Our pick of the best 4 walks on Pen Llŷn

Over the course of 2016 we featured different walks in each of our magazine editions. Here we have compiled them in case you missed any.

Read on for 4 marvellous hand picked walks across the Peninsula, fully tried and tested by our wonderful editor Jo Toft. 

1.Edern – Morfa Nefyn

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DISTANCE: 4 miles

DIFFICULTY: Moderate – some rough and marshy ground

SUITABLE FOR KIDS: Suitable for older children who can walk a few miles and cope with uneven ground. There are some steep sections and open drops along the coastal path which are not suitable for young children!

FACILITIES: Parking at the National Trust car park in Morfa Nefyn; village shop and pub in Edern.

TIME: Approx 1 ½ hrs

ROUTE:

Start at the National Trust car park in Morfa Nefyn. The first section of the walk is on roads; exit the car park and turn left. After a short way turn right on to Lon Las, then right again at the end of the road to join the B4417 which takes you out of Morfa Nefyn towards Edern. As you leave the village you’ll see Garn Fadryn in the distance to your left.

There is a wide footpath and within 10 minutes you’ll reach the Edern sign. As you enter the village the path takes you over a footbridge which runs parallel to the double arched road bridge. Continue on through the village, past a small shop and Y Llong/The Ship.

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The bridge at Edern

Keep on until you reach a large, imposing chapel on your left. Take the right turn opposite the chapel onto Lon Cae Glas. This quickly becomes a minor road which wends its way through farmland. After about a mile you’ll see Bryn Gwydd on your right, just after this, as the road bears to the left, there is a gate on the right hand side which leads you to a public footpath.

After a short way you’ll see a cove ahead of you as the path begins to fork. Take the higher path, to the right, and follow it as it bears right along the coast. This section of the walk offers some spectacular coastal views. You’ll pass a couple of interesting rocky coves and you should also be able to see Nefyn & District Golf Club’s famous ‘point’ in the distance. Continue along this path which hugs the coast. Take care as it’s uneven in places and there are a couple of steep drops so make sure you keep a tight hold of any children!

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The little cove where the path forks

This part of the walk may become a little boggy so pick your path carefully and take care not to slip. You’ll reach a series of three bridges which take you over the boggy ground and across a small inlet. Once across turn left and onto the coastal path; hug the coast and follow it around until you reach a short path which crosses the golf course and joins up with the private road from Porthdinllaen. As you meet this road turn right and follow it back along the golf course, through the golf car park and along the road back to the National Trust car park.

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The three bridges save you from the sometimes boggy ground

VARIATIONS:

If you like a walk that includes a pub lunch there are two options; either begin and, as this is a circular walk, therefore end, in Edern which gives you the opportunity to enjoy lunch at Y Llong/The Ship or deviate slightly from this route and take a detour to the Ty Coch at Porthdinllaen. To do this simply turn left rather than right once you have crossed the golf course, follow the main track to the left, it will shortly bear right down a steep hill and into Porthdinllaen. From here you can either retrace your steps, continuing the walk as you would have otherwise, or take an alternative route across the beach from Porthdinllaen to Morfa Nefyn, then up the hill past The Cliffs and back to the National Trust car park.

TOP TIPS:

– Walking boots are a must as this walk covers uneven ground!

– This walk is not advisable in wet weather or after a heavy rainfall as the ground can become quite muddy/boggy in places.

2.Aberdaron

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DISTANCE: 5 ½ Miles

DIFFICULTY: Moderate – several steep uphill and downhill sections

SUITABLE FOR KIDS: Unsuitable for young children

FACILITIES: Car park, public loos, shops, cafes etc in the centre of Aberdaron

TIME: Approx 2 ½ hrs

ROUTE:

Begin at the National Trust visitor centre in Aberdaron. From here turn left, following the road uphill directly behind the car park. Even at this first stage of the walk the views are striking, looking down towards the village and across the sea to Ynysoedd y Gwylanod, the Seagull Islands. On a fine day you may see Colin Evans’ bright yellow boat ferrying passengers back and forth to Ynys Enlli/Bardsey Island which lies just a short way around the coast.

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The view as you start the walk

Continue uphill until you see a National Trust sign for Porth Simdde and a kissing gate which leads onto the coastal path. Follow this well-trodden path, continuing for some time with farmland to your right and the sea to your left. You will shortly come to an unusual bench which has been carved with the wording ‘Time and tide wait for no man.’ It’s just one of many lovely spots on this walk to pause and take in the view.

