Post image for Wales Coast Path: Beaumaris to Benllech

Wales Coast Path: Beaumaris to Benllech

June 21, 2015 · 21 comments

 Date walked: April 11th 2015

Distance: around 15 miles

Map used: OS Explorer 262- Anglesey West

From today and for the following 4 days I had arranged for a bag to be transferred between overnight stops by Anglesey Walking Holidays. I had to pay for their minimum of two bags rate of £16 a day.

I had with me “The Wales Coast Path” by Christopher Goddard and Katharine Evans, which I will refer to as the Guide. There is also a very good website managed by the Friends of Anglesey Coast Path.

***********************

I had stayed last night at The Castle Court Guest House, which is opposite the castle.

Castle Hotel, Beaumaris, Anglesey, photographed from the Wales Coast Path by Charles Hawes

Rather nice looking place don’t you think?

I had had a nice room overlooking the square and breakfast in the light and quite contemporary looking dining room was perfectly good (meaning I don’t recall anything to complain about).

Building Beaumaris castle started in 1285 and  it was never completed. Apparently Unesco considers Beaumaris to be one of “the finest examples of late 13th century and early 14th century military architecture in Europe”. Which makes it slightly surprising that the children’s play area is sited so close to its walls.

Beaumaris Castle, photographed from the Wales Coast Path by Charles Hawes

Still, the colours show up nicely against those walls

  It was a bright day but not especially warm. Across the Menai Strait there was snow reaching halfway down the Snowdonia mountain sides.

View to snow topped Snowdonia hills photographed from The Wales Coast Path by Charles Hawes

I didn’t notice the snow yesterday!

The path crosses a small headland by the sea, entered through a stone wall by a rather nice iron gate with a castle motif.

Beaumaris castle gate, The Wales Coast Path, photographed by Charles Hawes

Nice little touch

I was quickly returned to the B5109, though, passing, after half a mile, the posh property called Fryars with a fancy fountain near its entrance. Behind the entrance are said to be remains of hangers that accommodated flying boats in WWII and which flew from the bay.

Fountain at Fryars, Anglesey, photographed from The Wales Coast Path by Charles Hawes

Pity it wasn’t working really

About a quarter of a mile after Fryars the path leaves the road and takes a route that at low tide means a mile of beach walking. The surface was firm  and required a certain amount of boulder negotiation but it was good to be so close to the sea. The views out to Snowdonia were still fabulous.

View to Snowdonia from across Menai Strait, Anglesey, photographed from The Wales Coast Path by Charles Hawes

Moody pic

Further along the beach a line of very degraded upright timbers was said in the Guide to mark the remains of a medieval fish trap called Gored Tre-castell. Most of the trap is underwater.

Gored tre Castell, Anglesey, photographed from the Wales Coast Path by Charles Hawes

At least I think that this the fish trap remnant

This stretch of coast is clearly very soft (just sand and pebbles really) and vulnerable to erosion. Which makes anything growing on its edge vulnerable, too.

Tree at edge of coast near  Beaumaris, Anglesey, photographed from The Wales Coast Path by Charles Hawes

Bet you a Mars Bar it won’t be there in a year or two’s time

On the other hand, occasionally a big boulder can act protectively, leaving an improbable stack near the high tide line.

Outlying rock stack off shore near Beaumaris, anglesey, photographed from The Wales Coast Path by Charles Hawes

Any geomorphologists want to tell us what this is called?

A stream entering the bay at Lleiniog forces the path back on  the road again, the views back to the hills still grabbing my attention.

View to Snowdonia across Menai Strait, Anglesey, photographed from The Wales Coast Path by Charles Hawes

This time with cloud reflections!

But ahead at Porth Penmon there was lots to see.

Penmon, Anglesey, photographed from The Wales Coast Path by Charles Hawes

Great collection of interesting buildings

The stone jetty and shell of the nearby building served the Penmon Park limestone quarry.

Building associated with Penmon quarry, Anglesey, photographed from The Wales Coast Path by Charles Hawes

I’m surprised no one has stuck a roof on it and made it into a house with an impressive pergola

Just around the corner is the rather strange marriage of buildings that was Penmon Priory, (now a parish church and a house) with a very fine and somewhat later (1600)  stone built dovecote opposite.

