The 125 mile Anglesey Coastal Path is a circular route around the Welsh island and was officially opened in June 2006 by the First Minister of Wales at that time, Rhodri Morgan, who unveiled a plaque to mark the start and finish of the walk at St Cybis Church in Holyhead. It includes the whole coastline of Anglesey including Holy Island and there are very many places you can stop off and visit along the way. It falls within a designated Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, which covers 95% of the coast and goes directly through 20 towns and villages. It passes through landscape that includes a mixture of farmland, coastal heath, dunes, salt-marsh, foreshore, cliffs and a few small pockets of woodland and includes a National Nature Reserve. It also passes a vast amount of ancient and industrial remains including burial mounds, hut circles, holy wells, churches, brickworks and other industrial buildings. All of this links up with village services and convenient bus stops.
Of the total distance, 60 miles is public rights of way, 28 miles of public highway, 9 miles of permissive path and 28 miles of other access including National Trust and Forestry Commission land. Some of the route also follows the shoreline and goes along beaches, sand dunes, river estuaries and other such areas that have tidal restrictions, details of which can be found here. So remember to check out the tide timetable for the section you are trying to cover before setting out, see our tide tables links page within our reference section.
The map below shows the whole path and some of the places we have locations guides for on Photographers Resource have been highlighted, and as a quick way for you to get to these we have hot-linked them. So putting your mouse over any of the symbols on the map will bring up a description, and pressing the mouse button will reveal the page with more information on that location.
On the Coastal Path official website it has been broken down into 12 sections each between 6-14 miles a section, and therefore it could be completed in 12 days. For each of their sections they have PDF documents which explain the route in detail and also PDF section maps to help you identify not only points of interest, but some public services such as toilets, cafes, bus stops etc. We have linked to each of these PDF guides for each section in the grids below.
This guide starts at Holyhead, the official start point, and travels clockwise around the island, linking to other location guides we have on places of interest along it.
Holyhead to Porth Trywn Bay (12 miles)
The official start point of the walk is St Gybi's Church in Holyhead. Before leaving this church take time to take a look at Caer Gybi Roman Fort which is on the same site. From Holyhead make your way south around the coastline of Holy Island to Penrhos Coastal Park, where on route you will pass a number of monuments, the Anglesey Aluminium Chimney, The Battery, The Bathing House and a Toll House. Once through the park you will need to join the A5 to walk across the Inland Sea to get back onto the Anglesey mainland. This first half of this section of the walk takes you along beaches and some inland to the Alaw Esturary, however it is not safe to cross the estuary on foot, so you need to get to the main road at Llanynghendedl and here you can catch bus 61 to Llanfachraeth where you can pick up the path again and wander through more beaches on your way to Porth Trywn Bay.
Porth Trwyn Bay to Cemaes (12 miles)
This section of the path takes you through some stunning scenery much of which is owned and cared for by the National Trust. As you reach Porth Swtan (Church Bay), take time out to visit Swtan Folk Museum which is housed in the last remaining thatched cottage on Anglesey. Continuing on you get rocky coves and steep cliffs passing a sea arch and island at Ynys y Fydlyn all the way to Carmel Head, where the path passes in front of the lower of the beacons, Carmel Sea Markers, known locally as Two White Ladies. Looking out to sea at this point you will see West Mouse and The Skerries with the Skerries Lighthouse.
From here you continue along the coast until you reach the Cemlyn Lagoon part of the Cemlyn Nature Reserve and Bay. Take time out to see the wildlife here, particularly between May and August when it is a Sandwich Tern breeding colony. Walk along the shingle spit and stop off at the viewing platform to marvel at this spectacular. From here continue on across the fields to the Wylfa Power Station road and pass the Wylfa Nuclear Power Station visitors centre and onto Cemaes, pass the harbour and into Bridge Street, where this part of the walk ends.
