Walk the Wales Coast Path Cemaes to Porth Swtan (Church Bay)
This section between Cemaes and Church Bay includes the highlights of Bae Cemlyn Bay, Trwyn y Gader / Carmel Head and Ynys y Fydlyn
Distance: 19 km
Ascent: 366 m
Time: allow around 5 hours
Calculate the time using Naismith’s Rule and factor in your own pace.
Start and Finish: Cemaes to Porth Swtan (Church Bay)
Pubs and shops in Cemaes, pub in Church Bay a good 10 minutes up the hill. Seafood restaurant and a cafe in Church Bay near the car park.
Check out the businesses nearby for more places to stay and drink.
Logistical problems returning from the end – need two cars, taxi or stay overnight and walk through to Holyhead
Remember that we cannot outline every single hazard on a walk – it’s up to you to be safe and competent. Read up on Keeping Safe on the Wales Coast Path, Navigation and the Gear and Equipment you’ll need.
Bus service to Cemaes.
Businesses on this section of the Wales Coast Path:
Walk the Wales Coast Path Cemaes to Porth Swtan (Church Bay) Details
The section of rugged coastline of North West Anglesey is one of our favourite sections of the Wales Coast Path in North Wales. It’s certainly a remote section compared to others, with no facilities to be found between Cemaes and Porth Swtan.
The first section of Wales Coast Path from Cemaes at least gets the worst out of the way – the walk around the decommissioned nuclear plant at Wylfa. Despite expectations however, this isn’t an unpleasant section and arguably superior to any of the road walking sections along the trail. The initial walk out of Cemaes brings you past the cove of Porth Wylfa and Porth yr Ogof with an interesting island – Ynys yr Wyn – before you reach Wylfa Head. It may be soon after starting, but there’s an abandoned coastguard lookout at the highest point that’s unfortunately been vandalised but still provides shelter and a magnificent view.
The actual section past Wylfa is a pleasant enough walk through carefully manicured woodland, and by walking the section in this direction you’ll have your back to it as you plod on.
From Wylfa, the coast path continues on low cliffs past Porth-y-pistyll and on to Cemlyn Bay. This is a shingle beach with a brackish lagoon behind and is an important breeding ground for birds. You can walk along the shingle bar for most of the year, but it’s prohibited during the nesting season between April and July when an alternative route along the minor road to the south of the lagoon should be used. At the far end of the shingle bar lies the walled house of Bryn Aber. While it looks intimidating, that doesn’t last when you realise that the high wall was acually used to keep cats out! The eccentric aviator, Vivian Hewitt who built the walls did so to protect the birds in his garden.
Continuing on towards Trwyn y Gader / Carmel Head, the Wales Coast Path feels more remote than ever with an uninterrupted 10km of splendid coastal walking that’s one of our favourites. Keep an eye out for the large obelisks, which are navigational aids for shipping known as the Three White Ladies which line up with a third marker on the island of Maen y Bugail / West Mouse to mark the position of a treacherous shallow reef. There’s also a chimney from some copper works here – which contrast nicely if you look back towards Wylfa.
As you now turn another corner on the Anglesey coast, heading south towards Church Bay and eventually Ynys Llanddwyn. You’ll notice the lighthouse on this corner of the island is far out on the rocky isles known as Ynysoedd y Moelrhoniad or the Skerries. The coast continues to rise and fall, and still provides plenty of interest with the highlight being Ynys y Fydlyn. This split island, or pair of wide stacks can be found around half way between Carmel Head and Church Bay and provides a striking spot to stop for a break. Inland there’s a lake where the beach has built up into a substantial bar.
Finally, an undulating couple of kilometres past Porth y Nant, Porth y Bribys and Porth y Dwfr before you arrive at Porth Swtan – Church Bay. This is a tiny settlment that consists of a campsite, two cafes, a pub on the hill (the Church Bay Inn), a car park and some scattered houses. There’s also the last thatched cottage on Anglesey – known as Swtan – which houses the Swtan Heritage Museum.