Post image for Wales Coast Path (Anglesey): Rhosneigr to Malltraeth

Wales Coast Path (Anglesey): Rhosneigr to Malltraeth

December 21, 2014 · 12 comments

Date walked: 30th July 2014

Distance: about 12 miles

Map used: OS Explorer No.262: Anglesey West

At the start of these walks on Anglesey I flew from Cardiff to Anglesey Airport near Holyhead on the excellent Citywing service. 


A good nights sleep at my Bed and Breakfast (Ambleside) was followed by an intimate breakfast in the landlady’s kitchen.  A good cooked breakfast – I’m a convert to poached eggs; this one was a tad over-cooked. But again no fruit was on offer (there is clearly a shortage on Anglesey).

I was at the edge of the town when I realised that I had left my flask of Special Brew (one sachet of hot chocolate, one of milk, two of coffee) in the room. I decided to leave it; I think I must be mildly phobic about not wanting to re-trace my steps.  Rhosneigr must be built on a rocky outcrop since the beach backed by dunes  that I had approached the town by yesterday continued on the other side.

Traeth Llydan, Rhosneigr, photographed from The Wales Coast Path by Charles Hawes

A bit cloudy this morning

After about a mile of beachside walking the land rose a little and I made a small deviation to visit the restored chambered cairn of Barclodidad y Gawres.

Sign at  Barclodiad y Gawres, Anglesey, photographed from The Wales Coast Path by Charles Hawes

If you can’t read the sign. click on the link.

Most ancient buildings have been restored in some way so I suspect that if somewhere admits to being restored, “reconstructed” might be more accurate.  There wasn’t a lot to see.

Inside Barclodiad y Gawr, photographed by Charles Hawes

The camera had a better view than me

The monument is situated near the top of a promontory which was followed by a deep inlet and the beach of Porth Trecastell.

Approaching Porth Trecastell from Mynydd Mawr, Anglesey, photographed from The Wales Coast Path by Charles Hawes

Approaching Porth Trecastell

As I approached the beach three men passed me with their fishing gear, heading for the low cliffs.

Porth Trecastell, Anglesey, photographed from the wales Coast Path by Charles Hawes

Too early for visitors?

Having rounded the beach, the well-worn gritty track continued  to keep near to the sea, climbing gently. This was easy walking on what was becoming a pleasantly warm day.

The Wales Coast Path between Rhosneigr and Aberffraw, photographed by Charles Hawes

Peace and quiet and the sea; a good start to the day.

It was around here that the path is diverted inland to pass by the north side of the Anglesey Motor Racing Circuit. I could see that a good few people had ignored this diversion so I kept to the coast (natch).

My alternative route passed the back of a disused firing range, its rusty apparatus for raising and lowering the targets left to rot.

Disued firing range near rthe Anglesey Motor Racing Circuit, photographed by Charles Hawes

After the range a chain link fence blocked the way. It had clearly been breached and repaired. Although the fence extended to the cliff top, it wasn’t difficult to swing round the final post and continue on the now faint path.

Fence across the coast near the Anglesey Motor Racing Circuit, photographed by Charles Hawes

Well, I couldn’t go back, could I?

I climbed a little higher and found myself  on a wide gravel track; I know I wasn’t supposed to be there but it looked like it was going somewhere so I took it.

Track near the Anglesey Motor Racing Circuit photographed by Charles Hawes

Fabulous bank of flowers for no one to see

The track ran  along the bottom of a grassy bank, which I climbed to find myself  looking through a chain link fence down onto the racing circuit.

Anglesey Racing Circuit, photographed by Charles Hawes

No, I didn’t climb the fence for this. I took it through the fence.

My walk around the circuit continued  for  half a mile; I half expected to be challenged by someone but the few people I saw strimming the grass seemed disinterested in my presence.

The Anglesey Racing Circuit, photographed by Charles Hawes

Consulting my map I could see that the coast path takes the route of a track which I could now see over to my right. Here I did need to climb over a bank of tyres and a fence to get onto it but needs must as they say.

The track led down to a narrow pebbly beach. In the middle of the little bay  a pretty little whitewashed church stood on top of a walled enclosure that was itself built onto a rocky island. It was quite perfect.

Eglwys bach y mor on Crinau, photographed from The Wales Coast Path on Anglesey by Charles Hawes

At low tide you can walk out to it.

The island is called Cribinau and the church is called in Welsh  eglwys bach y mor (“the little church in the sea”) .

Eglwys bach y mor on Crinau, photographed from The Wales Coast Path on Anglesey by Charles Hawes

It was so pretty I thought I’d give you another view of it.

Out to sea I could make out  the Lleyn Peninsula hills though the hazy atmosphere.  I had that sense of peacefulness which we often attribute to place but really must come from within.  I grasped that moment, took off my boots and socks (always a good thing to do periodically on warm days) and absorbed the view.

In the clear water below a large red blob caught my attention. Though moving slowly in the water, it was obviously doing so intentionally. A jelly fish – and a big one, at that.

Jelly fish off the coast of Anglesey, photographed from The Wales Coast Path by Charles Hawes

I got out my binoculars and tracked its progress though the water.


Binoculars still in hand, further out to sea I picked up a pair of seals, heads still and turned towards the shore. Were they as fascinated by me and I was by them? On a nearby rock a pair of Oyster Catchers were closely monitoring the exploration of one of their chicks.  This felt like a very special place. But perhaps it was the fact that I had stopped for a while that allowed me to see more.