Cemaes to Amlwch Port (7.5 miles)
From Cemaes the path is now on rocky cliff tops to Porthwen, before then following low rocky cliffs into Amlwch Port. At the start of this part you pass Cemaes Bay, which was the centre of the coastal trade and of the smuggling that went with it, before Amlwch harbours was built in the 18th century. It has 5 beaches, 3 of sand and 2 of pebbles. Then you go up some steep steps to join the National Trust cliff path, Penrhyn Mawr. From here you walk around headlands and across fields and down lanes passing points of interest such as Llanbadrig Church, beaches including Bull Bay where you may see seals, porpoises and dolphins playing in the warm waters, and a watch tower.
Remains of Llanlleiana Porcelain Works
At Porth Wen you could visit the secluded 3 sided bay or climb up onto the headland and admire the views, with the remains of old brickworks below, including the brick bee-hive shaped kilns and tall chimneys. This small natural harbour was very busy in it's day producing silica bricks from quartzite in the nearby quarry and it was exported by small coasters.
From Porth Wen walking over streams and through woodland, around more headlands and bays, including Bull Bay which once was a busy shipbuilding port, you reach the town of Amlwch with its Catholic Church which looks like an upturned boat, and its historical harbour whose history was first with the copper trade and then with shipbuilding. During the 18th century, at its height, it was the second largest town in Wales with a population of around 10,000. It grew to this with the rise in popularity of the copper which was extracted from nearby Parys Mountain, once the copper industry died down it then became famous for ship building and this history is detailed in the Heritage Museum, Almwch Copper Kingdom, at the harbour. Whilst at the harbour also take a look at the Amlwch Lighthouse.
Amlwch Port to Moelfre (12.5 miles)
This is the second highest height gain of the total walk. Initially the walk starts in gentle heather terrain, but once you go past Point Lynas it becomes steep, although there are some great views eastwards. This section is a little remote, but ahead are the red sandy expanses of the beaches at Dulas Estuary, Traeth yr Ora and Lligwy.
Up on the hill amongst the heathers, as you leave Amlwch Port, you will pass some old copper bins, which were used to store the copper ore that was extracted from the ground below. From here the next main focal point is the Point Lynas Lighthouse. After visiting the lighthouse and headland back track along the path and head towards Fresh Water Bay, from here you continue slightly inland and at Porth y Gwichliaid you enter the Dulas Estate section of the path, which has restricted access up to 30 days a year, notification will be on site or you can call the county council to find out when the restrictions apply. Continue on towards Porth yr Aber where out to sea you can see Ynys Dulas (island), about a mile offshore, and from here you now head inland to the road system down to the Dulas Estuary, with it's red sand. Walk along the side of the estuary to the car park and then make your way across the fields to the Pilot Boat Inn before going back across the fields to Traeth yr Ora Bay and follow the coastline again past Lligwy Bay, the site of the 1859 disaster with the loss of 450 lives when the ship Royal Charter got into difficulty, also with their red sandy beaches and onto Moelfre. Finishing this section at the Dic Evans Memorial Sculpture outside the Seawatch Centre which gives a history of the lifeboat crews of this region, and some details on the 1859 disaster.
Moelfre to Pentraeth (6 miles)
As this section of the walk is shorter than most, you could take a slight detour off the path just after leaving Moelfre by walking along the A5105 towards Llanallgo and visit the 3 ancient structures of the Din Lligwy Hut Group, Capel Lligwy, and the Lligwy Burial Chamber. Getting back to the path you follow the coastline once again crossing a number of beaches until you get to Red Wharf Bay at Pentraeth where, at the car park, you can either follow the walk along the beach or take a detour along a tarmac lane next to some woodland where at a T junction you can rejoin the path at the shore of Traeth Coch.
