A few years ago, on a four-day family trip around Anglesey, we visited Llandwyn Island or Ynys Llandwyn in Welsh. Llandwyn Island, in my opinion, one of the most beautiful places in Wales.
We came upon this beautiful place almost by chance. For some reason or other, I have always been drawn to islands. Living by the sea has always been my dream but unfortunately, it hasn’t come true yet. I’ve always found islands interesting, something special and somewhat mysterious.
When we were visiting the area in the morning I saw the island on the map and we were intrigued. Knowing nothing about the place we entered it into our GPS and set out for our adventure.
Oh boy, what a place! To date, it still holds a special place in my memories.
Sometimes, most unplanned adventures are often the best ones. Wouldn’t you agree?
Where is Llandwyn Island?
Lllandwyn Island is a small tidal island off the west coast of Anglesey in northwest Wales. From the island, you are rewarded by the most magnificent views of Snowdonia and the jagged mountains of the Llŷn Peninsula. The island is also a part of the Newborough Warren National Nature Reserve and Forest.
Llandwyn Island Access
Llanddwyn is not quite an island. It remains attached to the mainland but it can be cut off for up to two hours at high tide. Therefore I would strongly suggest that you check the Llanddwyn Island tide times before setting out.
We accessed the island by car which is probably the best way. We parked at Newborough Warren Car Park (fees apply). You can find all the information about the car park, fees and its facilities as well as lots of information about the area and its many walking routes on the Natural Resources Wales website.
However, the only way from the car park to the island is on foot which is about 1.5 miles. You can either reach the island by one of several forest walks or stroll along the beach.
As you can see above, the walk to the island through the forest was so lovely and refreshing. We were so lucky to have such amazing sunny weather that day. After visiting the island, we went back to the car park along the beach where our son had a fantastic play with a bucket and “stick”.
I guarantee you that you will not be disappointed when you visit the Newborough Beach also known as Traeth Llanddwyn. The blue flag beach is a 3½ mile-long, sandy beach reaching from Llanddwyn Island to Abermenai Point. Relax while you peacefully walk to the lighthouses.
Llanddwyn Island is mostly famous for its connection with Saint Dwynwen, the Welsh patron saint of lovers. St Dwynwen’s Day is celebrated on 25th January in Wales and it’s an equivalent to Valentine’s Day. Perhaps that’s why I also heard people referring to the island as a Love Island.
According to a legend, Dwynwen was a 5th Century princess, one of 24 daughters of the Welsh King Brychan Brycheiniog. There are several different versions of the story but they start with her love for a young man named Maelon. Her love for Maelon was frustrated, either because he was too forward and she rejected his advances or her hand in marriage was promised by her father to another man.
Dwynwen was visited by an angel who gave her a potion which Maleon drunk, turning him into ice. Through further prayers, she gained three wishes through which Maelon was restored to normal. God undertook to protect all true lovers and Dwynwen was allowed to forget Maelon and live out the rest of her life in solitude.
Afterwards, she lived as a recluse on Llanddwyn Island until she died in 465 A.D. Her church on the island became a shrine in the Middle Ages. Besides, there was a holy well on the island which was said to predict the destiny of lovers, depending upon whether fish swam in its waters.
Dwynwen’s dying wish was to be carried up to watch the sunset through a cleft in the rock which still stands to the north-west of the ruined church to this day.
Twr Bach Lighthouse
There are two old lighthouses on Llanddwyn, Twr Bach and Twr Mawr, which means Little Tower and Big Tower in English.
Twr Bach is the older of the two, standing on the small island next to Llanddwyn Island and you have to cross a small causeway to get to it. This somewhat enigmatic structure is a conical shaped building without any windows. Constructed in the early 1800s, it is now a Grade 2 listed building. Nowadays, it hosts the present warning beacon to shipping. Besides Twr Bach is the old lifeboat station which remained in service until 1903.
Twr Mawr Lighthouse
Dominating the cliff, you cannot miss the second lighthouse Twr Mawr which is situated at the far end of the Island. This lighthouse marks the western approach to the Menai Straits.
Interestingly, the lighthouse is very similar in design to the traditional windmills on Anglesey. Therefore, it has been suggested that it may have started life as a windmill. Built around 1845 it was decommissioned in the 1970s. Just like Twr Bach, it is a Grade 2 listed building too.
Ynys yr Adar (Bird Rock)
Bird Rock is a small islet off the tip of Llanddwyn. Would you believe that during spring these two tiny islets attract one per cent of the total British breeding population of cormorants? Moreover, the island also supports a wide variety of other seabirds such as shags and oystercatchers.
Excitingly, you can also spot some red squirrels in the Newborough Forest. Anglesey is a stronghold for the UK’s only native squirrel species due to the eradication of grey squirrels from the island.
In conclusion, this spontaneous day trip was one of the best ones we have ever had. We just love going to Wales. This beautiful island is just an amazing place thanks to its abundance of wildlife, rich history, geology and stunning views. I only wish we could have spent more time on the island and I believe that one day we will return.
I hope you enjoyed this post. Have you been to Llandwyn Island? Perhaps you are planning to go? Please let me know in the comments below I would love to hear from you.