Penmon Priory, Anglesey, photographed from The Wales Coast Path by Charles Hawes

Not a very comfortable conjunction?

Today there was much coming and going of black-clad populace; a roadside sign announced “Funeral Today”  which might otherwise have read “Afternoon Teas” (except that there are none).  I popped into the shell of the Refectory…..

Refectory at Penmon Priory, Anglesey, photographed from The Wales Coast Path by Charles Hawes

A missed opportunity for a tea room

… but passed by the Holy Well and the Dovecote as I had seen them when I had walked this path when I had stayed at Plas Cadnant and I had a good way still to go. I glanced back for a  different view of the Priory, where the mourners were assembling, and then headed up the hill towards Penmon Point. 

beaumaris to Benllech-20

The path goes to the Point, off which there is the Trwyn Du lighthouse and a view to Puffin Island but it then  doubles back on itself. Having also visited the Point previously I took a short cut. I regret this now as I am sure I would have enjoyed the sight even if it was not new to me; I didn’t really need to cut the mile off my day. Anyway, just to prove that I have been there, here’s a pic I took at the time.

Trwyn Du Lighthouse, Anglesey, photographed from The Wales Coast Path by Charles Hawes

I can hear John typing away some complaint about my deviaition

The Path kept inland for the next several miles, which was a bit frustrating even if there was, at first at least, a good view of the coast.

Coast north of Trwyn Du Lighthouse, Anglesey, photographed from The Wales Coast Path by Charles Hawes

It looks like it would be a great section if the path kept to the coast

From looking at the map there is no obvious reason why the next 4 miles avoids the coast. Four disused quarries are marked and it looks as if there would have been some great cliff top walking. Perhaps some reader might enlighten me; I have asked the Friends of the Coastal Path.

The path crosses open fields  where I created great excitement for a herd of skittish cattle who raced up to get a better look.

Cattle on the Wales Coast Path, Anglesey, photographed from The wales Coast Path by Charles Hawes

Yes, I really am that fascinating

This was slightly unnerving but when I then made towards them they turned and fled.

Cattle on the Wales Coast Path, Anglesey, photographed from The Wales Coast Path by Charles Hawes

…and very scary

Funny beasts. These little local paths were unremarkable apart from finding a couple of iron gates painted the turquoise of Portmerion/Plas Brondanw, which attentive readers will remember have appeared on previous walks, though not as far away from their usual location as this.

Turquoise painted gate near Caim, Anglesey, photographed on The Wales Coast Path by Charles Hawes

Any suggestions?

There were sheep to enjoy, naturally…..

Shhep and lambs near Glan y Afon, Anglesey, photographed from The Wales Coast Path by Charles Hawes

Love Little Lambies.

…and still views to be had of the Snowdonian hills.

View to Snowdonia across the Menai Strait photographed from near Glan yr Afon, Anglseey from the Wales Coast Path by Charles Hawes

Nicely framed by the tree don’t you think

Near the village of Glan- yr-afon the footpath joins and follows a minor lane for a mile or so. On a nearby ridge a converted windmill stands out amongst the otherwise not very interesting architecture of local houses.

Converted mill near Glan yr Afon Anglesey, photographed from The Wales Coast Path by Charles Hawes

Actually that’s two moderately interesting houses in one pic!

Towards the end of this road section the very plain Llanvihangel chapel sits in, and ought to feel threatened by a small group of mature pines.

Llanfihangel chapel, Anglesey, photographed from The Wales Coast Path by Charles Hawes

They are going to do So much damage if they come crashing down

As far as buildings go, it is often the farm buildings that I find most interesting in these walks than houses, their decrepitude adding to their charm.

Farm building near Glan yr Afon, Anglesey, photographed from The Wales Coast Path by Charles Hawes

The path leaves the road as it skirts the hillock that is Bwrdd Arthur, where it is believed that a pre-Roman hill fort was sited. More dominant in the landscape though was the broadcasting mast situated by Lon Goch – the lane I was diverted back onto and that heads down to Red Wharf Bay.

