Llyn Peninsula, Gwynedd

Tread in the footsteps of medieval pilgrims while enjoying spectacular views of a wild, Welsh coastline

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The Llyn Peninsula is a beautiful, hilly arm of land tapering from Snowdonia’s mountains into the Irish Sea. Composed of pre-Cambrian rocks, the western extremity is partly covered with coastal heath, providing a habitat for rare wildlife.

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There are few villages here, and because of the area’s isolation, Welsh has remained the first language of most of the inhabitants. Children are taught in Welsh medium schools.

From the car park, follow a path to the headland above Porth Oer and go left above two small islands. Descend to cross a footbridge and, at the higher fence, bear right, heading uphill and ignoring a left-hand fork. Climb a ladder stile, continue with the sea on your right, cross a dip and ignore tracks on the left. Head towards the Mount Pleasant house below Mount Anelog.

At a wall corner, go right on a level path along the seaward side of the hill. Descend to a stile, slant left to another and go through two gates at Bod Isaf. Turn right on a track and, shortly after a gate, turn right to a short enclosed track. Bear right towards Pennant and, at the cottage gate, go right beside a fence and through two kissing gates. Continue uphill, slanting right to a point above the cliffs, enjoying the spectacular views there, then continue to the summit with its old coastguard station.

Descend a path through the heathland. Kept short by the strong winds, it provides a summer feeding ground for the rare chough. At Braich y Pwll you can admire the rugged northern cliffs before continuing above the fierce waters of Bardsey Sound opposite Bardsey Island.

A Christian settlement was established on the island in the seventh century and there are said to be 20,000 saints buried there. It was the destination of a pilgrimage route in the Middle Ages because three visits to Bardsey equalled one to Rome. At one time Bardsey had a king appointed by Lord Newborough. It is now a nature reserve.

On reaching flatter ground, look for the foundations of an old chapel. Below the cliffs you can still find a freshwater well, which was once used by pilgrims. Veer left to the inland side of Mynydd y Gwyddel and walk downhill beside a wall
to Porth Felen.

Continue above low cliffs, swinging left above Parwyd, then right and downhill to a house and lane. At a left bend, bear right to the coastal path. Turn left to Porth Meudwy, which is the embarkation point for Bardsey Island. Continue on the path and, if the tide is out, descend to Porth Simdde to walk along the beach to Aberdaron. Otherwise, reach the village by lane.

Aberdaron was a resting place for pilgrims on their way to Bardsey Island. After a break, take the lane uphill signed Porth Oer and turn right on a road signposted as a cycle route.

Go over a crossroads and, after the left bend, turn right on a track. After Ty Fwg, climb a stile on the left and three more stiles, and keep ahead through kissing gates to a track. Turn left to the lane, then right and left
to the start.

Useful Information

Terrain

Coastal and field paths. Some unsigned but with a few steep sections, too. 

How to get there
by car: Porth Oer is signposted off the B4413, west of Pwllheli.

By public transport:

Train to Pwllheli and bus 17 or 17B to Aberdaron, where you can join up with the walk.

refreshments

Y Gegin Fawr
Aberdaron, Pwllheli
Gwynedd LL53 8BE
% 01758 760359
Y Gegin Fawr (The Big Kitchen) was the communal kitchen where pilgrims ate before crossing to Bardsey Island. Specialities include homemade cakes and plenty of local seafood.

Map

Ordnance Survey Explorer Map 253.
Grid Ref: SH 166 295

More info

Pwllheli Tourist Information
% 01758 613000

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Visit Wales
www.visitwales.com