249 Glan-yr-Afon to Beaumaris

Today I’m walking with my friend, Lynne, who lives on Anglesey. Last time I walked with Lynne, I ended up falling into a ditch and up to my armpits in stagnant water. Let’s see if I manage to stay out of trouble this time.

No buses to worry about today. Lynne’s husband drops us off in Glan-yr-Afon and, immediately, Lynne wants to divert off the coast path and take me to her favourite beach.

01 walking with Lynn, Ruth in Anglesey

It’s called White Beach and, although my OS map shows no beach with that name, it does show an isolated patch of open access land called Fedw Fawr abutting the coast. That must be it.

But there is a practical problem with Lynne’s plan. Sadly, most of the 5 mile stretch of shore between Llandonna and Penmon Point is privately owned and inaccessible. When we find Lynne’s lovely beach we will have reached a dead-end.

We abandon the idea of White Beach, and set off along the official coast path. It takes us along the road for a while, before cutting away through farmland. We discover that neither of us like cattle. This one – a young bullock – appears to be drooling.

02 cows, Anglesey, Ruth Livingstone

The path struggles to find a way through enclaves of private property. It runs between houses and beside walls, and makes the odd diversion along a road.

Finally, while crossing a meadow of sheep, we come over the brow of a low hill and can see our immediate destination in front of us. Penmon Point, with Puffin Island sitting just beyond it.

03 Trwyn Du lighthouse, Ruth on Anglesea, Beaumaris

Unfortunately the weather is still murky. The low-lying mist appears to be lifting from the hills…

04 lifting mist, Ruth Livingstone hiking in Wales

… but it never clears completely and we never get decent views across the sea. Shame. Lynne says you can see the Isle of Mann from here on a clear day.

Lynne takes photos of Penmon Point and the lighthouse on her Samsung device, while I take photos of her taking photos.

05 photo oportunities, Trwyn Du lighthouse, Ruth and Lyn walking the coast

The Trwyn Du lighthouse is impressive and an important waymark, as it marks the north entrance to the Menai Strait. I don’t see the light flash, but I do hear the bell tolling. It’s a weird and eerie sound.

06 Trwyn Du lighthouse, Ruth's coastal walk in Anglesey

Down by the lighthouse we sit on the rocks and take photos of each other. Lynne tells me how she brought her children here when they were younger and they spent hours playing in the rock pools.

07 Lyn with Ruth, coastal walking in Anglesey

I take a rather poor timed photographs of the two of us. It’s out of focus. Lynne manages a much better ‘selfie’.

08 self-portrait Ruth Livingstone in Anglesey with Lynne

Unfortunately we can’t continue along the coast and have to head back down a road again.

[Anglesey really should do something about all these access-denied areas. I haven’t come across a more privately owned and walker-unfriendly stretch of coastline since the New Forest.]

We reach the old Augustinian abbey and, although we don’t pay to go into the abbey ruins, we do spend time looking around the impressive dovecote. It’s enormous.

09 dovecote by priory, Ruth's coastal walk, Anglesey

In reality the dovecote isn’t a dovecote but a pigeon house, because it was used for breeding pigeons, not doves, for their meat and eggs. We’re just leaving when it begins to rain.

10 Holy Well, Augustinian Priory, Ruth' coastal trek through Anglesey Nearby is a holy well. We take shelter inside.

It turns out to be the most impressive well I’ve seen so far, with a good stone surround and clear water inside. Perhaps someone cleans it regularly?11 Welsh poppy, Ruth Livingstone

We can’t stay here forever, so we don our waterproofs and step out into the rain.

Lynne points out a couple of yellow flowers. ‘Welsh poppies,’ she tells me. They’re beautiful. I risk taking my camera out and snapping a few photographs.

The rain soon stops, although the sky remains dull and threatening. We continue to follow the road down to the shore.

This is Porth Penmon. Camper vans are congregating in a lay-by. I think of their owners being able to retreat into a dry space and brewing cups of tea. I think I want one too. A van, I mean.

