It’s a Sunday and, with no buses running, I drive to Valley and catch the train back to Rhosneigr. It’s a request-only stop. The train conductor looks at my rucksack and then down at my boots, puts two and two together, and says he hopes I enjoy my walk.
Funny what a difference a few simple words make. His cheerful friendliness sets me off in a good mood.
This is the second part of the walk I intended to complete yesterday. And I remember I can’t walk northwards along the beach from Rhosneigr because the sands are interrupted by a wide river. So I find the official coast path and follow it inland, across a patch of vegetated dunes, to reach the footbridge.
The bridge is surprisingly elegant and sturdy.
On the other side of the bridge is Tywyn Trewan Common, an area marked as ‘Open Access’ land on my map but which, incongruously, has an airfield placed slap-bang in the middle of it. (Actually, this is an RAF base where fast jet training takes place but all is quiet today. Apparently jets – like buses – don’t function on a Sunday.)
The Common consists of a series of impressive dunes, through which the river winds. I struggle up a steep bank of soft sand to reach the top of a high dune, and take a photo looking back at Rhosneigr. Although a dark cloud seems to have settled over the village…
… around me the dunes glow brightly in the sunlight and the sea has turned a tropical turquoise.
It’s a day of contrasting light conditions, as large cumulus clouds meander across the sky. I walk along the beach – over a mile of gloriously empty sand. In the distance, across Cymyran Bay, is Holy Island.
Towards the end of the beach I come across a man flying a kite and a woman collecting pebbles. The footpath turns inland along the side of the white house that stands at the end of the sand.
I’m still on common land, skirting around the Valley Airfield.
To my left is the stretch of water, the Cymyran Strait, that separates Holy Island from the mainland of Anglesey. It seems so narrow.
To my right is an emergency access track leading to the airfield. A sign tells me not to loiter, which I could take as a personal insult referring to my walking speed, but is actually a warning aimed at enthusiastic plane spotters.
Onwards. Holy Island is so close, but I’m not going to get to the island today. I’m walking only as far as the connecting bridge.
I walk through a marshy area, where I am forced to abandon the coastal footpath – the tide is too high and the path is under water – but an alternative route has been provided. It takes me through fields where I come across a couple of mini-horses.
Is it a Shetland Pony? It looks ridiculous, but in a very cute way, with its overlong fringe and it’s pot-belly.
The path rejoins the coast and it’s a very pleasant walk through grazing fields and with the scent of gorse blossom filling the air.
There is a substantial inlet to negotiate around, which doesn’t appear to have a name on my map. Ty-hen? Part of the route is path and part is track, although in places the track is flooded.
At the apex is a ‘ford’. Looks more like a lake! Luckily there is a dry path that skirts around the edge of the water.
Back beside the strait, and I can see Holyhead Mountain in the distance. One day I’ll be walking over its lower slopes…
… but first I have to get to the bridge.
Soon I reach a place called Glan Rhyd Isaf which consists of a cluster of house. They look deserted. Holiday homes? At this point I manage to lose the footpath and sit on a garden wall for a rest and a snack.
Turning back, I find the footpath, which heads inland again; across boggy fields, along walkways raised over the mud, and over lovely old stiles.
Another inlet at Tyddyn-y-cob – and another causeway and bridge. This one has tidal gates too and an information sign tells me it was built in the 1830s as part of a series of coastal defences to protect the area inland from further flooding.
The wetlands on either side of the causeway are all part of the protected Beddmanarch–Cymyran Site of Special Scientific Interest that includes the straits between Anglesey and Holy Island.
There’s a bench on the bridge, and I stop for a rest and a drink, before continuing onwards.
Now the walk heads across farmland. The landscape consists of patches of grazed grass interspersed with limestone crags and thickets of gorse. I reach a high point with great views across Four Mile Bridge, my endpoint for today. But I’ve lost the path.
It takes me some time, and a detour around the boundary of the field, before I spot the exit gate and the yellow footpath arrow, cunningly hidden behind a bank of gorse bushes.
The final section of path leads across rough land towards a row of buildings. There are farms on my right, marshes on my left.
The path turns into a track and reaches a road, the B4545. Turning left would take me over the Four Mile Bridge (Pont-rhydbont) and onto Holy Island. But now I face the long drive home to Lincolnshire and so I must turn right and walk a mile along the road and into Valley.
I take a photo of the Valley railway station. It’s far from impressive. In fact, most of the stations in Anglesey look run down, including the famous one with the longest name.
It was only a very short walk today and part of me feels frustrated by my slow progress. But I remind myself there is no reason to hurry and the important thing is to enjoy each and every day. I have certainly enjoyed today.
You can read the Hansard records of the parliamentary debate that describes how the RAF was allowed to first requisition, and then permanently claim, many acres of the Tywyn Trewan Common, apparently with little protest from local people. And a further piece was taken in 1962. It seems a terrible shame that so much rare and precious common land was given away.
Towan Trewan Common Act 1950. : Towyn Trewan Common Bill 1962.
Miles walked today = 8 miles
Wales Coast Path so far = 880 miles
Total distance around the coast: 2,387 miles