From the bench continue along the path; you will begin to descend the first of several sets of steep steps which leads to a foot bridge at Porth Simdde. On the other side of this bridge more steps lead you back up onto the path. Continue to the left along the grassy path and you will eventually pass the remains of small cottage to your right. Make sure you keep to the higher path which continues to wend upwards through an area of fragrant gorse bushes. The path follows the coast around the grassy headland. This is a very pleasant stretch of the walk and there are clear views towards Ynysoedd y Gwylanod to your left.

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A fantastic view from the early section of the walk

Pass through a small wooden kissing gate marked with a coastal path sign and continue to follow the path which leads you towards Porth Meudwy, the embarkation point for passengers to Enlli. Descend the (steep!) steps to the pebbly cove of Porth Meudwy: opposite you’ll see another footbridge, cross this bridge, go up the steps and through another wooden kissing gate. It must get muddy here at times as someone has thoughtfully laid a plank on which to walk.

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Steps down to the footbridge at Porth Simdde

Continue along this path and you’ll shortly see more steps rising ahead. At the top of these steps follow the path as it runs alongside a field, twists and turns and takes you up yet more steps to a rocky outcrop known as Craig Cwlwm. This is a good place to stop for a drink and take in the impressive view which has likely remained unchanged for thousands of years! Continue over this outcrop and hug the coast, (do not go through the metal kissing gate behind you as this leads inland).

This is a very scenic section of the route and you’ll soon find yourself walking along the edge of a beautiful but somewhat dangerous looking cliff. The waters below are the most fantastic blue. A little further on there is a series of large holes in the ground, a badger sett perhaps?

You’ll shortly reach a kissing gate with a National Trust sign for Pen y Cil. Go through the gate and continue uphill – you’ll soon be greeted by clear views of the enigmatic Ynys Enlli. The path continues uphill and past a small cairn. If you pause at the cairn you can also see the old coastguard hut at Uwchmynydd.

Continue past the cairn to a small metal kissing gate. Turn left and continue through the next gate, following the coastal path signs. The path takes you through a field, past a National Trust sign for Bychestyn and continues along the rough ground of Mynydd Bychestyn headland.

When you reach a five bar field gate, go through it and onto a small track, which will gradually become a larger track and eventually a road. Once you’re on the road you’re on the home straight! Continue along the road, passing Bodermyd Isaf on your right and a small post-box on you left. Further along the road you’ll pass the National Trust farm of Cwrt and the small parking area above Porth Meudwy.

Soon after you will reach a T junction, turn right and continue on to the next T junction. Opposite the junction you will see a sign for Ffynnon Saint/Saint’s Well, one of a number of holy wells in the area. Turn right again at this junction, continue downhill and you’ll shortly be back in the centre of Aberdaron where there are a number of shops, cafes and restaurants where you can enjoy a well-earned drink or a treat – we chose an indulgent Glasu ice cream from Y Gegin Fawr. You might also be lucky enough to spot the resident village heron who likes to perch above the Spar shop!

TOP TIPS:

– remember your camera as the views along the coastal path are stunning

– take binoculars as you may spot seals and puffins along this stretch of coast

– take a bottle of water as some of the steep steps are tiring, you may well want to pause for a drink and a rest!

3. Tudweiliog

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DISTANCE: 4 ½ Miles

DIFFICULTY: Moderate – There are some steep and eroded sections which require care

SUITABLE FOR KIDS: Suitable for older children who can handle the eroded paths and rock scramble at Porth Towyn!

FACILITIES: Public toilets in Tudweiliog, small cafe (Cwt Tatws) en route, The Lion Hotel (pub) in Tudweiiog.

TIME: Approx 2- 2½ hrs depending on stops.

ROUTE:

The walk begins in the centre of the small village of Tudweiliog on the northern coast of Llŷn. From the small shop/post office walk downhill in the direction of Edern. You will shortly see a public footpath sign pointing along a track to your left, towards Tyn Llan Caravan Park. Follow this track towards the entrance of the caravan park; here take the footpath to the right, through a kissing gate and into a field. Follow the left side of the field towards the next gate. Ahead are panoramic sea views and to the right the mighty Y Eifl/The Rivals.

