One of the easiest and most magical bike rides on Anglesey has to be a day trip to Newborough forest, to access Ynys Llanddwyn Island on foot. The cycle route provides one of the longest most traffic- free cycle routes on Anglesey. This makes it a great option for a family cycle or for those who are not yet confident in traffic (though to be fair, that would apply to most of Anglesey’s vein-work of backroads!) But be warned, this route along forest tracks is not really ideal for road bikes and skinny tyres!
Your cycle route
As the route is so flat, (there’s an overall height gain of 200’ for the whole route) we tend to start at Llangefni, as this gives you access to cycle hire and bike maintenance, should you need it, to say nothing of public toilets, cafes, cakes and sandwiches.
If you have young ones, or are worried about the 20-mile round trip, and want to shorten the route, you can start at Pentre Berw to access Lôn Las Cefni a few miles short of Llangefni or even at Malltraeth, to just cycle the mile-long Cob before entering Newborough Forest.
The Town Hall Long stay car park at Llangefni is the best way to access the Lon Las Cefni cycle track.
Lôn Las Cefni
The Lôn Las Cefni cycle route takes you across Cors Ddyga and Cors Malltraeth- Dyga and Malltraeth marshes. A lot of the area is designated SSI, or site of special scientific interest, and part of the land is now a nature reserve managed by the RSPB.
It is one of Wales’ largest lowland wetland and is a home to rare birds, mammals, plants and insect species. Rarities here include pillwort, autumnal starwort growing in the watery environments, species of dragonflies, damselflies and water beetle, water voles, otters and endangered and rare birds including lapwings, bitterns.
In spring look out for the squealing lapwings, at dusk on a summer’s evening you can hear the Bitterns ‘booming’ their low resonant call. An autumnal cycle may reveal starlings and the arrival of a few migrant winter ducks, while in winter, you will see more wildfowl and raptors such as the marsh harrier.
Reaching the end of the Lôn Las Cefni, you cross Pont Marcwis bridge and cycle on the road for a few quiet miles, usually meeting more cyclists than cars.
Then join the Malltraeth Cob. One mile long, this traffic free dike was successfully completed by the engineering genius, Thomas Telford, providing a safe route between Newborough and Malltraeth, which avoided a hazardous crossing across the tidal saltmarsh and could be traversed at any state of the tide!
The building of the Cob also meant that the original saltmarsh could be drained and turned over to agriculture, and the Cefni river canalised.
Newborough Forest and Ynys Llanddwyn
Once you’ve carefully crossed the car park at Pen Cob, you can access the main forest track down to the beach. Stay on the track until you get near to some small dunes and see an access gate.
Of course, you won’t be locking your bike to the gate! (Natural Resources Wales do not allow bikes on Ynys Llanddwyn).
Lock your bike to a nearby tree, and take your bag, picnic, swimming gear etc, and cross the dunes and beach towards Ynys Llanddwyn. Ynys means island in Welsh by the way, and is the most natural description for me.
The island is usually accessible, other than for around 90 minutes each side of high tide, though this is also affected by the height range of the tide- which can fluctuate through the month and quarters, and according to the weather and barometric pressure- do consult a tide table and weather forecast!
I find that a brisk walk around the island’s perimeter takes around an hour, and it’s a half-hour walk from the lighthouse end to ‘Gwddw Llanddwyn’, or the neck which joins the beach.
HOWEVER, you will find plenty of coves, ruins and other places of interest to take up far more of your time, you could easily spend a long time just staring out to sea or towards the hazy triple peaks of Yr Eifl and the Llyn peninsular…
Once you’ve had your fill, return to the bikes and carry on the same track, turning to the left only at the first junction on the track (not the footpath to the left before the junction…)
Keep to the left and you will get back to the main track, avoiding the hill you cycled down to reach the sea, and also experiencing a pretty forest track- just watch out for ‘sand- puddles’ that can ‘ground’ your wheels.
We have heard ravens cawing in winter and today we cycled through clouds of brown butterflies and darters.
Return to the Cob and repeat the route in reverse… though we recommend perhaps refuelling from an amazing array of home-made cakes and pies at the Riverside Arts and Crafts Café to fuel you back to the start! needless to say, this is a popular stop for walkers and cyclists!
If you follow the route in this blog- please comment and share your photos with us on our social media channels!