Post image for Wales Coast Path: Pensarn to Ffynnongroyw

Wales Coast Path: Pensarn to Ffynnongroyw

November 15, 2015 · 9 comments

Date walked: 15th August 2015

Distance: around 14 miles

Map used: OS Explorer 264: Vale of Clwyd and OS Explorer 265 Clwydian Range

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I had stayed last night at Gwesty Glyndawr. I won’t be staying there again. I thought the safest breakfast was a bacon butty, which was fine.

It was a fresh morning, windy and sunny: invigorating. Just what I needed. A spit of sand stretched out into the distance, sandwiched between the grey shingle beach and the grey sea and sky.

Beach near Pensarn, photographed from The Wales Coast Path by Charles Hawes

For about three miles the path shares a cycle way, separated from a large caravan park by the railway line.

Caravan Park near Towyn, photographed from The Wales Coast path by Charles Hawes

A most suitable location for a caravan park IMHO

Way off shore, dozens of wind turbines were making their modest contribution to the National Grid, no doubt causing havoc to marine bird life in the process.

The Abergele Roads, photographed from The Wales Coast Path by Charles Hawes

Yes, I know that I have been kinder about the off-shore ones but the cost!

There is only so much fun you can have on a beach (discuss) so the caravan park dwellers have Kinghtly’s Famous Fun Park on hand in case no one can face another game of sandy cricket or football.

Knightly's Fun Park, Towyn, photographed from The Wales Coast Path by Charles Hawes

I think I’d rather catch crabs

I didn’t really take in what this massive sign addressing cyclists was about; I presumed it was some kind of safety thing.

Advert for caravan park, photographed from The Wales Coast Path by Charles Hawes

You have to admire the idea

Over to the left of me was the Kinmel Dunes Nature Reserve. I opted to walk on top of the path wall for a while in hope of seeing some nature but was disappointed.

Kinmel Dunes photographed from The Wales Coast Path by Charles Hawes

Yes people and grass are both nature but you know what I mean

Approaching Rhyl, the path takes a dramatic twist inland, borrowing the Pont y Ddraig…..

Pont y Ddraig bidge, Rhyl, photographed from The Wales Coast Path by Charles Hawes

Kinda funky for Wales

…. to cross over the River Clwyd……

View to Rhyl from the wales Coast Path, photographed by Charles Hawes

….and then re-assuming its promenade character into Rhyl.

Rhyl promenade, photographed from The Wales Coast Path by Charles Hawes

I’m sure this needed to be so wide to accommodate the hoards of holiday makers

A few hopeful fishermen had turned their back on the sea in hope of luck in fresher waters.

The confluence of the River Clwyd with the sea at Rhyl, photographed from The Wales Coast Path by Charles Hawes

Not that I saw any catches landed, but then you seldom do.

I’m sure that Rhyl has its good points but it wasn’t selling them very well.

Rhyl main street photographed from The Wales Coast Path by Charles Hawes

The gulls were making the most of the paddling pool, though….

Paddling pool, Rhyl promenade, photographed from The Wales Coast Path by Charles Hawes

Maybe it was intended to be a big bird bath?

…..and on the beach, the ever-optimistic detectorists were waving their wands over the empty beach, hoping to create some magic.

Metal detectorist on Rhyl beach, photographed from The Wales Coast Path by Charles Hawes

You never know…..

It was difficult to believe that this was the height of the summer holidays. According to the map I passed the Sun Centre without noticing.

Rhyl promenade, photographed from The Wales Coast Path by Charles Hawes

As summer weather goes, this wasn’t bad

This may seem bleak but I was perfectly happy to be marching along, enjoying the sound of the waves breaking onto the concrete-stepped defences.

Breakwater between Rhyl and Prestatyn, photographed from The Wales Coast Path by Charles Hawes

Plenty of seating room

I passed a little group of striking turnstones (I think).

Turnstones on the breakwater between Rhyl and Prestatyn, photographed from The Wales Coast Path by Charles Hawes

” I really can’t be arsed this morning”

Not much further along, a warning sign with plastic bouquets attached were a reminder that coasts can be dangerous places.

Warning sign at the breakwater near Prestatyn, photographed from The Wales Coast Path by Charles Hawes

I’m embarrassed to say that I did not stop to read the dedications

I don’t know if I had been sent into a trance by the the sound of the sea but it seems that I passed by Prestatyn without taking any pictures; the next thing I recoded was walking through the Gronant dunes.

Gronant Dunes, photographed from The Wales Coast Path by Charles Hawes

First time I have had sand beneath my feet today.

The path reaches the shore and as the tide was out I thought I would take the firmer surface of the beach. Here death was presented in several forms.

A seal.

Carcass of seal on beach near Prestatyn, photographed by Charles Hawes

Thankfully, beyond smelly

An oddly shaped balloon.

Deflated balloon on beach near Prestatyn, photographed by Charles Hawes

Dragon?

And a gull.

Dead gull on beach near Prestatyn, photographed by Charles Hawes

Three were lots of gulls on Presthaven Sands, just standing around as gulls do.

Gulls on Presthaven Sands, photographed from The Wales Coast Path by Charles Hawes

Waiting for Godot?

I found myself on the seaward side of a marsh that was just too squishy and lush to contemplate crossing to get back to the shore and although the map might have encouraged me just to carry on, I took Falstaff’s advice and doubled back to the beach.

Beach near Point of Ayr, photographed from The Wales Coast Path by Charles Hawes

weather’s picking up

I was rewarded with more death.

Beached jellyfish near Point of Ayr, photographed by Charles Hawes

This has become quite familiar during the course of the walk

I could see from sight and from my map that the beach would offer a secure surface again so had a pleasant mile, beckoned on by the Point of Ayr lighthouse. As I approached a couple of riders were trying unsuccessfully to get their animals to go into the sea. All they were prepared to do was paddle.

