Ruggedly beautiful, the north coast of Anglesey has a unique coastline of rocks, small bays and headlands and is a delight for walkers. Cemlyn is recognised for its National Nature Reserve and is a designated Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty and home to the rare spotted rock rose.

Renowned for its breeding colonies of Sandwich, common and Artic terns, Cemlyn Bay is a hive of seabird activity in spring and summer. Headland paths offer dramatic land and seascapes during autumn and winter. The brackish lagoon is separated from the sea by a remarkable shingle ridge.

The Cemlyn and Llanrhwydrus circular walk is a truly atmospheric three-mile walk. If you time it right you'll see the sun setting into the Irish Sea. There's ancient pre-history here plus memories of more recent human achievement and memorials of loss.

From the Bryn Aber car park, walk out past the monument towards the headland. Turn left through the kissing gate and either follow the coastal path or walk along the beach. You might find grey seals hauled up on Craig yr Iwrch, the rocky island on your right. Enjoy the wonderful sea views and smells as you walk along the coast. If you have time, it's well worth making a short detour to Llanrhwydrus Church. This lovely little building is one of Anglesey's oldest spiritual sites and one of very few pre-reformation churches on the island.

The burial ground contains two significant graves. Here lies Second World War air gunner Vivian Parry from nearby Plas Cemlyn who won the Distinguished Flying Cross (DFC). Nearby is the grave of a Norwegian, Christen Osuldsen. He was master of the 'Thomas Humphreys' which hit the Skerries rocks in a gale while sailing from Liverpool to New York in 1867.

When you reach the little bay of Henborth be sure to look for the Henborth drumlin - a rock formation that looks like a beached whale. Turn left through the kissing gate.

Henborth drumlin. Drumlins are glacial deposits that expose the geological make-up of their surroundings going back hundreds of millions of years. They are rare things in Britain and this is a particularly fine example.

Walk on through the kissing gate towards Hen Felin (Old Mill) and cross the bridge. Turn left onto the lane and walk back towards Cemlyn Bay and the National Nature Reserve sheltered by the shingle ridge.

After you pass Fronddu, turn left up the lane. This takes you past the Cemlyn lagoon, established in the 1930s by Captain Vivian Hewitt of Bryn Aber. Captain Vivian Hewitt was known as 'the modest millionaire'. His interest in birds led him to build the first dam and weir at Cemlyn, replacing tidal saltmarsh with a large and permanent lagoon which he intended as a refuge for wildfowl. He was the first man to fly from Wales to Ireland, possibly explaining his interest in migrating birds.

Follow the lane over the causeway and back to the car park. Look out across the lagoon: in summer more than 1,000 terns nest on the islands in the lagoon, while in winter it provides a sheltered haven for many varieties of water fowl. You should now be back at the Bryn Aber car park.


An easier variant, and one only lasting one hour instead of two, the the shingle ridge walk.

Go out of the car park and turn left, over the bridge and onto the shingle ridge. The ridge, known as Esgair Gemlyn, was formed by the process of longshore drift. Esgair Gemlyn. The profile of the ridge is changing all the time, inching inland every year with the action of tide and weather. Some coastal plants such as Sea Kale, Sea Campion, and Yellow Horned Poppy thrive on the shifting stones.

Walk along the ridge towards the eastern car park. To your right is the Cemlyn National Nature Reserve, an internationally important seabird colony. Tern colony. In summer the air is filled with the sound of chattering sea birds which come here to breed. This is one of Britain's largest nesting populations of Sandwich terns. There's a tern viewing area on the ridge where you can watch these elegant birds close-up as they chase and dive.

When you get to the car park at the eastern end of the ridge, turn right and walk down the lane past Tyddyn Sydney farm. At the road junction, bear right and walk along the lane past the National Trust farm at Plas Cemlyn. Turn right at the road junction and follow the lane back over the causeway and past Bryn Aber, back to the car park. Note that the bridge access from the car park can be flooded at high tide.

There is a shop, parking, a tea-room and toilets available at Plas Newydd House. Assistance dogs and dogs on leads are welcome. The terrain is undulating, there are kissing gates and a beach or coastal path. The return is on a country lane. Those in wheelchairs will need assistance but the route may be modified to make it easier.


Location : Cemlyn, Anglesey

Transport : Holyhead (National Rail) then bus . Bus Routes : Amlwch to Holyhead route stops at Tregele (45 minute walk).

Opening Times : Always open

Tickets : Free

Tel : 01248 714795