Broadcasting mast near Red Wharf Bay, Anglesey, photographed from The Wales Coast Path by Charles Hawes

Bet they get good reception in that house

The Bay was familiar to me as I had also walked here on my previous visit but my previous acquaintance took nothing away from the impression it made today.

Red Wharf Bay, Anglesey, photographed from The Wales Coast Path by Charles Hawes

The gorse was very pretty, too

The route down to the shore takes a series of narrow local  paths linking the many properties dotted around the hillside, their sides dotted with primroses, violets and wood anemone. The tide was out, revealing the bay in its sandy glory.

Red Wharf Bay, Anglesey, photographed from The Wales Coast Path by Charles Hawes

Now that’s what I call a beach

Wood garlic replaced the other wild flowers in the lower and more shaded sections of this very pleasing descent.

Wood garlic near Red Wharf Bay, photographed from The Wales Coast Path by Charles Hawes

I can still smell it

The path then joins a road at Llanddona Beach, signs declaring, amongst other things,  shooting to be forbidden here.

Sign at Llandonna beach, Anglesey, photographed from the Wales Coast Path by Charles Hawes

But do have a nice time

Safe in the knowledge that I would be neither shot or pestered by dogs, I made for the beach, found it wet but firm and enjoyed a mile or so of the blue sky reflected in its glistening surface.

llandonna Beach, red Wharf bay, Anglesey, photographed by Charles Hawes

See what I mean?

I love the wide open spaces in these beach walks, the occasional ships out to sea adding emphasis to the expansiveness of the seascape.

Red Whrf Bay, Anglesey, photographed from The wales Coast Path by Charles Hawes

Magic

I can’t remember if it was a section of marsh or standing water that made me leave the beach but at some point I had to do so, the path taking a narrow planked causeway raised above the soft ground.

Planked causeway by Red Wharf Bay, Anglesey, photographed from The Wales Coast Path by Charles Hawes

I’m always grateful for a nice path

The path became narrower still as it adopted the top of a concrete topped sea wall. Reassuringly a substantial metal and wooden fence on the seaward side prevents an accidental fall into the marsh for all but toddlers or accompanying pets.

Wales Coast Path taking the seawall by red Wharf bay, Anglesey, photographed by Charles Hawes

Every so often there were passing places or perhaps they were intended as pausing points for bird spotters. At any rate these little spaces had become tiny pop-up galleries for passing creatives, who had adorned several with installations of whatever came to hand.

Decoration of the seawall at Red Wharf Bay, Anglesey, photographed from The Wales Coast Path by Charles Hawes

 

Decoration of the seawall at Red Wharf Bay, Anglesey, photographed from The Wales Coast Path by Charles Hawes

 

Decoration of the seawall at Red Wharf Bay, Anglesey, photographed from The Wales Coast Path by Charles Hawes

Decoration of the seawall at Red Wharf Bay, Anglesey, photographed from The Wales Coast Path by Charles Hawes

I found these additions delightful, but they were trumped by natures contribution of a hedge of Backthorn in full blossom….

Blacktorn hedge by the seawall at Red Wharf Bay, Anglesey, photographed from The Wales Coast Path by Charles Hawes

….and by the stunning display of tall, backlit,  golden reeds.

Reeds bythe seawall at Red Wharf Bay, Anglesey, photographed from The Wales Coast Path by Charles Hawes

It was a gloriously sunny day by now, the light adding a warmth to to the marshy grasses, giving them an appearance of fields of wheat.

marshes at  Red Wharf Bay, Anglesey, photographed from The Wales Coast Path by Charles Hawes

A short-growing variety maybe

Seduced by the tide still being out and by a man walking his dog in the distance, I  decided to chance my luck of heading straight across the bay to Red Wharf Bay village.

View across Red Wharf Bay, Anglesey, at low tide, photographed from The Wales Coast Path by Charles Hawes

I know, you don’t have to go on

As I neared him I could see that he was hemmed in by  the Afon Nodwydd that enters the bay and flows out to the sea. A cursory look at the map would have told me this and I felt slightly foolish as I made my way back to the shore to take to the road again and the bridge crossing the river.

