238 Rhosneigr to Valley

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.

01 train to Rhosneigr, Ruth Livingstone's coastal 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.

02 footbridge across river Ruth hiking in Rhosneigr

The bridge is surprisingly elegant and sturdy.

03 footbridge, Ruth Livingstone

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…

04 view back to Rhosneigr from sandunes, Ruth's coastal walk, Anglesey

… around me the dunes glow brightly in the sunlight and the sea has turned a tropical turquoise.

05 Tywyn Trewan Common, Ruth walking across dunes in Anglesey

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.

06 Traeth Cymyran, Ruth hiking in Anglesey, Rhosneigr

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.

07 pebble picker, Traeth Cymyran, Ruth's coastal walk, Anglesey

I’m still on common land, skirting around the Valley Airfield.

08 Valley Airfield, Ruth's coastal walk, Anglesey

To my left is the stretch of water, the Cymyran Strait, that separates Holy Island from the mainland of Anglesey. It seems so narrow.

09 channel between Anglesey and Holy Island, Ruth hiking in Wales

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.

danger do not loiter, Valley Airfield, Ruth Livingstone

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.

11 Holy Island from Cymran, Ruth near Valley, Anglesey

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.

12 mini horses, Ruth walking the Anglesey coast

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.

13 Holyhead Mountain, Ruth Livingstone in Anglesey

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.

14 Ty-hen, Ruth on the Isle of Anglesey Coast Path, near Llanfairyneubwll

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.

15 ford at Ty-hen, RUth's coastal walk, Anglesey

Back beside the strait, and I can see Holyhead Mountain in the distance. One day I’ll be walking over its lower slopes…

16 walking towards Valley, Ruth on the Anglesey coastal path

… 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.

17 Glan Rhyd Isaf, Ruth hiking the Anglesey coast to Valley

Turning back, I find the footpath, which heads inland again; across boggy fields, along walkways raised over the mud, and over lovely old stiles.

18 old-fashioned style, Ruth Livingstone walks

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.

19 Tyddyn-y-cob bridge, Ruth walking to Valley, Anglesey

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.

20 Valley Tidal Doors, Ruth hiking in Anglesey

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.

21 approaching Four Mile Bridege or Pont-rhydbont, Ruth in Anglesey

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.

22 hidden gates, Ruth Livingstone long-distance walker

The final section of path leads across rough land towards a row of buildings. There are farms on my right, marshes on my left.

23 Four Mile Bridge, Ruth's coastal walk, Anglesey

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.

24 Valley Station, Ruth Livingstone

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


About Ruth Livingstone

Walker, writer, photographer, blogger, doctor, woman, etc.
This entry was posted in 16 Anglesey and North Wales and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

8 Responses to 238 Rhosneigr to Valley

  1. owdjockey says:

    Hi Ruth, I was quite fortunate at Penrhyn-hwlad hwere the old causeway across that inlet was exposed at low tide enabling me to tke the short-cut.

    • Ah, Alan, that was lucky. I did see the traces of what looked like a causeway, most of it was covered over of course, and wondered if it was possible to cut across if the tide was low. Mind you, I enjoyed the walk around the edge, even if it was a bit water-logged in places.

  2. jcombe says:

    I always find it exciting to get off at a “request stop” station! (I see Paul Merton is even doing a TV program about request stop stations at the moment). I “cheated” a bit on this walk in that I decided to wade over the river at the shoreline at Rhosneigr, it was not that deep it did not come beyond my knees, but I wouldn’t do it at high tide or after lots of rain. I did have an audience whilst I waded over though (a man and his son) but having watched they decided not to follow me. You might be surprised to learn (I was) that the airport at Valley actually has public flights too (a twice a day service to Cardiff).

    • There is something rather incredible about being able to make the train stop especially for you!
      I did think about wading across the river – but only for a fraction of a second. I’m such a coward 🙂

  3. Marie Keates says:

    What a lovely walk but a sham so much has been allowed to encroach upon the coastal path.

  4. Gayle says:

    I also waded the river at Rhosneigr, having walked the beach (I was going in the other direction to you) only to realise, when I reached the river, that I was half a kilometre adrift from the bridge. Referring to my blog, I see that the water came up to mid-thigh, but I left my trousers on in view of the number of people around!

    Being a weekday, I had some close views of Hawks coming in to land at Valley, which, although noisy, did add a certain pleasing something to my walk. There’s a non-zoomed photo of how close they were on my blog for that day, here: http://gayleybird.blogspot.co.uk/2014/04/day-5-w-of-penrhosfeilw-to-rhosneigr.html

    • Just visited your blog, Gayle, and an interesting write up of the same (but longer) walk. Couldn’t leave a comment for some reason. I thought the tide was high when I walked that section, but at least I the walkways were above water and I kept my feet dry. Love the low flying planes. Living in Lincolnshire, we get used to such sights, but they are always awe inspiring when they swoop in just above your head. 🙂

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