Once again, although the full walk was from Aberporth to St Dogmaels, we had already completed the last little bit when we walked from Moylgrove to St Dogmaels (and stopped at Aberteifi deliberately) so we have saved ourselves a mile today. Today also completes the 6th and final leg of the Ceredigion Coastal Path.
So we drove to Aberteifi and parked the car. We were deliberately early so that we could have some breakfast in a dog friendly cafe – the castle cafe. Excellent food and service.
We then walked to the bus stop, more in hope than certainty that a T5 bus would be running on a Sunday as we had seen different reports from various timetables – but it was, and not only that but it was also free – result. So we got the bus to Aberporth, and the bay where we had started from when walking the other way from Aberporth to New Quay.
Unfortunately the first thing that the coastal path did was to take us inland, up a steep road to go around a firing range. So the first mile or so was not very interesting, and we ended up walking back past where the bus had come.
Once we got past the firing range we turned down a road, across a field and then through some woodlands…
Before finally hitting the coast again.
From then on the next few hours were all about going in-land to find a bridge to cross over the eroded cliffs and then back out to the coast again, in and out, in and out.
It was another gorgeous day, and this was a really spectacular bit of coastline, except for these two clowns who spoiled the view.
The walk took in Traeth Y Gwryddon and Pen-Peles.
Before Mwnt came into view – well to be more precise the conical hill of Foel y Mwnt which is a very tall point, but thankfully not on the coastal path. It shelters a church and a secluded beach, as well as the important things like a toilet and a cafe.
Leaving Mwnt the path then headed up again quite steeply until we were almost as high as the hill anyway.
The original coastal path then went inland to avoid a nature reserve and farmland around Cardigan Island, but when I looked at the coastal path app I could see that the path now stays on the coast a lot longer than the book or app suggest.
So the yellow line was the old coastal path and we were the blue dot, just before we had to turn inland and head across fields. There was some confusion during the fields as one of the signs was not clear (it was on a gate which had been taken off the hinges) but I guessed right and thankfully won the vote.
The coastal path then followed a road down the hill to the river Teifi estuary. At this point there were a few spits of rain and we decided to stop for a cuppa and some cake. We stopped at the Gwbert Hotel which claimed to be “dog friendly” and asked if we could come in with Bonnie – the receptionist said “one minute while I check if there are any dogs in the conservatory” which seemed a strange thing to say – surely you know whether you allow dogs in or not without having to check if there is one there??!! But then she returned and said “Yes there is a dog in the conservatory……so you can’t bring your dog in, you have to sit outside”. Baffling – so they are dog friendly, but only for the first dog that arrives, after that any additional dogs are not welcome. So be warned.
So we carried on along the path alongside the river and then it diverted off over some farm land, but not before we were overtaken by someone in more of a hurry.
The farmland seemed endless, field after field then a left then a right then another field, until eventually we came out by a car park and a boat restaurant.
Up the hill we went, and amazingly we passed by the Castle Cafe again – in our rush for food this morning we hadn’t realised it was actually on the coastal path.
And to finish the day we ended by the otter statue and the bridge.
Today’s walk was 12. 2 miles, making 506.4 in total – yes we have topped the 500 mile mark. And only 368.8 miles to go now.
Today is another day where we have already done part of the walk – so although in the book the walk is from St Dogmael’s to Newport (Parrog) we have already walked from St Dogmael’s to Moylgrove (with the kids, well the other way from Moylgrove to St Dogmael’s actually) so today is now slightly easier.
We drove to Parrog car park and waited for the bus. This has to take the record for parking close to where the bus picked us up from. This bus only runs on a Thursday and Saturday in low season, and adds a 3rd day per week from the end of May.
The bus dropped us, and quite a few other walkers, in Moylgrove village and we knew it was about a mile to get to the coast. The others all set off while we were still getting ourselves sorted and it took a while for us to find the woodland path to get to the coast but it was a lovely walk with a stream running below us and plenty of spring flowers.
Then suddenly we appeared at the familiar sight of Ceibwr Bay and the walk proper could begin.
The first landmark is Witches Cauldron, which is a collapsed sea cave.
A little further along the path dropped to sea level but on the left was a beach with the tide going in and out right underneath us.
Of course, after going down we had to then climb the other side, for some further magnificent views including Bwn Bach which is a small perfectly formed archway and then along the top of Traeth Cell-Howell.
