It was summer a few years ago when I and a few friends decided it would be good to go for a long distance walk and see some of the UK’s finest coastline. With the Anglesey Coastal Path falling within an Area of Natural Outstanding Beauty, this was the choice we made.
The Anglesey Coastal walk measures in at around 125 miles in total, though handily there are 20 towns/villages located directly on the route. This means taking on just part of the walk is easily done, making this walk accessible to most levels of walker at some point. Overall it took us 8 days walking to complete the full distance, plus one more day we spent in one of the villages on the route – from the information I can find it can take anywhere from 5 days to 2 weeks to complete the full distance.
We started walking from the Roman Fort (which encircles St Cybi’s Church in Holyhead), this is also the end point of the full circular walk. On the walk we saw some spectacular scenery, there is some really quite cool wildlife including; puffins, guillemots, seals and even the odd dolphin!
as well as beautiful Anglesey coast line.
Taking in the views of Anglesey
Along the route there are 4 working light houses, including the South Stack Light House – famous for being one of the UK’s most spectacular light houses, positioned on it’s own little island on the west coast. Local to the light house is also a nature reserve, so when visiting the lighthouse you may want to take some binoculars and do some bird watching. To get to the light house you cross a bridge after contending with some 400 stone steps (not the 365 mentioned in local legends), and yes that does mean would need to walk back up those steps! This for me was one of the more tiring aspects of the walk, but it was well worth the visit and the views from the top of the light house are amazing. If this is the primary point of interest to yourself you maybe interested in the Cybi Circular Route which is a few hours walk at just 4 miles long.
Although we went to Anglesey for the views and the good company, one of my primary wants was to see the famous Telford Bridge. Spanning almost 180m the Menai Suspension Bridge is considered by many to be Thomas Telfords finest work – and I agree. Along with this amazing bridge is the Britannia Bridge, which has seen both rail and road service over the years but today is the only non-dual carriage way section of the A55. Both bridges link Anglesey with the UK mainland.
One final attraction and association of note is that which is of course the longest single-word place name in the world, with 58 english letters (51 welsh) Llanfairpwllgwyngyllgogerychwyrndrobwllllantysiliogogogoch is a real tongue twister (seriously give it a try). The name means: St Mary’s Church (Llanfair) in a hollow (pwll) of white hazel (gwyngyll) near (goger) the swirling whirlpool (y chwyrndrobwll) of the church of St Tysilio (llantysilio) with a red cave ([a]g ogo goch). The best way to begin pronouncing it is to take a side step from the coastal path and visit the local railway station, on the platform is a fairly decent approximation of how to pronounce the name in english – though I did ask a local who told me simply to call it St Mary’s Church.
Anglesey Coastal Walking Advice
Covering the terrain is no easy task, indeed you need to be pretty alert most of the time as injuries on this route are fairly common place (another reason its better to do this walk in a group and not alone – though this I think was primarily people scrambling across areas of dangerous land), but the rewards are well worth it. The whole walk is pretty well sign posted, a saving grace if your map flies away in the wind like it did ours. Due to the nature of the walk it is advise you wear high quality walking boots throughout, ensure you’ve always enough drinking fluid (a hydration pack of 2 to 5L will be more than enough to get you through the day really) and of course you never know what will happen with british weather so take some wet weather gear with you. Obviously if you’re doing the whole walk you will be carrying more clothes with you too, investing in some walking poles will help take some of the strain (plus they give you some leverage on the tougher terrain). Also it is inherently a great idea to take your normal walking emergency supplies, so a torch, whistle, a knife, a compass, high visibility vest and don’t forget your dry liner.
Finally I have two pieces of advice:
1 – Ensure there is at least 2 mobile phones within the group and turn one off until it’s needed, running out of battery is a very bad idea in an emergency!
2 – Enjoy the local food and drink, the local (non-chain) bars are amazing value and there are some amazing people to meet (who I am sure can tell you many more interesting facts and stories that I ever could).
If you want to know more about walking or camping in Anglesey, or just want to know what there is to do other than walk in Anglesey it’s worth taking a look at the Visit Anglesey website.
Interested in Coastal Walks? Take a look at the “UK’s Best Coastal Walk” Pembrokshire