My busman's holiday, this time from Anglesey, with a view from the tent of Snowdonia tapering down to the Lleyn Peninsula, tepid showers and a deafening dawn chorus of Welsh jackdaws.

We had come for the Newborough Warren Nature Reserve, one of our favourite places and made two explorations, one on the chilly evening of our arrival when kite surfers were swishing through the water and then on the next day when the sun shone (Anglesey has a classy climate) and we had a sublime time.

The village of Newborough is not a thrill and is so named because its predecessor was buried by the powerful dune system that separates it from the sea.

Similarly buried, and politically, but excavated in 1993 is the 13th century palace of Rhosyr, the only court of the princes of Wales ever to be found, and on our route, a stone's throw from the campsite.

So we walked out of Newborough, had a gander at the palace, and entered the dune system through a meadow vivid blue with vipers bugloss plants.

The sand here is stabilised by conifers but the suntrap path was illuminated by heavy bowers of broom and numerous orchids white to deepest purple. Raptors wheeled in the sky and there are ravens.

A mile or so later we emerged at the golden sands and slipped onto the Island of Llanddwyn via a sand cause-way. This is an intensely lovely and interesting place. We had a huge beach to ourselves then a private rocky cove.

The sand was dotted with saucer- sized jellyfish, rocks and pools are squidgy with jelly buttons encrusted with limpets, barnacles and winkles and are seedbeds for mussels. The sea was not exactly warm, but not cold, the rocks seethed with little birds, the land was painted with blood red geraniums, pin-cushioned with pinks and pretty with dune pansies. Sinister black shags stood erect on their own islet and terns dived into the clear sea.

My faith in the Welsh was reinforced when a local rock-fisherman gave me a fresh caught sea bass that was deli-cious that night with a lump of bread.

But I had to smile at a sign reading 'no burrowing in the dunes'. This was near another notice advising that Llanddwyn is the 'lovers island' and the retreat of the Welsh 'patron saint of lovers' and one read a legend 'the maiden...' There is volcanic rock called pillow lava.

Onward to the white-painted lighthouse. The views are terrific, across the water to the peaks of Snowdonia.

After the island came a long beach stroll; oystercatchers plundered the mussel beds and crows feasted on small crabs.

Then we re-entered the dunes and walked the edge of Newborough Warren, the grassed over portion of the nature reserve which is grazed by grey ponies to keep down rank grasses and for the benefit of the sand wasp. Here we met a professional botanist who identified the northern marsh orchid.


When in doubt look at the map. Check your position at each point. Keep straight on unless otherwise directed.

1. From Spar shop, over crossroads to beach road. Ignore road on left.

2. About 200 yards before forest, ladder-stile on right, grassy path.

3. Stile into forest, 200 yards on gravel path then fork right to grassy/sandy path at Post 30. Cross track at triangular junction.

4. Left fork to track by Post 8 about 200 yards from edge of wood, metal forest gate after about 100 yards, through small parking area to island (Please note tide times - I am informed it varies between a paddle and a wade at high tide).

5. Steps to waymarked path(s) around is-land.

6. Right to beach. At edge of forest, left to path by edge of Newborough Warren.

7. Stay by fence on your right at wood corner.

8.Track on left, becomes road, right into Newborough.

Fact File

Distance: Seven and a half miles.

Time: Not to be rushed - at least three hours.

General location: Anglesey

Start: Newborough.

Right of way: The complete route is along public rights of way, permitted paths and in open access areas.

Date walked: Tuesday, June 25, 2002.

Road route:The A4080 southern coast road.

Parking: Street parking in Newborough. For short walk, beach side car park in Newborough Forest, access £2.

Lavatories: Beach car park.

Refreshments: Plas Newydd for lunch.

Tourist & public transport information: Llanfair Pwllgwyngyll TIC 01248 713177.

Map: Based on OS Explorer 263 Angle-sey East.

Terrain: Sand and dunes.

Points of interest: Awelfryn Caravan Park 01248 440230. Beaumaris Castle. Plas Newydd House and Gardens.

Difficulty: Moderate.

Dogs: Banned from portion of beach in summer.

Weather forecast: Evening Press and recorded forecast 0891 500 418

Please observe the Country Code and park sensibly.

While every effort is made to provide accurate information, walkers set out at their own risk.

Click here to view a map of the walk

Updated: 09:34 Saturday, July 06, 2002