We reached a spot where we could see a further drop ahead of us and then a massive set of steps, and decided that this would be a good spot to stop for lunch to build up the reserves for the climb.
We had a couple more descents to sea level and climbs back up again, including a chance for Sharon to re-live the stepping stones experience.
And then the sight of Newport Sands appeared around a corner.
A very steep descent followed…
and by now the coats were off, the sun was shining and the sky was a deep blue – typical walking weather for us. Newport Sands came ever closer.
The path then dropped almost to the beach before frustratingly going back up again, so at this point we decided to do a little bouldering and get ourselves down onto the sands and enjoy the beach.
After a coffee and cake stop we headed across the golf course, and followed the river inland to get to the bridge.
With the tide out we were able to see the Pilgrim’s stepping stones, which we had made a pilgrimage of our own to see previously.
The walk then continued back along the other side of the river to Parrog.
And to the car-park where we started. A day of contrasts and beautiful weather, and 9.2 miles of new coastal path for us with over 215 storeys of height. For those keeping score (like me) that makes 494.2 miles completed and 381 miles to go (roughly)
It took 3 separate trips up here between 7th October 2016 and 21st March 2019 but we have finally completed the 8 legs which make up the 93 miles of the North Wales element of the coastal path. Sadly Cleo never got to do any of this section but Bonnie has seen some of it.
This page details the walks we have made on this section of the coastal path in the order that they flow around the coast, and not necessarily the order that we walked them in.
9th October 2016Flint to Chester – 12.5 miles walked mainly along the Dee Estuary, and the end point was both rather dark and an anti-climax with a very small plague to mark the end/start of the coastal path. But it was a flat day if rather quiet with not much to see.
8th October 2016Prestatyn to Flint – 18.5 miles of coastal path today, starting with a teddy bear’s breakfast. We saw sand dunes, a haunted lighthouse, were held up by escaped sheep, a dragon and Flint Castle made for a very good day of walking.
10th October 2016Rhyl to Prestatyn and back again – 5 miles of coastal path on a 16.2 mile walk. Glorious autumn sunshine, a beautiful beach and lots of cake. Even saw some colourful seaside huts.
7th October 2016Colwyn Bay to Rhyl – a 10 mile walk today in quite chilly weather but it was very flat. We had time for pooh sticks with flowers, a little “wee” dance, some crabs and then our caravan had a view from the bedroom window of the coastal path.
5th May 2017Colwyn Bay to Llandudno – 12.2 miles of coastal path and again the weather was glorious. Little Orme, an incident with Sharon on/off the bike, the smallest church in the UK, Llandudno pier, and then around Great Orme.
6th May 2017Llandudno to Llanfairfechan – 12.1 miles where we chose the “flat” route. We had sand dunes, Conwy Castle, the smallest house in Britain, a scary route besides the motorway (with lorries 1 metre away from us) and our arrival in Llanfairfechan.
7th May 2017Bangor to Llanfairfechan – 10 miles from the Pier in Bangor, on a glorious day through woodland and beach, and a wild bird reserve. Then Bonnie took a dip in a lake and had to be fished out before we finished with ice cream and a snooze in the sun.
21st March 2019Caernarfon to Bangor – 10.9 miles along the Menai Strait with a lot of bike path and roads, as well as some woodland and a finish on the beach to get to the pier before it got dark.
We hope you enjoy reading about the North Wales section of the coastal path and are inspired to follow in our footsteps. There are moments of pure beauty on this part of the path, but also a lot of roads and flat parts which break up the day. 8 days seems about right and we did it in 91.2 miles all in which is a lot less than the Isle of Anglesey.
After a long walking weekend we decided on a helpful short walk before our long journey home – helpful because by doing a few miles of this 13.5 mile total walk today we can then, the next time we come up, complete this walk and 4 or 5 miles of the next walk to Trefor. Why is that important? Because that then means on the following walk we can add the optional detour of climbing Yr Eifl which is a 564m peak with fabulous views and a mile beyond that we can see an Iron age hill-fort at Tre’r Ceiri. This is getting like snooker – always thinking two walks shots/walks ahead!!
Anyway, back to today and back to Morrisons in Caernarfon again but this time we turned left not right. Almost immediately we walked around a new housing development, and found a small blue pier.
