One of my greatest sources of inspiration, are my daily walks. The link between exercise and mental health has been talked about to the point of being overdone, but my walks are rare moments of alone time and mindfulness and to me, are an essential part of my creative process and daily routine.
Walking and outdoor activity is also an essential element of the Scandinavian ethos of hygge, which as a (half) Dane, is pretty much a part of my DNA. Connecting with nature, being present in the moment, living authentically and simply are pillars of hygge and collecting aspects of hyggelig when possible carries me through those times when creativity is less easy to come by, or I need a little boost.
Starting from Newborough forest car park, follow the path to the right into the forest itself. The path runs parallel to the beach and the trees are a great shelter from heat or (more often) the wind. Along the way, you’ll see lots of wildlife, hopefully including red squirrels. When you emerge onto the beach at the end of this path, it just takes your breath away. There’s a huge sweep of sandy beach, Ynys Llanddwyn to the left, and beyond that, the most incredible view of Snowdonia.
It’s well worth checking the tides, because you’ll want a low enough tide that you can reach the island, but high enough that you can go for a swim, which is highly recommended.
Once you reach the island, via a little wooden gate, you’ll step straight onto the path that takes you in a loop via the Pilots’ Cottages, two lighthouses and, of course, Dwynwen’s church, which the island is named after. Dwynwen is the Welsh patron saint of love, we celebrate her on the 26th January, it’s the equivalent to a Welsh Valentine’s day, so it’s an incredibly special place and very romantic.
As you walk around the island, you’ll see historic landmarks, little coves for swimming, and stunning flora and fauna (sometimes including ponies that keep the plant-life in check). Dogs are welcome, but they need to be kept on a lead and on the public footpath, as there’s a lot of ground-nesting birds and the island is a protected site.
When you reach the gate again (or the other gate, if you go in a loop around the whole island, which is recommended), walk back along the beach. You can paddle along the way and keep soaking in that mountain view all the way back to the car.
This is a great walk to do as a family, as there’s so much to look at, and the chance to turn it into a full-blown day at the beach. If you appreciate a longer, quieter walk, try parking at Malltraeth and walk down across the Cefni estuary, salt marshes and forest before you arrive at Ynys Llanddwyn.
It’s far from the most adventurous or challenging walk that North Wales has to offer, but to take in all the diversity of the landscape, the incredible beauty of the area, and a piece of Welsh culture and history, it’s really incomparable. There’s few people who only do this walk once.
Thanks so much for reading, let me know if this inspires a visit (or revisit) to this beautiful spot.
For all your Adventure Essentials, check out the Walk With Me Pinterest board, which has my absolute favourites for taking on a day out.