With some reluctance I put my socks and boots back on. The path turned inland now and headed up the estuary that leads to Aberffraw.

The Estuary of the River Ffraw, photographed from The wales Coast Path by Charles Hawes

It had got really hot now so I was hoping to find an ice-cream in the village.

I found a shop in the village but there had been a run on ice cream which was a deep disappointment. A lolly was not an acceptable  substitute so I settled for a cold can of  fizzy drink. I didn’t see much by the way of facilities in Aberffraw but it boasts a fine chapel…..

Capel Seion, Aberffraw, photographed by Charles Hawes

…..and a sweet little packhorse bridge.

Packhorse bridge at Aberffraw, Anglesey, photographed from The wales Coast Path by Charles Hawes

But no ice-cream van in sight

It was very warm now and I still had several miles to go so I made a decision that I would forego walking back down the estuary and along the beach and shaved a mile off the day by keeping to the little road after the bridge that divides the dunes.

In half a mile I was re-united with the official path. To the south are several miles of coast which appear to be under the control of the Bodorgan estate who have clearly not agreed access.


It’s a shame that this part of the coast is denied to walkers but at the same time I was glad to be in this quiet lane, shaded by trees.

To the right was a wall that had been made with a rough crenellated top and with regular rectangular peep holes. Dozens of them.

Wall of the Bodorgan Estate, photographed from The Wales Coast Path by Charles Hawes

The wealthy’s motivations can be a mystery

I had several theories for these holes. One, that  they were made of of consideration to their cows, to give them a view of the passers by or perhaps they were to satisfy the curiosity of the hoi polloi, or perhaps the estate felt that their workers were under-employed and just wanted to make the job of building the wall more complicated.

The lane takes a right hand turn where it reaches the A4080 and heads south-east towards the Malltreath sands.  Leaving the lane just before reaching the estuary the path passes by the sewage works and then skirts by a few properties before re-claiming a coastal view.

View across the Cefni estury photographed from The Wales Coast Path by Charles Hawes

And a very nice view it was, too

On the other side of the estuary was tomorrows walk through Newborough Forest. For now I needed to find my Bed and Breakfast.

Malltraeth is a nondescript little village with two pubs and a small shop which doubles up as a chippy.  It’s claim to fame is that the artist Charles Tunnicliffe lived there.

I was staying at Syn y Mor which was situated right opposite the Estuary and received a very friendly welcome but no bikkis.  So having showered and changed into my glad rags I read for a bit before going out in search of supper.

The Royal Oak was deserted and was not doing food.  I left the landlord to the telly. The Joiners Arms  didn’t even look open and was a miserable looking place from the outside. The popular choice  appeared to be the chippy, the food taken back down to the street to the tables by the bridge that crosses the estuary. I went with the masses. The fish and chips were on the right side of ordinary. Having feasted I went back to the Royal Oak for a couple of (non cask but OK) pints, my company then, half a dozen local ladies out for their regular bingo night. I couldn’t face the excitement.


Neil December 21, 2014 at 7:41 am

Sounds and looks like a lovely day out. The final view across the estuary to the mountains and tomorrow is fabulous. And what a lovely church.

Great read 🙂

Charles December 21, 2014 at 9:37 am

Yes, smashing. Went to the beach for the sunset. Glad you enjoyed it.

Paul Steer December 21, 2014 at 3:11 pm

A lovely walk around a beautiful part of the coast. Fish and chips beer and bingo sounds like a perfect end to the day!

Charles December 21, 2014 at 8:55 pm

You have wild tastes!

rob grover December 21, 2014 at 7:38 pm

Yes, the church is such a great subject. I would like to see a picture of it with the highest tide and in the worst weather conditions; that would be stunning too. I’m looking forward to more ideas about the holes in the wall. Would it be too bonkers to suggest a ‘dads army’ defense with rifle holes?

Charles December 21, 2014 at 8:59 pm

Yes, one of the most photographed churches in the Principality I should think. Trouble with your storm idea is that you would be struggling with a wet camera and very poor light unless you were very lucky! Yes, bonkers idea for the holes; the road was within a wood so there would be very little view of the enemy approaching. Any more ideas?

juia December 21, 2014 at 8:16 pm

Summer seems a long time ago but allelujah you’ve rekindle it again. Thanks Charles for this on this winter solstice.

Charles December 21, 2014 at 8:54 pm

It does, doesn’t it. I am writing up a walk over Plinlimon now that we did in March on the most fabulous day. Will publish that one on its anniversary! Happy solstice!

John December 21, 2014 at 9:45 pm

It may be hopelessly romantic to suggest that the openings in the boundary wall are a modern attempt to rekindle some of the atmosphere of the Napoleonic Wars when there are records of a battery and embrasures along the boundary wall facing the sea. Or perhaps they were to allow the officers of the Royal Protection Squad to take pot shots at nosy passers-by.

Thanks for taking the off-piste route which seems to have been more interesting from a photographic viewpoint. Sorry about the ice cream!

Don’t forget to change the date in Watermark Reloaded!

rob grover December 23, 2014 at 8:36 am

The failure to agree Path access around the Bodorgan Estate may have something to do with the security of our Royals. Since 2010, and until recently, a property on the Estate ( Bodowen Farm, I think) was the Anglesey home of the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge, and a few months earlier you might have been pounced upon when taking a picture of the Farm lane entrance. Doesn’t explain the holes in the wall though.

Charles December 24, 2014 at 9:29 pm

That’s interesting. I guess that could be the answer to the closed off coast. If so, they should have it open again by now.

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