The walk then took in the harbour with all it’s sail boats.
And those were really the most interesting bits of the walk today. After that it was all flat and mostly just along the coast on quite a grey day.
Ahead of us was the Caenarfon airfield and Aviation museum on the penisular, across the other side of the Y Foryd.
But in order to get over the river Afon Gwyrfai we had to head in land for a mile to get over a bridge.
We had planned to try to get to Dinan Dinlle and then get the bus back to Caernarfon, but with the buses only every 90 minutes we decided to stop at the Saron bus stop and head back. Well it was either another 2 miles of walking and a 50 minute wait or head back now and get coffee and cake. And coffee and cake always wins. So we stopped at Saron for today and will pick up from there another day.
Only 5 miles today, but that makes 54 miles over the whole weekend. And we have got below 400 miles to go now – 475.8 miles completed and 399.4 miles to go. Time to hang up the shoes until our next walking weekend in May.
After Saturday’s long walk we decided to have a rest day on Sunday (well my feet decided it really) so instead we ……went for a walk in a forest hunting red squirrels (and found only one). Well it wasn’t a coastal path walk at least, although that didn’t make much difference to the feet.
But Monday was a new day and the feet felt up to doing a walk again, so after planning various options and changing our minds we decided on around 12 miles of walking from Amlwch to Moelfre which had the advantage of being the next walk in the book and kept the flow going nicely around Anglesey in an anti-clockwise direction. So we drove to Moelfre, parked up and got the bus to Amlwch. At the bus stop we met the same people we had seen on 2 previous days – they were getting off the bus at Moelfre and walking back to Amlwch, so we knew we would see them again at some point in the day provided we didn’t get lost.
The bus at Amlwch left us with a short walk to the port, our starting point, and the first task of the walk was to undertake the obstacle course.
The path then took us around the edge of the port…
After the port the walk soon changed to one of rugged coast line with outcrops ahead of us to aim for.
The first landmark in site was the Trwyn Eilian Lighthouse, which actually looked like a regular house from the back. But first there were more hills and streams to cross.
Just before Porth Eilian is an ancient well called Ffynnon Eilian.
And then up the other side of the hill via some steps.
But the climb was worth it when you get this sort of a view.
We didn’t detour off the path to go up to the lighthouse as we weren’t sure if it was even open.
The next landmark to aim for was Ynys Dulas, which is a very small island just off the coast. Legend has it that the Lady of Llysdulas Hall used to row out to the island and leave food, so that when sailors got shipwrecked on the island they could eat. Unfortunately the current owners of Llysdulas Hall aren’t quite so obliging and the coastal path had to take a detour inland across some fields at this point to avoid going across their land.
After crossing the fields we met the walkers from the bus this morning – they had got further than us, but they did have a head start. With hindsight the rest of the walk proved to be flatter than the part we had completed as well. We shared a few stories of our parts of the walk and said our farewells – they had already completed the whole of the mainland Wales coastal path and just had Anglesey to go during a 2 week holiday.
A road took us down to Dulas Bay – and although the other side of the Bay was tantalisingly close we knew we had to go inland across the marshland again to get around the bay.
The Bay narrowed enough for a bridge to get us over the river which feeds it “Afon Goch”, and by now we had eaten all our rations and were looking for food.
We found a pub on the hill (the Pilot Boat Inn), but unfortunately it was closed, so we used their picnic bench as a chance to change our socks and drink the last of our coffees.
Then up the hill past the sheep and we came to Traeth yr Ora, not sure if is related to Rita Ora?
After some smaller hills the path took us down onto the beach, Traeth Lligwy, and hope of some food at the cafe.
But unfortunately the cafe was closed and being painted.
The lifeboat station came into view, and then the lifeboat cafe, but at 4.28pm it had shut 2 minutes early.
The coastline around here had large steps in places, which are man made due to extensive quarrying of the limestone directly from the cliffs. This area is also famous for the Royal Charter passenger clipper which was shipwrecked here on its way back from Australia in 1859. 459 people lost their lives, only 40 survived and large amounts of gold were recovered on the beach from passengers returning with personal hoards from the gold mines.
We rounded the corner and there was the end point to our walk in the Porth Moelfre.
And there was a pub in the Port, no food being served for an hour but at least we got a very nice coffee, and they were dog friendly for Bonnie as well. So well done to the Kinmel Arms for being so friendly and welcoming.
