Cegin Viaduct sign in the Cegin Valley

Wales Coast Path: Bangor to Tal-y-bont

September 6, 2015 · 11 comments

Date walked: 10th August 2015

Distance: about three miles ( a stroll, I know, but you’ll understand why if you read on)

Map used: OL17 –  Snowdonia


Having completed my circumnavigation of the Anglesey Coastal Path it was time to return to the mainland. Back in  June I had reached the pier at Bangor.

Today I was arriving back there by train, from which for many miles I had I gazed out over the many static caravan sites that line the north Wales coast with some trepidation.  The train was late getting in and I had an arrangement to meet my friend Ian at Tal-y-Bont at 6pm, so rather than obsessively return to the pier, I took a direct route to the coast, missing out around 1/3 of a mile of the path, for which I hope I am forgiven.

View to the coast from Bangor, photographed by Charles Hawes

Besides, it was half a mile at least from the station to the coast

It was a lovely late afternoon. I was happy to be walking after several hours on the train and gave a mental greeting to the reassuring signs that I was back on the path.

Sign post for the Wales Coast Path, photographed by Charles Hawes

I’ve come to be very fond of these sign posts

I was directed down to Porth Penrhyn, which would have been a nice spot to explore but I needed to get on. At the end of the C19th this was the port used to export slate from Penrhyn Quarry– at the time the largest slate quarry in the world.

Porth penrhyn, bangor, Ph

This was another of those occasions where a landowner has declined to allow walkers access to the coast; in this instance it is whoever owns Penrhyn Park. It isn’t the National trust.

Entrance to the Penrhyn Estate, photographed from The Wales Coast Path by Charles Hawes

I was tempted to walk in and see what would happen

The diversion had its compensations, though, as the route heads south up the very tranquil, fern-filled Cegin Valley. Two train lines once used this once very busy valley, the Penrhyn Quarry Railway first opening in 1798 as the Llandegai Tramway. The very fine Penhryn Bridge that carried this line was built nearly 200 years ago.

The Penrhyn Bridge, Porth Penrhyn, Bangor, photographed from The Wales Coast Path by Charles Hawes

“Heart” these railings

A little way up the valley, another fine bridge has been preserved that crosses the little Afon Cegin.

Bridge over the Afon Cegin, photographed from The wales Coast Path by Charles Hawes

The Valley of the Bridges

The A5 crosses the valley by a road bridge….

Bridge taking A5 over the Cegin valley, photographed from The Wales Coast Path by Charles Hawes

…. and half a mile after that the Cegin Viaduct takes the railway line that I had arrived on before it tunnels underneath Bangor’s outskirts.

The Cegin viaduct, photographed from The Wales Coast Path by Charles Hawes

Not even Lightroom could straighten these converging verticals

The path parts company with the cycle route that it had been sharing with just after yet another bridge …..

Road bridge over the Cegin Valley, photographed from The Wales Coast Path by Charles Hawes

Maybe not as impressive as the viaduct, but pretty good.

…. then climbs round its side to cross it near a ford.

Ford near the Cegin valley, photographed from The Wales Coast Path by Charles Hawes

A footbridge! (but not for me)

Through a gap in the trees I had a glimpse of Snowdonia’s foothills….

view to Snowdonia from the wales Coast path near Bangor, photographed by Charles Hawes

“Such great composition”, I hear you say

…and by the path an example of the fences that are so characteristic of  such slate-rich parts of the country.

Slate fence near Bangor, photographed from The Wales Coast Path by Charles Hawes

Mighty fine fences – but no good for keeping rabbits out.

The path’s route was a little confusing here and I found myself walking through what was clearly intended to become some kind of housing or industrial estate, where all that had been laid out was the road system.

New estate near Bangor, photographed from The Wales Coast Path by Charles Hawes

Another greenfield bites the dust

This whole area was cordoned off by a metal barrier from the A5, leaving it a safe playground for skate-borders.

New estate near Bangor, photographed from The Wales Coast Path by Charles Hawes

An expensive skate board park, courtesy of EU funding

The A5 crossed, another bridge then provided the route over the railway that I had just walked under.

Chester to Holyhead railway, photographed from The Wales Coast Path by Charles Hawes

Apologies for not getting more of the bridge in the shot

Doubling back down a little lane with a couple of properties on it I passed under the line via the Penlan bridge!

The Penlan Bridge, photographed from The Wales Coast Path by Charles Hawes

Probably the least attractive of this bridge-fest afternoon

At the bottom of the lane was a  small industrial estate, at the back of which another fine viaduct takes the railway line across the Afon Ogwen.

Bangor to Tal y bont-27

The path takes the road across this shallow, turbulent river….

