling and swimming! So, keep your eyes peeled – and be prepared!
Eat, Drink…and be Merry!
In Rhoscolyn there’s only the White Eagle Pub to eat and drink at right now! But, with its stunning sea-views, garden area, local delicacies, dog and kid friendly policies – and ever-changing beer varieties (not to mention special offers and events) it’s a firm Holy Island (and Anglesey) favourite!
The White Eagle – a firm Rhoscolyn Favourite…
However, in future look out for the new Tearoom too! Coming soon to Rhoscolyn Chapel – it’s going to be a lovely addition to the village!
Rhoscolyn’s new Tearoom (and Gallery)… coming soon!
In Trearddur Bay, if you keep following Raven’s Point Road, past Porth Castell and Porth Diana, you’ll soon see The Seacroft Grill on your left – but you can also reach it via the small/rocky paths between the houses on the little headland area to the right of Porth Diana too. Great for a bite to eat, or just a drink – and they welcome walkers (muddy boots and all) – but dogs are only allowed in the outside seating area. No sea views – but a lovely seaside feel; and a regular haunt of the Trearddur Bay Sailing Club crowd!
In the busier periods, drinks, ice-creams and ice-lollies are ‘sometimes’ available from the ‘Diving Services’ shop (on the right – before the Seacroft, just behind and above Porth Castell) – as well as diving gear (obviously) – plus, all manner of seaside paraphernalia!
NB At the time of writing the previous blogs, the Black Seal was still being renovated – but for sustenance with a sea view, there’s nothing in Trearddur to beat it – and it has a fabulous gin-bar too!
View from the Black Seal
Close to the Lee Caravan park, there’s another site called Gwynfair – which has a public bar (serving food) that also welcomes walkers!
Drinks and snacks are also available in the Spa shop on the main road (Lon St Ffraid), as well as in the Trearddur Bay Store’s cafe on the other side of the road – a little past the Sea Shanty.
Ice cream and refreshment vans are also often to be found on Lon Isallt – close to the RNLI station & shop/Black Seal.
Rhoscolyn Parking: The car park just behind the main beach (at the end of Beach Road) has a fairly decent number of spaces – although it’s now P&D. Another alternative is the White Eagle Pub – but they won’t be impressed if you don’t give them your custom, or leave your vehicle there for hours! Free parking (for approx 8 -10 cars) is also available by St Gwenfaen’s Church – but sometimes this can be reserved for parishioners, as well as for weddings and funerals – and spaces get taken early in busy periods. Please be mindful of the locals if you park-up elsewhere; I can’t tell you how many people choose silly places (usually on bends)!
Trearddur Parking: There’s plenty of parking in Trearddur – either (and especially) in the main car park – which you’ll find to the left of The Sea Shanty Cafe (across the road from the Spar Shop/Post Office) – as well as in the smaller one next to the The Black Seal Kitchen & Bar – but beware, they both are Pay & Display…although ‘sometimes’ free in the winter months – depending on how the council are feeling that day, that week…or even that year!
There are also a few free spots close to the RLNI Station & Shop, and roadside parking along Lon St Ffraid too (the main road ‘through’ the village) – as well as in a number of other places – but again, these ‘free’ spaces are limited, and get taken early during busy periods.
Be aware though, Ravens Point Road in Trearddur (the one behind Porth Castell & Porth Diana) is almost completely covered by double yellow lines – on both sides!
- Large P&D Car Park (on Lon St Ffraid): LL65 2YR – with a W/C that costs 20p
- Limited free roadside parking close to the main car park (on Lon St Ffraid): LL65 2YR
- Smaller P&D Car Park (to the left of The Black Seal (on Lon Isallt): LL65 2UP
- Small free parking area to the right of the RNLI Station (which is to the right of The Black Seal – on Lon Isallt): LL65 2UP
Spread your Wings!