More of a walk than a long hike, as it’s a 3-4 mile flattish round trip, but for the purpose of continuity on the blog I’m classing this as a hike! Also, with 25kg strapped to your back it definitely feels more like hiking. Anyway, I digress before I’ve even started…
The day we visited Newborough & Llanddwyn was one of those days when without much planning, everything falls together spectacularly. We had about an hour’s drive from where we were staying, the girls napped in the car on the way, and woke up as we arrived (might have been something to do with me singing Foals quite loudly to ‘help’ them wake up!).
The tide was going out, so we knew we’d be able to cross onto the Island and the weather, well, what can I say about it? It was one of those perfectly still, serene days where a ripple and a bubble are the only things distinguishing the sea from the sky. A layer of haze softly blanketed the foot of the mountains on the horizon; from here you could see the whole of the Snowdonian range, as well as South to the long arm of the Lleyn Peninsula jutting up from the sea.
The trip begins in a large car park nestled between the dunes and the thick pine forest – home to the rare and endangered red squirrel; though we saw none as no doubt with two toddlers we were probably making too much noise! We walked out over the dunes down onto the beach and, despite the number of cars in the car park, there were relatively few people, and even less as we headed along the beach towards the island.
Perhaps it was the pine forest, sand dunes or maybe the still quite intense sun, but this felt more like southwestern France than Wales.
We reached the island and stopped for a picnic on the most perfect golden sand isolated beach looking over the water to Snowdon. We got the girls down from the backpacks and they played with rocks and shells, running back to us only for another mouthful of food or water.
Refuelled, we headed up onto the Island where the views only became more breathtaking. Now we had left France for a Greek Island with boats moored in the sparkling azure waters just off the island.
But this place is well and truly Welsh, and steeped in Welsh myth and legend; the island is named after Saint Dwynwen, the patron saint of Love. It is believed she brought her many lovers to the island and you can see why, you’d find it hard to think of a more romantic location!
We walked up to the lighthouse jutting out into the Irish Sea then turned and headed quite rapidly back to the mainland, as we sensed the girls were starting to reach their threshold! The more hiking we do with them, the more we get to know how far we can push them so that we can balance our enjoyment with a good experience for them.
Once we had crossed the dunes and reached the forest – which offered welcome relief from the intensity of the afternoon sun – we let the girls walk through the forest stopping now and again to collect pine cones and sticks.
They managed a really long walk; about 3/4 of a mile almost all of the way back to the car, taking it in turns to have a go on daddy’s shoulders.
I’m not exaggerating when I say I think I’ve found one of my favourite places in the world, and I can imagine it is equally spectacular, if very different, during a big winter storm, waves crashing against the black rocks and sea foam flying into the evergreen forest.
On to the practicalities: the beach is reached through Newborough, South Anglesey, and costs £4 to access the car park. There are toilets at the car park and even showers and a picnic area. You have to get the tide right to get out to the island and ensure you won’t get caught out coming back. Dogs aren’t supposed to be on the beach until the end of October but everyone seemed to ignore that rule for some reason? More information on the area’s fascinating history can be found here: Anglesey History