Spring squill and skylarks

A beach seen through the ruins of a church dedicated to to Dwynwen, patron Saint of Welsh lovers, Ynys Llanddwyn. Island, Anglesey.
The ruins of the church dedicated to to Dwynwen, patron Saint of Welsh lovers, Ynys Llanddwyn.

An account of an easy cycle route to Llanddwyn Island, Anglesey, on a spring day, and a wander around the enchanting island.

What began as a quick cycle to measure and assess an alteration to one of our routes ended up as a grand day out, as often happens. You can’t but take in and enjoy the world around you when you’re on a bike- your surroundings are so immediate.

The first warm Spring day had brought more cyclists than usual onto the Cefni Cycle track, from a dreamy meandering child, speedy young men, families, couples and a young woman on her way to Holyhead, having taken time out to leave the city environment of Manchester for a few day’s cycling. She certainly seemed refreshed and empowered by her achievement, having done the trip on three days!

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Other company along the route included horses and a young foal, ‘squeaking’ lapwings, egrets, geese and swans, a ‘charm’ of brightly coloured goldfinch and a stonechat- recognisable from his proud singing point at the top of a gorse bush

Along the cycle track, I mused at how this important nature reserve and agricultural land that we ride through had been created by the Malltraeth Cob embankment, some 200 years ago, and how the previous tidal salt march had divided the communities on either side.

A high tide at Malltraeth Cob was an unusual treat- despite defending the land, more often than not, the shallow shoreline means that expanses of mud and grasses are exposed for most of the tide, and the sea is in the far distance. The grassy mud flats can provide a dramatic landscape as the light changes over them.

The track through the forest brought welcome shade today- yesterday we cycled in warm gear, today long lycra leggings and a tee shirt are too hot!

Reaching the sandier track that heralds the beach, it suddenly seemed inconsiderate not to make the most of such a fine day and join other holiday visitors, so locking up my bike and converting my pannier into a ruck sack (yes really- by Crivit- check them out at Lidl!) I crossed the dunes and the beach to find a quiet spot to eat lunch on Ynys Llanddwyn.

The location for a ‘back in time’ documentary to be broadcasts on BBC in May, as people experience life as a 1900 fishing community using the island’s Pilot cottages, Ynys Llanddwyn was idyllic today. There were drifts of blue spring squill in the grass and skylarks overhead, adding to the sound of crashing waves. Warmth from the sun reached us while the mountains still held on to ridges of snow in the distance.

Having stumbled across the ‘dressed’ pilot cottages last time, and met the crew in advance of the filming, this time, I took the opportunity to look at the ruined church. Once the richest church on Anglesey, this was the popular destination of pilgrims honouring Dwynwen, patron saint of Welsh lovers. The ruins now add to the character of the island, along with much photographed lighthouse, Celtic cross and Pilot cottages.

Llanddwyn is a popular destination for many. Our tour approaches from a quieter direction, and always has something new to reveal! We look forward to meeting you on one of our tours soon!