My compensation was a pleasant walk just above the shore as the bay curves around to the north, crossing several small steams that flow into it.

Stream flowing into  Red Wharf Bay, Anglesey, photographed from The Wales Coast Path by Charles Hawes

The Ship Inn was doing a good trade and I was tempted to have a break, but I was tiring and feared that if  I stopped, starting again would be all the more difficult, so I pressed on.

The Ship Inn, Red Wharf bay, Anglesey, photographed from The Wales Coast Path by Charles Hawes

Anne and I ate there when we stayed at Plas cadnant. Just saying.

A caravan site forces the walker to divert inland for a while, which was irritating and deprived me of discovering if they had the usual naff gardens.

Caravan park south of Benllech, Anglesey, photographed from the Wales Coast Path by Charles Hawes

A fairly huge chunk of the coast lost to walkers.

It seems that this development is destined to further obstruct the walkers seaward views.

caravan park south of Benllech, anglesey, photographed from The Wales Coast Path by Charles Hawes

But I have seen much worse intrusion elsewhere on this journey and I was soon allowed to beach walk again on Benllech Sands.

Benllech sands, Anglesey, photographed from The Wales Coast Path by Charles Hawes

Nice looking this way

At the far end of the beach the town and another caravan park occupies the hillside, but it’s all in a pleasant sea-sidey kind of way that you would expect.

View to Benllech from the beach, photographed from the Wales Coast Path by Charles Hawes

My cousin Sally, who I was staying with, had given me clear directions to her home and as I was in good time I allowed myself a little sit on the promenade for a little people watching.

Benllech beach, Anglesey, photographed from the Wales Coast path by Charles Hawes

Three lads putting considerable efforts into digging a hole in the sand were particularly intriguing. To start with they seemed the wrong age to me to be playing with sand. Ageist of me I am sure.

Benllech Beach, Anglesey, photographed from the Wales Coast Path by Charles Hawes

Maybe there is nothing else to do in Benllech

But I could not fathom why they seemed so industrious in their hole making. Were they intending to bury something or somebody? I had an uncomfortable feeling that they were up to no good. None the wiser I abandoned my deliberations and headed up the hill.

I was greeted by Sally with the same infectious bossy goodwill that she had given me when she met me on the plane. Her daughter and her son were there who live on the wrong side of the island (according to Sally). Her husband Larry made up the party.

The son departed and by 6pm we were sitting eating and I was being plied with wine. By 7pm, as far as I recollect, Sally had me opening a fresh bottle of Glenfiddich. We had a great time catching up with what we had all been doing with our lives, Sally asking me several times to explain what a blog was. I suspect she might still not get it.

The bottle was empty by 9pm or thereabouts,  whereupon I staggered  off to bed. An excellent day all round.

{ 20 comments… read them below or add one }

Neil June 21, 2015 at 6:56 am

What a fabulous days walk. Splendid pictures, and the views across to Snowdonia’s snow covered tops. Fabulous. I’ll add this one to the list of ones I’m sad to have missed.
I’m sure Sally’s ‘bossiness’ is in direct correlation to how difficult you are to organise. She has my full support
Shame you missed her hint at not wanting to have to read your blog though. 🙂
Xxx

Reply

Charles June 22, 2015 at 9:38 am

Yes, a really nice day, although I reckon to have had many better ones on account of the time spent away from the coast – and there have been days without caravan parks!HaHa – nice thought about sally. Is that why she doesn’t use email, either? To avoid these comments?

Reply

John June 21, 2015 at 9:27 am

Why would I want to complain about you being a deviant? Or that you deny your readers a view of a dovecote merely because YOU have seen it before? But then, why should you complain about being forced to miss a bit of coast when you have just voluntarily missed a mile of it? I’m running out of words to describe your photos sans repetition and Neil has already commandeered “splendid”. I’m wondering though, are you using a new camera or has something changed in the way you process the photos? To my untutored eye, there’s something different about them compared to earlier posts, perhaps more of a “sharpness” but I can’t quite put my finger on it. There’s probably a more technical way to say what I’m trying to say but I’m not technical so I’ll just look and enjoy. Thanks.