The Afon Ogwen, photographed from The Wales Coast Path by Charles Hawes

All the way from some of the greatest peaks of Snowdonia

…. on the far side of which was another reminder of the “feck off” character of the Penrhyn Estate.

Entrance to the Penhryn Estate near Tal-y-Bont, photographed from The Wales Coast Path by Charles Hawes

The notice just making sure that the non english-reading Welsh (there must be dozens of them) do not think that there is a right of way

The road to Tal-y-bont and path takes a right here, a little field providing you with a sheep pic.

And very nicely illiminated it was, too

We, like sheep – and very nicely illuminated it was, too.

100 yards up the road, Ian was waiting for me by, what else, a bridge.

Don't worry, they'll be more bridges tomorrow.

Don’t worry, they’ll be more bridges tomorrow.

Ian and Elizabeth live in the most wonderfully secluded spot in the Clwydian Range AONB (from where Elizabeth writes an excellent blog ) and had very kindly offered to put me up for a couple of nights, so they’ll be no criticisms of my bed or breakfast! Ian extremely generously was also going to bring me back here the next morning – you’ll be introduced the next day when we will take an “official” alternative route from Llanfairfechan to Conwy.

{ 11 comments… read them below or add one }

David Marsden September 6, 2015 at 10:24 am

The number of bridges puts my latest post to shame. And yes it is extraordinary that the NT should deny access. I wonder what reasons they would give? Your rate of posting is impressive, Charles. I can hear the clunk of a thrown down gauntlet. I’d best up my lamentable game. Oh and yes, “such great composition.” D


John September 6, 2015 at 10:35 am

The blasted interwebbything is playing up this morning so I can’t follow all your interesting links but that’s something to look forward to. Three miles is still three miles more walked and with an average of 7 photos and 4* links to the mile what an interest-packed two and a two-thirds miles along the Coast Path they were. They just don’t build bridges like those any more in today’s disposable society!

Bit daft leaving the gates wide open if you want to keep a place private. Any of Anne’s hoi-polloi could stroll in for a look at the garden!

*The link to Bangor Pier doesn’t count as you missed it out today!


Charles September 6, 2015 at 6:05 pm

Its unbelievably temperamental for something that we rely on in so many ways. Hope it sorts itself out. I think they rely on guard dogs roaming the grounds. Or CCTV. Or maybe just shoot intruders and bury them in the grounds.


Julia September 6, 2015 at 4:27 pm

Have given up with the Nat Trust for the time being and for exactly the reason you highlight. Their shops are crap too. Keep walking – this post has a sense of tranquility – so pleasurable.


Charles September 6, 2015 at 6:07 pm

Good. I should start a campaign. Their shops are crap apart from the fact that we understand that many are stocking “Outwitting Squirrels”, which is fab. Glad you liked the stoll.


Katherine Crouch September 6, 2015 at 10:48 pm

I like the way you photograph and write about the prosaic and the exquisite with equal interest – more please


Charles September 7, 2015 at 8:20 am

Thank you – and nice of you to visit. There will be more. Lots more!


Richard Neale September 7, 2015 at 2:31 pm

Hi Charles,
I just wanted to point out that you were mistaken in thinking that the National Trust owns the coast to the east of Porth Penrhyn, Bangor. Unfortunately this is not NT land and is still in private hands. We only own a relatively small amount of land around Penrhyn Castle in this area.

We have always worked very closely with Natural Resources Wales, who developed the path, to make sure that the path goes on the optimum coastal route through NT land.

Considering that all our coastline in Wales is open to the public, I thought I should point this out in your otherwise excellent blog site.


Charles September 7, 2015 at 3:58 pm

Thanks Richard; apologies for the slur, which I will correct. Is it the case also for Plas Newydd on Anglesey that the Trust don’t own the land by the coast? (where access is also denied to the coast to walkers?).


Richard Neale September 7, 2015 at 4:06 pm

Thanks Charles for correcting. All the NT’s coastline at Plas Newydd is open to the public and has been since 1967, it’s just that you have to go through the main entrance to reach it, as it forms the grounds of the mansion. We will continue to keep this under review and look for access improvements whenever possible. The land to the west of Plas Newydd is still in private hands and has no public access, so blocks further access in that direction. The land on the opposite bank of the Menai (Glan Faenol) is also NT, but was frustratingly missed out by a landward diversion of the Welsh Coast Path – again due to neighbours’ concerns. Thankfully these are now being resolved and the path is now able to enter Glan Faenol.

Keep blogging!


Charles September 7, 2015 at 4:21 pm

You’re welcome. Correction done and rant removed. Always willing to acknowledge and change mistakes. It would be good if a way could be found for the Coast Path to take in Plas Newydd rather than be diverted all around it.


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