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Walk the Wales Coast Path Porth Swtan (Church Bay) to Holyhead

By Dave Roberts   

on December 16, 2020   5/5 (3)

Walk the Wales Coast Path Porth Swtan (Church Bay) to Holyhead

Further Details

Route Summary:

A mix of sandy beaches, slightly rugged and country park as you leave Anglesey to another island, Ynys Gybi (Holy Island in English)

Start and Finish: Porth Swtan (Church Bay) to Holyhead

Distance: 22.2 km

Ascent: 192 m

Time: 5 to 6 hours

Timings are approximate and depend on the individual. Calculate the time using Naismith’s Rule and factor in your own pace.


Only the Holland Hotel on the route (a minor diversion) and a burger van at Penrhos Coastal Park.  All usual facilities can be found in Holyhead.

Public Transport:

Not to start of route. Holyhead well served by Rail, bus or ferry.

Traveline for UK Public Transport


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.

Wales Coast Path Guidebooks:

Recommended Wales Coast Path Maps

Walk the Wales Coast Path Porth Swtan (Church Bay) to Holyhead Ordnance Survey Map and GPX File Download

Download file for GPS

Walk the Wales Coast Path Porth Swtan (Church Bay) to Holyhead

From Porth Swtan / Church Bay the Wales Coast Path becomes less rugged as it heads south to Ynys Gybi / Holy Island with some welcome sandy beaches, something that Anglesey’s west coast has in abundance!

Heading south from Porth Swtan, the trail takes in the last of the rugged coastline as it takes you to towards Porth Trwyn, a fine sandy beach. The danger is spending too much time on each beach, and sadly you’ll be unlikely to do any of the beaches justice unless you spend a month walking the Anglesey coast. In much the same vein, the route continues to climb down onto the beaches before reascending to the numerous headlands; taking in Porth Trefadog, Porth Tywyn-mawr and finally Porth Penrhyn-mawr. You won’t fail to notice the port of Caergybi / Holyhead across Holyhead Bay, the end point of today’s walk dominated by the port and Mynydd y Twr / Holyhead Mountain beyond.

At Traeth y Gribin the Wales Coast Path turns inland and around the estuary of Afon Alaw. This used to be a gap in the coastal path, with around half an hour of walking on the main road required at one point (with no pavement!) But thanks to the efforts of the access officers, there is now a bridge just before Llanfachraeth. This reduces the distance slightly, but more importantly keeps the route on the coast and safe for walkers. Llanfachraeth isn’t far either, so worth heading into the village to see if the Holland Hotel is open (their website state they are open all day!)  After crossing the impressive bridge (truly a landmark on this section) the route continues along the opposite bank of the Alaw to return to the coast at Penrhyn Bach.

The final section takes you along the shore at Newlands Park before crossing over to Ynys Gybi on Stanley Embankment. This was built by Thomas Telford in 1922 as part of his London to Holyhead coach road, and named after the Stanley family who were one of the local gentry. Incidentally, the material to construct the embankment, or Cob locally, created a ‘valley’ on the Anglesey side and provides one theory of why the village is known as Y Fali / Valley to this day. A rival theory suggests a corruption of the Irish for settlement, Bally, as the Irish did settle here.

Once past the embankment, the route heads past the old Anglesey Aluminium site along surprisingly pleasant coast that provides an easy finish to the day. There’s a good mix of woodland and sandy coves to provide interest, including the Park Arfordir Penrhos Coastal Park. Depending on timing, there’s a burger van in the car park and some picnic tables, making it ideal to stop for lunch! The section ends in Caergybi / Holyhead with a crossing of the busy port, a shock to the system for certain, before entering the town by crossing over the Celtic Gateway Bridge.


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Dave Roberts

Dave Roberts founded Walk Eryri in 2004, with the aim of providing routes that are off the beaten track. Walk Eryri is now part of Mud and Routes which continues to provide more off beat routes and walks in Snowdonia and beyond. Dave has been exploring the hills of Eryri for over thirty years, and is a qualified Mountain Leader. Dave also established Walk up Snowdon, Walk up Scafell Pike and Walk up Ben Nevis just to mention a few.

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