Reply

Charles June 22, 2015 at 9:43 am

Indeed, a less uncomplaining correspondent would be difficult to imagine. No I haven’t changed the camera, or its settings, or the processing method or the amount of sharpening I apply (which I do automatically at the end) but as you know, light does vary a great deal and that can make a big difference. Sometimes I do try to bring out certain aspects of the images for what I consider to be a pleasing effect.

Reply

Neil June 22, 2015 at 10:37 am

These double negatives, eh ! 🙂

Reply

John June 22, 2015 at 10:46 am

You beat me to commenting! But at least Charles is learning to speak Welsh, if only in English! 🙂

Reply

Charles June 24, 2015 at 7:38 am

Hah ha. Like that.

Ian Warburton June 21, 2015 at 10:19 am

Hi Charles, I was down at Red Wharf Bay a few weeks ago, I’m sure you can walk round the headland to Benllech if the tide is out, or maybe only at low water Spring Tides?

Reply

Charles June 22, 2015 at 9:44 am

Well, don’t say I didn’t warn you. There is a river running into the bay!

Reply

Ian Warburton June 22, 2015 at 12:28 pm

Charses,
Perhaps I should have been more precise!! If you are already in Red Wharf Bay having crossed the river by the bridge and walked round by the Ship Inn, if the tide is out then you should be able to walk round the headland missing those caravan sites! Although the river is shallow where it flows over the sand, to walk straight across the bay on the shoreline would perhaps be foolhardy as the tide could catch you out!!
If you are interested I have numerous photos to share of the area, where can I email them to?
Although not directly related to this section of the coastal path, it may be of interest to fellow walkers to know that the new bridge over the Afon Dwyryd is due to open on the 13th July (see Pont Briwet on Face book) there by removing the 8 mile detour inland via Maentwrog. The original bridge was a single track toll with no footpath. This will also be a great for motorists driving from Porthmadog area to Harlech.

Reply

Charles June 24, 2015 at 7:38 am

Ah, yes, I understand now. Thnaks. I should have tried it. But having given myself an unnecessary extra half a mile or so, I would have needed a sign saying “beach route open at low tide”. Thanks for the offer of pics but my computer is groaning under my own contributions. And thanks for sharing the tip about the bridge. It was a bit of a detour but had some nice bits! And I liked Maentwrog.And its pub.

Reply

Anne Wareham June 21, 2015 at 11:01 am

“I can hear John typing away some complaint about my deviaition” – he failed to mention your spelling. (or punctuation.) Glad to see sheep again. Xx

Reply

John June 21, 2015 at 11:40 am

I am studiously ignoring the grammar/spelling/punctuation. Lost count when the headache developed! Just look at the pics……

Reply

Charles June 22, 2015 at 9:46 am

Try Paracetemol. Works for me. 😉

Reply

Charles June 22, 2015 at 9:45 am

Sorrie abaht me spellings. I blame my edukation.

Reply

Paul Steer June 21, 2015 at 10:11 pm

Lovely reflections.

Reply

Charles June 22, 2015 at 9:47 am

Thanks Paul. I am making you lost for words. You’ll be down to one word comments soon.

Reply

Neil June 22, 2015 at 10:38 am

Ah, but great words. Multiple meanings. 🙂

Reply

Kevin "the Yank" Hughes June 21, 2015 at 10:22 pm

I just felt a need to comment on the artistic beauty of the photographs, Charles! As a bit of a “hack” amateur photographer, I find your work inspiring. I would have said “splendid”, but I see that descriptor is already claimed…. Although in my youth I spent considerable time in my own darkroom in the basement, I realized a REAL job was necessary to support my expensive hobbies!

Reply

Charles June 22, 2015 at 9:51 am

Thanks so much Kevin. I am processing the images from RAW files so it does take a lot of time to get the images ready for the blog – I produce a High Res Jpeg at the same time, just in case I might try to make a book project out of the trip. I am what used to be called a semi-professional in that I also have never made my commercial photography my means of earning a living. I came close a few years back and then decided that I didn’t want the constant pressure or uncertainties in the market.

Reply

Leave a Comment

{ 1 trackback }

Previous post:

Next post:

Copyright Charles Hawes (2012)