And that was our walk. 12.9 miles completed today and 1308 feet of height, at a very slow 6 hours and 21 minutes, but that was always going to be the case with my blisters. This takes our total up to 470.8 miles completed and 404.4 miles to go. A short walk tomorrow before we head for home.
Day 3 of our walking long weekend, and today was the longest day of the weekend. Our walking bible put the walk at 14.5 miles, so we allowed all day for it at a gradual pace. Unfortunately, having parked at Llanddona, we again had the walk up the steep hill to the bus stop before we could even get going.
Bonnie seemed to enjoy the bus ride today:
We got off the bus on the mainland side of the bridge, so that we could walk back across the Menai Suspension Bridge as part of the day. Built by Thomas Telford and completed in 1826, the bridge was designed for horse and cart, and was used to bring cattle across to the mainland for sale – before the bridge they had to be swum across the Menai Strait.
The arches on the bridge just fit a bus through, but I wouldn’t fancy that route day in and day out.
The coastal path then dropped down the hill leaving the bridge behind us.
There are 4 small islands in the Menai Strait but from this side you could see that one was connected to Anglesey by a bridge.
After a mile or so the path turned left up a steep road, and away from the coast. For the next few miles there was no path by the waters edge and no pavement on the coastal road, so the coastal path took a ‘high ground’ route, giving great views of Snowdonia.
After some “debate” about whether to walk through a swampy field as per the coastal path sign or to take a slightly longer route along the road (the road won) we started the descent into Beaumaris and it’s colourful houses.
The tide was high at this point, and up against the sea wall.
We stopped in Beaumaris for a nice coffee and cake at Jolly’s coffee House and Patisserie. Highly recommended for lovely fresh cakes, and an amazing bank vault in the basement. We will be returning to Anglesey just to spend time looking around the castle and enjoying the lovely shops and eateries of Beaumaris. But for today, suitably refreshed, we headed past Beaumaris Castle (the castle was never finished as it was built too late during the conquest of Wales) and along the road for a short section as the path was closed for drainage works.
And then back along the shoreline around Friars Bay till we came to a sign….
The sign said that at high tide we should head inland, but if we were more than an hour either side of high tide we could go along the beach. We were definitely more than an hour past high tide and the tide was going out so we decided to chance it. The first part was a lot of rock climbing.
We had to climb over, and under, a few fallen trees, and then we came to a point where there was a rocky outcrop and no way over it, so off came the shoes and socks (and in Andrew’s case the trousers as well as he couldn’t roll the legs up) and we waded around the first rock, only to find a second one, so the wading continued after our freezing toes had braved the stony beach …….ouch ouch ouch ouch.
We dried off our feet and got dressed, only to see that in those 10 minutes the tide had gone out far enough that we could have walked around the rocks without getting wet – you have to laugh – or cry!!
The coastal path was then a mixture of road and coast up to Porth Penmon.
Suddenly in front of us was a series of buildings which make up Pemmon Priory Church. There is a pigeon loft of the grandest design, Abbey ruins, a church and a well. All founded by St Seiriol.
If you wanted to drive to the lighthouse the next part was a toll road, but we were walking so it was free.
Beyond Trwyn Du Lighthouse was the island of Priestholm, also known as Puffin Island, where St Seiriol set up a monastry in the 6th century which was accessible at low tide. Apparently the puffins were wiped out by rats in the 19th Century and today it is protected for the cormorant colony.
After a refreshing coffee at the lighthouse cafe we continued around the coast. According to our book the end was almost in sight now, and the coastal path should have headed inland to cut off quite a bit of the corner. But unknown to us they had decided to move the path right up against the coast, adding an extra mile or more to an already very long wall.
We had various paths, fields and then marshland to navigate across and by now it was gone 5pm and starting to get cold.
Here are various pictures of us walking across fields, and by now Bonnie was very tired and refusing to walk any further so we took turns carrying her.
A steep descent followed to get to the beach and at around 6.30pm we made it to LLanddona beach.
Finally we hobbled to the bridge and the end point – with the car just a few more steps away.
So today was a massive walk. 16.6 miles and over 1,470 feet of elevation.
The running total is now 457.9 miles completed and 417.3 miles to go. A rest day tomorrow to let the feet recover, and then hopefully two more days of walking if we are up to it.