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Looking back along Porth Towyn

Go through the next gate, continuing straight on, with the hedge on your left, until you reach a third gate. Continue along this track and through Towyn Farm. Here you will reach a small public road, in the opposite field is the charming Cwt Tatws (see more about Cwt tatws on page 16), though near the beginning of the walk it’s a lovely place to stop for a drink. From Cwt Tatws continue across the field until you reach the point where the track splits. Go left here, down to the small beach of Porth Towyn, a wonderfully quiet beach with the same ‘squeaky’ property as nearby Porthor/Whistling Sands. At the far end of the beach carefully (!) climb the rocks up towards the grassy slope, following a lumpy ridge until you meet up with the coastal path. As you reach the path turn to your right. You will shortly come to a grassy slope, follow this down to a kissing gate and across the wooden footbridge over a pretty stream. Here there is a small collection of caravans just above Porth Ysglaig. Continue past these, across a small track and follow the footpath up a grassy slope ahead.

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The pretty stream above Porth Yslaig

At the top of this slope continue through a wooden gate and along the path. Tread carefully here as it is very eroded in places! The path reaches a field where you will see a trig point to the right. Continue towards this, following the bank to the right side of field. Below lies Porth Cychod, and several small corrugated iron huts which store fishing gear.

From here you will be able to see the end wall of an otherwise ruined cottage which once stood in the most beautiful location on the grassy clifftop just above Porth Ysgaden. In the 1700s the cottage was home to the customs officer in charge of Porth Ysgaden; this small bay forms a natural harbour and in the 18th and 19th centuries it was an important little port, bringing a variety of legitimate goods from Liverpool as well as cargo smuggled by local ‘pirates’. The cottage was abandoned in 1935 and is now a much photographed landmark.

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The much photographed ruined house at Porth Ysgaden

Continue to follow the coastal path signs. You will pass the Grade II listed lime kiln on your right, another relic of Porth Ysgaden’s past. Continue through a wooden kissing gate, into the small car park, past an old coal yard, through another wooden kissing gate and over a small bridge. Follow the path up a grassy slope and along a wide grassy path. You will come to another kissing gate, pass through the gate and to your right is Porth Gwylan. You can either explore this little cove or continue on the walk. We chose to follow the rough track and steps down to this pebbly cove and stop here for lunch.

From Porth Gwylan return up the steps and rough track, heading for the footpath sign which can be seen to the right. Here turn left along a track to a farm and continue through this farmyard until you reach a rough track. You will see a sign to show that you are now on National Trust land. Continue along this track, turning left onto a lane at the end of the track. Follow the lane which bears to the right past Tyddyn Mawr farm. Continue along the lane as it bears right again until you reach the junction with the main road. Here turn left, signed Tudweiliog and continue back into the village. You will pass The Lion Hotel, a good place to stop for a drink or bite to eat.

VARIATION:

Rather than starting in Tudweiliog you could park at Porth Ysgaden and stop for lunch at The Lion Hotel mid-way through the walk.

Remember! The early and latter parts of the walk take you through farmland – please be considerate, do not startle the animals and make sure you close all gates behind you!

4. Abersoch – Llanengan

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DISTANCE: 2 ½ Miles

DIFFICULTY: Easy

SUITABLE FOR KIDS: Ideal for children

FACILITIES: The Sun Inn in Llanengan

TIME: Approx 2hrs

ROUTE:

The starting point for this walk is the playing fields on Lon Engan in Abersoch. From here head uphill passing Maes Awel and Gwydryn Drive. At the top of this short hill you’ll see a small post box; take the road to the right marked ‘unsuitable for heavy good vehicles’. Continue along this road, past Tan y Gaer; the road soon becomes a narrow lane, thickly bordered by hedges rampant with blackberry and hawthorn bushes.

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Much of the walk is on quiet lanes and is easy enough for small children

Continue past a small sign which says ‘public footpath/private drive’ and round an S bend past a caravan site to the left. Eventually the lane splits, take the right hand track (which leads to Bron y Gaer) following the public footpath sign until you reach a small kissing gate on the left. From the kissing gate walk up the small grassy bank until you reach a sunken path; from here there are views across to Mynytho and Foel Felin Wynt, also known as ‘the jam pot’.

The route continues along the sunken path until you reach what appears to be an old mounting block. From here follow the yellow arrow along the lower side of another small bank and you’ll shortly find yourself above a meandering stretch of river where you may often spot heron and a pair of mute swans. The road which links Llangian and Llanengan is clearly visible, as is Porth Neigwl/Hells Mouth in the far distance.