12 coastal road, Porth Penmon, Ruth's coastal walk

The map says the beach is mud and sand. It doesn’t mention the rocks and stones. I look across to Snowdonia, where the clouds are still misting the mountains and dropping their rain, and decide the view is both dismal and uplifting at the same time.

13 coastal path to Beaumaris, Ruth hiking in Anglesey

Anglesey has just emerged from a relentlessly wet winter, one of the wettest on record, and this area was the victim of flash flooding. Along the shore the low cliff is crumbling.

14 crumbling cliff, Isle of Anglesey Coastal Path, Ruth trekking to Beaumaris

We come to a little river. Lynne tells me this quiet stream – Afon Lleiniog – turned into a raging torrent a few months ago, cutting off the coastal road and creating giant lakes across the fields just inland. Hard to believe today.

15 Afon Lleiniog, Ruth and Lyn walking the Anglesey coast

We decide to walk along the beach. Lynne thinks we can make it… as long as the tide doesn’t cut us off. It’s a hard but invigorating walk along the shingle.

16 walking the beach to Beaumaris, Ruth and Lyn

Further along we pass an isolated house owned by an artist, who turns out to be a friend of Lynne’s, and we stop for a brief chat.

Later we join the road again and meet a man in a high vis jacket who seems to be taking measurements with an instrument on a pole.
‘What are you doing?’
‘Measuring heights.’
He doesn’t seem to know why he is doing the survey, but when Lynne suggests it might have something to do with the recent flooding, he seems to agree it might.

We soon reach Beaumaris. There is a good view of the castle from this approach. Shame the weather is dull and the photographs lack sparkle.

17 Beaumaris Castle, Ruth's coastal walk, Anglesey

Down by the shore there is a regatta going on. Sailing boats are milling around, waiting for the starting gun. Unfortunately, with hardly any wind, it’s going to be a slow race.

18 Yacht racing, Beaumaris, Ruth hiking the coast, Anglesey

Beaumaris is busy with tourists. It has a pier with a rather ugly addition on the end. Although it looks like a mini industrial zone with tall, white tanks, it is in fact a floating pontoon from where boats leave for trips to Puffin Island.

19 Beaumaris Pier, for Puffin Island, Ruth on Anglesey

We eat ice creams and watch two misguided young men hand-feeding seagulls with chips. They’re doing it because they want to take photographs of the incoming birds. But what they’re really doing is teaching the gulls to steal chips out of people’s hands.

After leaving Beaumaris, the coast path does another one of its inland trips. This time to avoid walking along the busy A545, which has no pavements. Reluctantly we climb a very steep hill (‘Ooooh,’ my leg says) and I take one last look down at the town.

20 leaving Beaumaris, Ruth's coastal trek, Anglesey

With its pretty pastel coloured house, and its impressive castle, Beaumaris has been the most touristy place I’ve visited on Anglesey so far.

The road we’re following takes us under a bridge. A railway bridge? We climb up to see.

21 mysterious bridges, Ruth Livingstone's coastal walk, Wales

No. The bridge carries an old lane, unpaved and overgrown with weeds. It leads to a ruined house, Lynne thinks, and is keen to go off and explore. I have to keep her on track. We’re supposed to be walking the coast path.

We go back to the road and continue climbing until we’re walking along a high ridge. To the left must be the sea, obscured by vegetation, while to our right is farmland and cattle.

22 fields of cows, Allt Goch Bach, Isle of Anglesey Coast Path, Ruth hiking in Wales

This road is called Allt Goch Bach on my map, meaning small red hill. We pass a golf course and more farmland, before the path turns off into what appears to be someone’s back garden.

‘Are you sure this is right?’ asks Lynne.
‘My Garmin never lies,’ I say, with more confidence than I feel.
We skulk around the perimeter of the property until we find the continuation of the path.

23 walking the Isle of Anglesey coastal path

I don’t take many photos from here onwards. The path is pleasant, but the light is dull and there are no views. After a mile we rejoin another road, dotted with expensive looking houses. And then we come to our turnoff. It’s time to leave the official route and head down towards the shore.

