10 THINGS YOU DIDN’T KNOW ABOUT THE LLŶN PENINSULA
Porth y Swnt – or gateway to the sound – the new National Trust Coastal Tourism Centre of Excellence for the Llŷn Peninsula at Aberdaron opens its doors in 2014.
Situated on the edge of Wales in the postcard fishing village of Aberdaron, Porth y Swnt is a gateway to discover Llŷn, 30 miles of dramatic, windswept and inspiring peninsula extending into the Irish Sea.
Start your journey to discover the myths, legends and history of the Llŷn Peninsula with these ten fascinating facts.
1. You Don’t Get Much More Welsh Than This
Looking for a trip where you can get under the skin of the locality and discover a true sense of place? Look no further. The Llŷn Peninsula is one of most Welsh places in Wales, with 70% of the population using Welsh as their first language.
2. You Can Literally Hear the Sand
Shuffle your feet at Porthor near Aberdaron and listen carefully as the sand on this stunning stretch of beach makes a fascinating sound. The rounded grains of sand produce a squeak – or whistle – when rubbing against one another. You might even spot a seal catching a wave with the surfers that frequent the waters.
3. You Can Walk for Seven Days
Those really wanting to get a true taste of Llŷn can walk the coast, part of the much-lauded Welsh Coastal Path. It is 150 kilometres long and takes a whole week to complete but you’ll see the full range of scenery; from river valleys to hidden coves, a large part of which are designated Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty.
4. You Can Try Some of Britain’s Best Lobster
The coast around Llŷn provides an abundance of lobster, crab and mackerel, and the lobster pots that dot the surrounding sea bring in the most succulent of catch. The local seafood and Welsh Black Beef is so good, the Llŷn has grown a reputation as a rural gastro capital of Wales. Sample the catch at The Ship Inn at Aberdaron.
5. You can Discover an Ancient Peace
Once a treacherous journey on which many died, the pilgrimage to Bardsey Island – the island in the currents – now provides a calm retreat and is perfect for stressed-out city dwellers. Photographers will appreciate its majestic 19th century lighthouse, which takes pride of place on the island’s craggy rocks.
6. You can Discover the Lost Village
Tucked away within the granite rocks of ‘Pen Llŷn’ – as the locals call it – is the lost mining village of Nant Gwrtheyrn. Discover the once untold stories of this former Victorian quarrying community that was left derelict for decades. It now holds regular Welsh language courses, but you could choose to simply soak up the awe-inspiring views of the Irish Sea.
7. You’ll Become a Budding Bird Watcher
Wildlife is abundant in this area, and bottlenose dolphins and Atlantic grey seals can often be seen in the coastal waters. Bird watching is a pastime of many on the Llŷn, and various rare birds can be spotted such as the Chough an iconic symbol of Llŷn. Coastal cliffs are home to bustling seabirds colonies in the breeding season and thousands of Manx shearwaters make the treacherous journey from the coast of South America to spend their summers on Bardsey Island.
8. You will be Surrounded by Shipwrecks
Many ships have met their match in the seas of Llŷn with the bay of Porth Neigwl- or ‘Hell’s Mouth’- one of the most feared. Only the more adventurous will be able to dive beneath the waves to get a glimpse of some of these historic wrecks but a visit to Porthdinllaen on the north coast of Llŷn will take you back in time to the hey-day of sea-faring. In the 19th century Porthdinllaen was a thriving fishing village with a busy port. Ships were built on its shores and many of the buildings housed warehouses, inns and blacksmiths. Today you can enjoy a visit to the idyllic Ty Coch Inn to soak up the atmosphere.
9. You Can Be Inspired By Welsh Poetry
Welsh poet RS Thomas was the vicar at St Hywn’s church in Aberdaron from 1967 to 1978. His spiritual legacy lives on along with his poetry, which depicts the romantic wildness of the Llŷn Peninsula. Porth y Swnt the National Trust visitor centre in the heart of Aberdaron is a brilliant introduction to this art form as poetry from a range of Welsh poets has been used to inspire visitors.
10. You Can Mix with the Cheshire Set
A popular hangout for Cheshire holiday-makers, Abersoch’s multi-coloured beach huts, restaurants and bars act as a summer retreat for those looking for an idyllic home-from-home. Cheshire socialites frequent here to soak up the views of the most beautiful corner of Cardigan Bay from riverside terraces and bars.