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Approaching Llanengan – not far to the pub!

Follow the grassy path gradually downhill until you reach a kissing gate under an overhanging blackthorn thicket. As you go through this gate the path narrows to a sheep track which takes you steeply downhill until you reach the road. Here turn left and continue along the road into Llanengan. As you reach the village you’ll see a tall chimney rising up out of the hillside ahead, a relic of the village’s lead mining past. Continue into the village, past the 16th century St Engan’s church to your right.

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The meandering river

If you fancy a bite to eat or a spot of liquid refreshment then turn right at the junction just after the church and head to The Sun Inn, otherwise turn left at this junction. You now have a choice of routes back to Abersoch; either continue along the road through the village or turn right up the steep hill which leads into Sarn Bach. (If you choose this route then follow the road downhill past Ysgol Sarn Bach, turn left and continue along the main road back into Abersoch.) If you choose to continue along the lane through the village (a slightly easier route for young children) you will notice an old water pump set back on the left. This used to be the sole water supply for the village, pumping spring water from a well below.

As you leave the village you’ll notice a junction with a post box set into a wall on the right. Here again you can choose an alternative route by turning right and following Bwlch Road towards Sarn Bach and continuing into Abersoch that way, or you can remain on the road you’re already on.

If you remain on this road you will soon be greeted with sea views and should be able to make out St Tudwals East and the former Abersoch lifeboat house at Penrhyn Du. From this point it’s not far until you reach the stretch of road on which you started and drop back down into the village by the playing fields.

TOP TIPS:

This is a great walk for children as it’s just the right length for little legs and can easily be broken up with a lunch stop at The Sun Inn. To make it more interesting why not give them a nature list to tick off along the way – the hedges are filled with various easily identifiable bushes such as blackberry, hawthorn and gorse, along with various flowers (depending on the season). There is also plenty of bird life; you will more than likely spot mallard and mute swans and perhaps even a heron on the river. You could also include landmarks such as the lead smelting chimney, Llanengan church and the water pump.

We hope you enjoy!

-Jo Toft and the We Love Llŷn Team


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A Day out in Criccieth – by Jo Toft

Last spring Jo Toft spent a day in the lovely local town of Criccieth and wrote all about it for our Spring 2016 edition of We Love Llŷn magazine. Read on to find out what she thought of her day out!


 

Criccieth is located on the south side of the Llŷn peninsula, close to Porthmadog and Llanystumdwy, and is very much a destination in its own right. Known for its landmark ruined castle and its connection with former Prime Minister David Lloyd George, Criccieth is a small town which became a popular Victorian seaside resort thanks to its station on the Cambrian Coast railway line.

We took a short drive to spend the day in Criccieth and found ourselves with plenty to do!

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10am – Cadwaladers

Our first stop is the famous ice cream café and coffee shop, Cadwaladers, located on Ffordd y Castell/Castle Street. Opened in 1927 by the Cadwaladers family, and originally a general grocery store, this is where the Cadwaladers story began when Hannah Cadwalader started making batches of vanilla ice cream in the window of the family shop. Her original recipe was a closely guarded secret, reputedly including ‘6lbs of shan’t tell you’ and ‘a great deal of love and care’. Eventually the ice cream became the family’s main focus and by the 1960s the shop had become an ice cream parlour. To this day Cadwalader’s vanilla ice cream is still made using Hannah’s secret recipe.

At 10am on a grey February morning, in the midst of Storm Gertrude, it’s not an ice cream we’re after but a strong coffee! We sit in the window at the back of the café and watch the huge waves crashing into the breakwater, a lone surfer attempting, and failing, to catch a wave. It’s a nice spot and in the summer would be the perfect place to enjoy an ice cream sundae and take in the view.

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11am – Criccieth Castle

The ruined castle really dominates the small town of Criccieth, standing high above the rows of houses on a rocky hill. Despite the howling gale we decide to venture up to the castle. As its low season the visitor centre, a small cottage which has been converted into a shop/ticket office/exhibition isn’t open, however, there is a gate at the side of the building which is left open, allowing free access to the castle ruins.

Although the castle appears to sit high above the rest of the town the path up to the ruins is actually quite short, it is however steep and there is only a simple handrail so it might not be suitable for everyone and certainly not for unruly young children!