Horse riders and Lighthouse at Point of Ayr, photographed from The Wales Coast Path by Charles Hawes

The horses knew about the undercurrents

Suddenly this felt like a very significant moment in this two-and-a bit year project. This was the last open sea on my path (and the most northerly point of mainland Wales); I was about to enter the Dee Estuary and the lighthouse was a very clear marker of this turning point.

Point of Ayr Lighthouse, photographed from The Wales Coast Path by Charles Hawes

Could do with painting

As if to emphasise this change of direction, a tall way-marking post pointed the route off the beach.

Wales Coast Path way-mark on Point of Ayr beach, photographed by Charles Hawes

After the curious little settlement of Talacre, the sea was now replaced by the marshes of the Point of Ayr Nature reserve.

Point of Ayr Nature Reserve, photographed from The Wales Coast Path by Charles Hawes

The topography of the estuary dictated a brief sharp right turn, skirting two sides of the gas terminal.

Point of Ayr gas terminal, photographed from The Wales Coast Path by Charles Hawes

I love a good gas terminal

Perimeter road of the Point of Ayr gas terminal, photographed by Charles Hawes

Not sure why this was here

Passing through a path of scrubby woodland, my attention was caught by a monkey which had been hung very deliberately from a branch of a tree.

The monkey only has one ball but it is a big one

The path follows the railway line that I had been walking by on or off for several days before taking an underpass….

Underpass of railway line near Talacre, photographed from The Wales Coast Path by Charles Hawes

… and then heading across a field towards the village of Ffynnongroyw. It had been a long day and I did not want to miss my pub, so my anxiety rose a little as I walked down the main street passing several watering holes. The Linegar Inn was the very last building, just set back from the A548.

It was round 4 when I arrived. My room was facing a courtyard at the back; I loved it.

Room in the Linegar Inn, photographed by Charles Hawes

And the wifi worked!

Contemporary, spacious, comfortable and the large bathroom had a bath. Time for a cup of tea, a leisurely soak and  a snooze before supper. Perfect.

Later: although I was very happy with my room, the main part of the pub was just awful. Bare floors, a massive TV dominating the room, nasty musak playing and it had no real beer. I was shocked. I was glad that it was still relatively warm outside so I had my (perfectly nice) burger at a table outside with a couple of glasses of Chardonnay. How can people get things so wrong?

 

 

 

 

{ 9 comments… read them below or add one }

Paul Steer November 15, 2015 at 7:54 pm

What no comments ! It is a breathless walk – were you conciously speeding up toward the finish line ? I like the distressed lighthouse – very textural and indicative of the weather it must face season on season.

Reply

Charles November 17, 2015 at 11:58 am

Well, a few now! Thanks for yours. I might have been rushing the writing of it up; I don’t remember speeding up as I walked. Yes, I see your point about the lighthouse.

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John November 15, 2015 at 9:16 pm

Paul bemoans the lack of comments. When I read this post this morning (Sunday) and reached your “significant moment” my first thought was that if I didn’t comment, maybe, somehow, your walk would last a bit longer. In this 2+ year coastal walk we’ve had life, death, playtime, vistas, fences, caravan parks, a diversion from Porthcawl to Cornwall, ….. ; a broad experience that none of your other walks could deliver. Do we have one or two instalments left before I stick that label on my new watering can in tribute? And will a breakfast of bacon and a dinner of burger bring forward the demise that the killjoys who would have us eat nothing but Brussels sprouts predict?

As your link will indicate, that lighthouse will probably be left to disintegrate into a wreck. And a bit of history will be lost. The road to nowhere will go on being a road to nowhere. And we will go on being thankful that someone walked the walk and photo-ed the photo. And missed that run-down Sun Centre. Though the people of Prestatyn may never forgive you.

And maybe those bare floors were a response to the number of walkers calling in with muddy boots ….. Easier to clean than carpets.

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Charles November 17, 2015 at 12:04 pm

Thanks, John, for your extended contribution!Indeed it has been a wide-ranging experience. But don’t forget the sheep. We,like sheep,…..
Two instalments to come!I hope you enjoy them. You will be mentioned in despatches.Yes, I indulge myself with much unhealthy eating when walking.
I thought you were quite poetic here. I gather the Sun Centre is closed. Come to think of it I think I did pass a big building that was being refurbished.
Nope, those floors were not for walkers benefit. Walkers like decent beer.

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Anne Wareham November 16, 2015 at 10:30 am

“I love a good gas terminal”

Love it – one of your best. Xxx

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Charles November 17, 2015 at 12:05 pm

Why thanks, love. High praise indeed.

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rob grover November 17, 2015 at 10:07 am

Do you tell your B&B hosts that you are writing a blog, or just a select few of them?
The hanging monkey was a great spot – wild-eyed with anger at having his drum pinched, but ready to whack anyone who ties to pinch his ball. Great.

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Charles November 17, 2015 at 12:06 pm

Good question. I seldom tell anyone. Which is silly as it would guarantee some extra visits. I thought many times that I should leave one of my blog business cards on the pillow when I leave. Too late now! Yeah the monkey. Almost surreal.

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David Marsden November 21, 2015 at 7:22 am

I’ve sometimes mentioned that I write a blog to B&B owners but all they want me to do, really, is post on Trip Adviser (I don’t). What a day? Death, gas terminals and a frankly scary monkey. Was the latter a warning of some kind do you think? Like a shrunken head? It is a jungle out there, Charles – do be careful. I can’t say I share your love of gas terminals but I like that you like them and that they make you happy and I look forward to more examples. (Not bothered with the dead animals though, ta). Dave

Reply

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Copyright Charles Hawes (2012)