It’s good to see the sea again. On the other side of the water is Bangor.

24 road down to shore, Ruth Livingstone trekking in Anglesey

Further along and we get a better view of the Menai Strait and Bangor’s pier. Tomorrow I hope to be walking over there.

25 Bangor Pier, Ruth's coastal walk, Anglesey

We walk down to the main road, cross over, and I take Lynne for a well-earned drink at the Gazelle Hotel. I stayed here for a few nights and the views across the water are fantastic.

26 View from The Gazelle, Ruth's coastal walk

[The photo above was taken from my hotel room a few days ago. Sadly, I’ve moved on to stay in a B&B on the mainland, being further behind in my walking than I planned!]

I’m pleased with my progress today. I’ve managed 10 miles with a walking speed of 2.4 mph and, although I still have a limp, my leg only really aches when I go uphill. Hooray! It’s on the mend.

Miles walked today = 10.5 miles
Wales Coast Path so far = 984 miles
Total distance around the coast: 2,491 miles


About Ruth Livingstone

Walker, writer, photographer, blogger, doctor, woman, etc.
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11 Responses to 249 Glan-yr-Afon to Beaumaris

  1. jcombe says:

    Yes this walk is a bit frustrating with the amount of road walking not very near the coast. I opted out of the busy main road south of Beaumaris too, looked to dangerous (it is not a very nice road to drive, either).

    I did though have a “day off” around here to visit Beaumaris castle and take a boat trip around Puffin Island. Sadly you can’t land on the island, but it was nice to see it from all angles. There is the ruins of an old “signal station” on the island.

    I was a bit surpised by Bangor, it seems to be a seaside resort without any beach!

    • I was tempted to visit Puffin Island, but the fact you couldn’t land put me off. Skomer Island (in Pembrokeshire) allows you to wander among the puffins, but I didn’t do that trip either.

  2. david says:

    Hi Ruth,
    Our paths might have crossed today (but didn’t!) as I was doing the leg from Glan-yr-afon to Benllech. Thought you might have been on the same morning bus from Biwmaris to Glan-yr-afon (09:41 from Menai Bridge, where I parked today)…. but you had other transport plans!
    I’m doing a very pared-down version of your walk (circumnavigating Wales, starting from my home near Chester) and going in the opposite direction to you. Hope you enjoyed the orchids etc en route to Penmon (although it seems you missed out on the tea & sponge cake at the Pilot Boat Cafe…)
    As a side-excursion today, I traversed Bwrdd Arthur: great views and I didn’t fall foul of your gorse thickets… probably the path is harder to find from the opposite direction.
    I’m enjoying your log: very best of luck with the rest of your long journey.
    Kind regards

    • Dear David, your walk sounds amazing and what a wonderful ambition. Wales is a wonderful country and I’m envious and sorry to be leaving it. Also I’m sorry I missed climbing up onto Bwrdd Arthur. Yes, I think it’s easier if approaching from the south and maybe I should have tried again… every walk brings regrets.
      Now, I have to confess something. I’m writing up these walks a few days after I’ve done them and I’m currently sitting comfortably at home in Lincolnshire. So, no, sadly we wouldn’t have met each other on the bus yesterday, even if I’d been on it. Anyway, I very much hope you enjoy the rest of your trek around Anglesey. A magical place.

  3. owdjockey says:

    Hi Ruth, I think the fact that Anglesey already had a established coastal path in the form of the Isle of Anglesey Coastal Path meant there was little work to do for the WCP. Perhaps a tad lazy?

  4. Marie Keates says:

    What a nice walk you had, even if the coast was a but inaccessible. It always seems a shame when private land stops the public getting to the sea and the New Forest is certainly full of that.

  5. Di Iles says:

    Hi Ruth, planning this section at the weekend. Can you remember if those drooling cattle were behind a fence? I’m like you, terrified of them.

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