Pentraeth to Beaumaris (12.5 miles)
This part of the walk takes in a lot of shoreline walking. You start at sea level at Red Wharf Bay and join the top of a sea wall for 500 metres, then down some steps to continue to follow the shoreline. From here you join a lane which eventually takes you onto Bryn Offa, a heathland owned by the National Trust, and you walk through the gorse and up and around the prehistoric remains of Bwrdd Arthur Hill Fort (Arthur's Table), sat on a limestone plateau. It is thought the main period of occupation here is the Prehistoric Iron Age but it was also used in Roman times. From up here you can get views of Red Wharf Bay which you have just left and also see Puffin Island and views of the Menai Straits. From here to Penmon Point the walk is more inland but because you are higher the views are spectacular.
When you arrive at Penmon Point the first landmark you'll come to is the Penmon Lighthouse, or Trwyn Du, but you can also glimpse from the shoreline Puffin Island, now a wildlife reserve for birds, but its history includes being home to St Seiriol and much later in the 18th and 19th centuries being a Semaphore station helping out ships to navigate across to Liverpool. From the point you walk along the track back towards Penmon and at the end of the single lane track, you come to Penmon Priory, the Penmon Dovecot, Penmon Cross and St Seiriols Well. From here you continue to follow the road until just past Trwyn y Penrhyn when you join the shoreline again and follow it all the way to Beaumaris.
Beaumaris to Llanfairpwll (12.5 miles)
Before starting the rest of the walk from here, take some time out at Beaumaris and take a look at Beaumaris Castle and the nearby 17th century Beaumaris Courthouse, and venturing up Steeple Lane will bring you to the Victorian Beaumaris Gaol, which is now a museum, but previously for a short time a jail, then a police station, then a children's clinic.
Now continuing with the walk, a large part of this section is on the road, but that doesn't distract from what is on offer along the way. At the first part, as you approach Menai Bridge, you get elevated views along the narrowest section of the Menai Strait and across to the mainland and the Snowdonia Hills. At Menai Bridge there is the Menai Heritage Experience with details of both bridges. The path goes under the Menai Suspension Bridge, built by Thomas Telford, that carries the A5 from the mainland. Once under the bridge you go through a hole in the wall and follow the path in a wooded area around the Eisteddfod Standing Stones coming back to the road that takes you to the Belgian promenade. At the crossroads with the causeway to Church Island, the path continues on, but before you do, you could leave the path for a short while and walk along the causeway to visit St Tysilios Church on Church Island.
From here rejoin the path and continue to follow the route towards Llanfairpwll which next takes you under the Britannia Bridge, and brings the A55 and the railway from the mainland. Part of the next piece of the path takes you along the shoreline where a piece of it is tidally restricted about an hour either side of high tide, and where it leaves the shore is closed from 9pm to 7am. Continue along the shoreline past Nelson's Statue and through a woodland onto a lane a Pwllfanogl. The official path at this point takes a break as it has not been possible to get permission to go through the Plas Newydd estate, and starts up again at Moel y Don.
Once you have got this far it is worth taking a detour into the village of Llanfairpwll, that became famous in the 1800's as the village with the Longest Name in the World. Here a visit to Llanfairpwll Station you will get to see both the station building, station platform sign, and James Pringle Weavers Shop sign all supporting the longest name of 'Llanfairpwllgwyngyllgogerychwyrndrobwyllllantysiliogogogoch'. Also just outside of the village and you will have seen it on your walk to this point is the Marquess of Anglesey Column a memorial to the First Marquess and his heroics alongside the Duke of Wellington. You can climb the column and get some great views of the surrounding countryside.
Moel y Don to Llyn Rhos-Ddu (7.5 miles)
Before returning to Moel y Don to continue on the path you could stop off at Plas Newydd and find out a little more about the 1st Marquess of Anglesey in their museum, and the family who once lived here. The current Marquess continues to have an apartment within the house, although it is now owned by the National Trust.
This part of the walk is probably the flattest section and for the majority of it, it keeps to the Menai Strait. You will be walking through wooded farmland adjoining the shore, with the Snowdonia Mountains and Caernarfon Castle providing a backdrop on the other side of the water. Moel y Don was a shipbuilding port, with a ferry across the Strait to Port Dinorwic on the mainland, the timbers of one old ship can be seen in the muddy sand on the beach.
