Twr Mawr Lighthouse
- Location: Anglesey, Wales
- Categories: Spring / Summer / Autumn / Winter / Marine west coast / Mountain / Coastal / Islands / Forest / Wood / Rural / Beach / Sea
- Duration: 2-3 Hours
- Distance: 4 Miles
Walking the trail:
- Summary: A short walk along the beautiful sandy beach of Llanddwyn Bay to see the picturesque Twr Mawr Lighthouse, and the mountains of Snowdonia on the horizon. One of the most stunning places in Wales. Best Enjoyed during sunrise or sunset depending on the tide.
I had 2 weeks of holiday to take off prior to Christmas 2019 and wanted to discover some new trails. So I decided to do a mini road trip around Wales for 8 days starting along the Pembrokeshire coastline. (Now a lover of spontaneous road trips after a fantastic NC500 Scotland road trip in the summer) This trip naturally led me northwards up the west coast of Wales onto the island of Anglesey. During my time on the island, I come across a photo of a particular iconic and stunning lighthouse, Twr Mawr. I knew I 'had' to see this beautiful place for myself.
I decided the ideal time to visit would be for sunrise, as the sun rising across Snowdonia would certainly give the best photos of the lighthouse and this stunning coastal area. As I was heading into the snow covered mountains for the afternoon, I wanted this to be a nice refreshing sunrise coastal stroll, hence this being a rather short 4 mile hike. However, this walk is a small section of the much larger Anglesey coastal walk, so you could spend many days walking this stretch of welsh coastline.
The lighthouse itself is on the small tidal island Ynys Llanddwyn. You can't access it when the tide is high so you need to check the tidal charts. Here is the link.
The best place to park is within Newborough forest at Traeth Llanddwyn/Llanddwyn beach car park, postcode LL61 6SG. There is a £5 fee to park a mile from the car park which takes you through a toll barrier. This gives you access for the entire day including leaving and returning.
Once you have parked up just head towards the sand walkway and head onto the beach and get ready for some of the most beautiful coastal scenery in the UK. During sunrise the sun will rise above the mountains of Snowdonia to the East (around 9.15am during my December visit) and then cast its light across Llanddwyn Bay. Walking along the beach with the mountains on the horizon is just something else, especially on a glorious sunny morning like I was lucky to have.
It's just over a mile to walk along the beach to the island of Ynys Llanddwyn. Unfortunately, I was half an hour too late when I got to this point as the water from each side of the island had already joined so I was worried I would be stranded on the island if I continued. I was extremely disappointed as I knew the lighthouse was so close but I didn't want to risk going, having never seen the depth of the passing at high tide. It was still a stunning place to be so I headed back enjoying the rest of the walk.
For the rest of the day (hiking up Glyder Fawr) i couldn't get the disappointment of not seeing Twr Mawr out of my head. Trouble is I was now in Snowdonia and staying there overnight. However I just needed to go back, so I made the decision to get up extra early and do the 80 minute car journey back the following morning. That decision was the best one I made during the road trip. I arrived back at the car park at the same time as the previous morning, 9.15am. Today though I had a whole hour of extra time before high tide. The clouds across Snowdonia were really dense however this morning and not letting a lot of sunlight through, but I was hopeful by the time I reached the lighthouse the sun would be high enough to make a special appearance!
The island of Ynys Llannwyn is a magical little place consisting of rolling dunes, large rock outcrops, a ruined ancient church and of course, Twr Mawr lighthouse which was built in 1845 and modelled on traditional Anglesey windmills. It's a very small island but there are numerous paths that take you round the sides of the island and also straight through the middle so you can spend a fair bit of time enjoying and exploring. I'm sure it would be a fantastic place for a summers picnic although I have no idea on how busy the place would get during summer months. I was more than content with my December visit as I was the only person there, perfect really considering how popular the lighthouse would be for photos. I like to be greedy and have these places all to myself!
I chose to walk the northern side towards the lighthouse. The sun was still behind the clouds above Snowdonia but as soon as I got near Twr Mawr the sun lifted above the clouds giving me the perfect atmospheric lighting across the lighthouse and the landscape. I was absolutely buzzing; the timing could not have been any more perfect. I love outdoors moments like this when you make split decisions to do something and get fully rewarded! (of course a lot of times it doesn't pan out that well) I can honestly say it's one of the most impressive coastal landscape views I have seen anywhere in the world, if not for the high tide I would have stayed there for ages enjoying this beautiful place.
After a bit more exploring, I headed back to beat the tide. It was a bit of a shame as i got back well before the water had started to come in, however I was planning to head up the snow-covered Mount Snowdon in the afternoon so another adventure was awaiting!
What can I say, I absolutely loved this place, it felt like a hidden gem that not many people have seen. Also may I mention the locals out walking their dogs were just so friendly. I think there's a power there that just makes people happy, and I totally get it! Really can't wait to return very soon. For those that love Snowdonia, it's really not very far to go from Llanberis so i would recommend making the trip, you won't be disappointed.
If you have any questions please feel free to ask. GPX file also available.