Originally built as a Welsh castle, Criccieth was used as a royal residence and prison. Llywelyn ap Iorwerth began work on the inner ward around 1230, the outer walls being added in the 1260s by his grandson Llywleyn ap Gruffudd. By 1283 however the castle was in the hands of the English; Edward I did much to fortify it, heightening the walls and towers and strengthening the North Tower in order to mount a siege engine. Just as well he did as by 1294 the castle was under siege during a Welsh revolt. On that occasion it held, however it was sacked and burnt in 1404 during the uprising of Owain Glyndŵr. It was never rebuilt and consequently is now in a poor state compared to some of our other local castles – See our castles feature on page 52

There are some information boards mounted on the castle walls, along with a map of the original castle outline, so you can just about picture what it would once have looked like. Standing on the sloping ground in front of the ruined gatehouse towers you can image that with men stationed atop the tower, flags flying and the sturdy portcullis down this would have been an imposing and impressive sight.

Perhaps most impressive today are the amazing views which can be seen from the ruins; beyond Criccieth itself you can see along the coast in both directions with Harlech easily visible on a clear day. Due to the incredibly strong winds we stay within the castle walls, such as they are, but on a less blustery day we could’ve ventured outside the walls and enjoyed the view from one of the various benches that are dotted around.

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1pm – Dylan’s

After nearly blowing away whilst exploring the castle we are cold and hungry and more than ready for lunch. We arrive at Dylan’s and despite it being a miserable Monday in February there are quite a few other people already seated.

We thoroughly enjoy our lunch here – see our ‘review and recommend’ feature opposite.

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2.30pm – Beach Walk

Following lunch we have a brief walk along the esplanade which runs parallel to the beach. Thanks to Storm Gertrude there’s sand and stones all over the road and some quite impressive waves to watch. In the summer this is a popular beach, it’s an easy walking distance from the town and there is a large car park just yards away. This summer Dylan’s will be serving coffees and ice creams on the beachfront from their newly restored retro van. Perfect.

If you want to extend this walk continue along the esplanade (which becomes Lon Felin) past the lifeboat station on your right, and up the hill towards the castle. Once you pass the castle rising up on your left you’ll begin to descend towards Marine Terrace, an imposing row of Victorian houses, now mostly B&Bs and guest houses, presumably originally built to cater for Criccieth’s Victorian holidaymakers. Here you can choose to walk along the road or the beach, which once again runs parallel on your left. Follow the road to your right, over the railway line and you’ll find yourself back on the main road which runs through the centre of the town, here you’re in the perfect place to wander along Criccieth’s main street and enjoy its many shops.

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3.30pm – Antiques Shops

We browse the antiques shops, of which there are several. Criccieth Gallery Antiques/Yr Oriel Criccieth is my favourite, it’s a real treasure trove of jewellery, pottery, silverware and small pieces of furniture and is well worth a look if you want to add some unique touches to your home, or if you’re looking for a quirky little gift. There are several other antiques and gifts shops along the high street so take your time and enjoy a good browse.

It’s also worth taking a look at Rousell’s Auction House if you can catch it when it’s open – auctions have been held here regularly on the last Saturday of the month, however the Auction House is currently in the process of being transformed into a shop which will sell a ‘range of home wares, gift ware, antiques and curios’.

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4.15pm – On the trail of David Lloyd George

David Lloyd George, Prime Minister between 1916 and 1922 grew up just a few miles down the road from Criccieth in the village of Llanystumdwy (where you can visit his childhood home). In later years he lived in Criccieth and before we head home we have a quick drive around in search of his family home, Morfin. We find this not far from Cadwalader’s, on a small side street called Tanygrisaiu Terrace. It’s an unassuming building, one of a short row of three storey Victorian terraced houses, and was Lloyd George’s home for around 10 years and also the location of his very first solicitor’s office. If this sort of historical trail interests you then take a look at Criccieth Memorial Hall, set back from the main road the Memorial Hall is a large public building, the foundation stone of which was laid by Lloyd George in 1922.

5pm – Time for another coffee!

Here at We Love Llŷn we need at least two strong cups of coffee to see us through the day – before we leave Criccieth we grab a takeaway coffee from No. 46, a lovely coffee shop right on the main street. Along with Cadwaladers and No. 46 there’s also the Blue China Tea Rooms, located close to the Lifeboat Station and Caffi Cwrt, a quaint little traditional cottage tea room set below the grassed area just off the main road, both of which are worth a visit if you’re spending the day in Criccieth.

-Jo Toft


 

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