Stepping Stones over the River Braint Photo by Bryn Roberts
At the point this section joins a road for a second time here, you will first past the Anglesey Sea Zoo and a little further on Foel Farm Park. The road ends at the shore and you continue along the shoreline from here, and when you are almost opposite Caernarfon Castle turn right and over a stile and from here the path leads inland until you reach the River Braint. Follow the River bank until you reach a large set of stepping stones that takes the path across the River at this point to the end of the section at Llyn Rhos-Ddu.
Llyn Rhos Ddu to Aberffraw (13 miles)
From this point you will be walking through a National Nature Reserve of dunes, conifer forest and huge beaches as well as farmland and an estuary. Starting from Llyn Rhos-Ddu car park follow the sand track and the waymarked signs alongside Newborough Forest on your right. On your left is Newborough Warren Dunes, so named because of it's past rabbit population. At one time there were 80,000-100,000 rabbits caught here every year, but then in 1959 myxomatosis hit the warren and they were all wiped out.
At the end of the forest, ahead of you is Llanddwyn Bay but just before you get here follow the sign that takes you into the forest. At the small car park you can turn left and onto the beach and then follow it round to Llanddwyn Island, or alternatively you can pass the barrier and follow the track through the forest until you reach a small roundabout where turning left here, will take you across to Llanddwyn Island. On the island you can see the remains of a church, a row of cottages and the two Llanddwyn Island Lighthouses.
Trace your steps back into the forest and continue to follow the path through the forest until you reach the car park on the road. From here you walk alongside the Malltraeth Estuary and cross the River Cefni into Malltraeth. The sea is kept back from the village by the Malltraeth Cob, an embankment built by Thomas Telford at the end of the 18th century to reclaim farmland, at one time it was the centre of Anglesey's coal mining industry. From here the path goes back along the estuary until a track leads out on the road and into Hermon. Just after the village it turns left to take you back through fields and across to Capel Beulah where at this point you can choose one of two routes. At high tide you can continue along the road and over the old 18th century bridge, that was originally built when horse and carts were becoming more popular on Anglesey, into Aberffraw. Or if the tide permits you can continue across fields through dunes to Traeth Mawr and follow the shoreline and up the River Ffraw estuary into Aberffraw, which during the 7th century, under Rhoderic the Great, to the 13th century, under Llywelyn the Last, was considered the Capital of North Wales.
Aberffraw to Four Mile Bridge (14 miles)
This section is the longest piece and highlights the islands sandy beaches. From Aberffraw, once an important port, but now famous for it's impressive sand dunes, which can be as high as 30ft or more, you first take a walk along the top of an embankment parallel with the River Estuary, as the estuary widens the path leads onto the headland at Trwyn Du. From here it then goes down onto the shore at Porth Lleidiog and follows the beach to the other side where it goes onto a cliff edge path following the headland round.
At the road which goes back to Aberffraw it again follows the back of a beach at the point where it joins the causeway to Llangwyfran Church, surrounded by a wall to protect it from the sea. From here it joins a track across a stream and uphill, where at the top, across a field it then goes back down to the sea. The waymarked path now follows the coastline past the rocks of Ynysoedd Duon around a headland and to a car park at Porth Trecastell. From here the path goes around the edge of another headland and past Barclodiad y Gawres Burial Chamber at Cable Bay.
At the next bay, Traeth Llyden, there are two options depending on the tide, one that follows the beach followed by sand dunes and the other which starts on the beach and then through fields to join up with the road into Rhosneigr. Follow the road through the village and head towards the runway of RAF Valley. From here you are now walking along the perimeter fence of the airfield with the sand dunes of Traeth Cymyran and the sea on your left. At the end of the beach follow the field across to Trwyn and Carnau car park and from here follow the edge of the Inland Sea, which separates Holy Island from the Anglesey mainland. Just before Four Mile Bridge there is a sleeper boardwalk to take you over an area of marsh and from here you continue on through the fields and follow the road (B4545) over the Four Mile bridge (only 170 metres!) into Four Mile Bridge village on Holy Island.
Four Mile Bridge to Trearddur Bay (9 miles)
We are now on Holy Island. The first part of this section, from Four Mile Bridge, starts along the shoreline and then doesn't go near the coast, instead it goes inland through a woodland following a section of road down to Silver Bay. From here it then follows the coastline with rocky inlets, sandy coves and a series of striking cliffs in unusual colours. Up on the headlands you will get panoramic views of Snowdonia, Caernarfon Bay and Holyhead Mountain, and also Ffynnon Santes Gwenfaen (St Gwenfaen's Holy Well) believed to have been used by pilgrims during the Middles Ages, who believed in the waters healing powers, it is surrounded by stone steps and seats. There are also two sea arches Bwa Gwyn and Bwa Du near Porth Saint before getting to the bay at Trearddur.
Trearddur Bay to Holyhead (12 miles)
This section has the highest point (720ft) of the whole walk as you climb up to the top of Holyhead Mountain, which gives stunning views in all directions. We start the final leg of this walk at the promenade of Trearddur Bay. From here the path travels around the first headland of Porth y Post which has no access on the 10th of December each year. It then follows the road a little before entering Porth Dafarch headland which is owned by the National Trust, the beach here is where divers search for gold from wrecked ships sent by Louis XV.
Continue to follow the coast round past Dinas Island from here there are panoramic views and some interesting rock formations around Dinas Stack and then on to Porth Ruffydd. At this point you can take the path that hugs the coast or take the one that heads towards the Holyhead Mountains, and at the RSPB car park you can then rejoin the path at Gors Goch. From here follow the path around Abrahams Bosom and onto Ellins Tower and South Stack Nature Reserve. Take time here to go in Ellins Tower to take in the wildlife views using the binoculars provided, but also at this point there is a good vantage point of the South Stack Lighthouse. Here you could take the 400 steps down to the lighthouse, where you will see an exhibition on wildlife, the engine room and can climb the lighthouse tower. Don't forget however after your visit you have to climb back up the 400 steps to continuing your walk. Before going to the lighthouse you could take a short detour to visit the Holyhead Mountain Hut Group, which is on the side of the road in a road opposite the RSBP reserve car park.
Once you're ready to rejoin the path, continue towards the Lighthouse viewpoint. Then continue on the coastal path and head towards North Stack, but again about half way along you could take another short detour up towards Holyhead Mountain and take a look at the Caer y Twr Hillfort. Get yourself back onto the path and continue on to the North Stack headland, with the remains of a storeroom that used to be the Fog Station.
From here you're now on the final leg back to Holyhead first going through the Breakwater Country Park, from here you will see the iconic Holyhead Breakwater that protects the harbour from the Irish Sea, and down to Porth Namarch before going up some steps to reach the headland at Ynys Wellt. Continue on round the headland and then down to the beach and past the end of the Breakwater. Now you have reached the lane past Porth y Felin bay with it's slipway and moored boats in the marina, and on to join the Promenade and past the Maritime Museum. The end is within sight but before going back to St Cybi's Church and the end of your journey, take one final detour to see the Salt Island Lighthouse at the end of Victoria Road in the Old Harbour.
Anglesey Walking Festival is for three weeks at the end of May and beginning of June and various guided walks are on offer around many of Anglesey's paths and takes in many of it's historic attractions. This 2010 PDF link will give you some idea of what is on offer, but the details of what is on offer will change year on year.
There are also 2 books available from the Llanfairpwll Tourist Office. These are the Isle of Anglesey Coast Path - Official Guide at £9.99 which includes information on planning the walk such as accommodation, use and frequency of public transport, seasonal closures and tidal restrictions, 12 day walk chapter sections with detailed route description and mapping and notes on points of interest encountered along the way. Also the Guide to the Isle of Anglesey Coastal Path for £1.99 that illustrates the entire route and includes 12 maps.
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