An Autumn Break: Coastal Walking

After a wet and very windy week, this last weekend the sun came out in our quiet corner of Snowdonia; to make the most of it we packed up our lovely sky blue campervan, Nell, and got out and about for a 2 day walking / roadtrip with our dogs, Tess and Archie. After a busy summer with the campers, I’m not quite as fit as I was so I decided that a couple of gentle coastal walks were in order, after all the Llŷn Peninsular has arguably the best coastline and scenery in Britain!

Day 1: Borth y Gest Beach Walk

Our first walk, starts just a few miles away from our base in Pantglas, in the picturesque village of Borth y Gest. This Victorian village borders the Afon Glaslyn and looks out across Tremadoc Bay towards the Rhinog Mountains and Harlech Castle. The walk explores the coves and beaches of Borth y Gest and Black Rock Sands returning through a golf course and woodland with views of Moel y Gest and Snowdonia’s mini Matterhorn, Cnicht. We left our trusted camper, Nell in the car park at the far end of the village, to enjoy the mountain views whilst we went took our 2 excitable dogs on our walk.


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The Route

  • Distance: Approx. 4 miles
  • Difficulty: Easy
  • Start: Car park in the village (follow A487 to Porthmadog, half-way along the High Street take the turn to Borth y Gest / Black Rock, by the Factory Shop. Follow uphill and fork left for Borth y Gest.
  • Postcode for Sat Nav: LL49 9TS (approx.)
  • Grid Ref: SH 565 374
  • Map: OS Explorer 254: Lleyn Peninsula East

1. From the car park, turn away from harbour and head up a short path in the far left corner of the car park. Turn left and stay ahead as the road sweeps to right; passing large houses and B&B on right.

2. With the church above on the right, follow the coastal footpath above the beach. Continue on this until you reach the end at a footbridge. Cross, then down the steps and onto the beach.

3. Follow the coastline across the beach towards the far sand dune, look for path uphill at bottom right corner of the sand dune. Follow the path as it snakes to the right. At the top turn left and follow the path along a stone wall. At the end turn right at the footpath sign, through the open gate then immediately left, following the Wales Coast Path signs.

4. Follow the windy path down some steep steps, then wider zig-zag steps. At the end, either turn left down the concrete slipway then right onto the beach, or if the tide is high go straight over the slipway and follow the stony path at the top of the embankment, with the golf course on your right. Head for the small white house (The Powder House) on the rocky outcrop, if the tide is out then skirt around edge of rocks. If not, continue along embankment path dropping down to Black Rock Beach.

5. Walk along the beach with the sand dunes on your right, until the first main exit (look for wooden sign-board). Take the exit, passing the public toilets and caravan parks on your left. After the Glanaber Pub take the right turn for Y Ffridd, passing a large house to the right. Soon look for a public footpath sign leading into a wooded area Follow the path, crossing a stream and emerge onto the golf course.

6. Follow the gravel track through the golf course (watch out for flying golf balls) until you come to a tarmac road near the clubhouse.

7. Turn left, then almost immediately right along the fence to the path going uphill into woodland. Continue until you emerge into the caravan park, Garreg Wen. Turn left and follow the tarmaced lane through the park.

8. At the junction by the tennis courts, turn left then almost immediately right. With the duck pond on your right, follow the windy road uphill, passing 2 wooden bin stores.

9. At the top of the hill, and the first caravan on your left, leave the road to cross a small grassy clearing on your right, follow the path through trees and fork left through a gate.

10. Follow the woodland path until you come to a kissing gate behind Ysgol Borth y Gest (school). After the kissing gate turn right along the path to the rear of the houses, then turn left at the road leading down Mersey Street back to car park.

Once back in Borth y Gest, we took the dogs back to Nell for a welcome drink of water and then treated ourselves to coffee and cake from the Seaview Café which overlooks the harbour. We don’t often get a chance to spend time in our campers as they’re usually busy having fun with our guests but we did steel a night away in small campsite not too far away, Black Rock Sands Camping and Touring Site. This lovely site is situated behind the dunes of Black Rock Sands, which is great for sunset beach BBQs and a dip in the sea – a bit too chilly for us this time of year!

Day 2: Porthdinllaen Walk, near Nefyn

After a lazy breakfast and a quick stroll for the dogs on Black Rock Sands beach we packed up Nell and headed west along the Llŷn Peninsular the on to Morfa Nefyn on the north coast. This circular walk is a great excuse to visit the Tŷ Côch Inn in the pretty hamlet of Porthdinllaen. A popular inn for more than 2 centuries, customers can only reach it either by boat or on foot. It’s an easy walk that meanders back along the Wales Coast Path where you can enjoy the breath-taking views in all directions of this rugged coastline.


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The Route

  • Distance: Approx. 5 miles
  • Difficulty: Easy
  • Start: The National Trust car park on the outskirts of Morfa Nefyn. (A497 Pwllheli – Nefyn, then the B4412 signposted to Morfa Nefyn. Follow signs to the golf course; the car park is on the right opposite the Caffi Porthdinllaen.
  • Postcode for Sat Nav: LL53 6DA (approx.)
  • Grid Ref: SH 565 374
  • Map: OS Explorer 253: Lleyn Peninsula West

1. Turn right at the car park entrance and follow the road to the Nefyn Golf Course car park. Turn left and follow the track behind the Clubhouse.

2. The route continues along a fenced footpath behind the golf course. Go through a kissing gate and follow the right-hand field boundary. After a second kissing gate, turn right and walk along a broad track towards Fferm Porthdinllaen Caravan and Camping Park.

3. As you approach the farm buildings, with the pond on your left, go through a metal kissing gate between the pond and the farm buildings, then turn immediately right. Follow the right-hand field boundary as it drops down to a gateway.

4. Cross the stream and go through another gateway, bear gently right up the field to another gate.

5. Go through the gate and follow the left-hand field boundary, passing a far to the other side of the field to a kissing gate. Go through the gate and continue along the left-hand field boundary to a small gate in the corner of the field.

6. Go through the gate , up some steps, and walk along a short section of raised path to Ty Mawr Farm. At the farm, with the farm building on your left, follow the track which becomes a sunken lane towards the coast and the Wales Coast Path.

7. The path leads to a secluded cove – worth a stop for a picnic! To continue along the walk, after the gate, turn right and join the Wales Coast Path. Follow the Wales Coast Path signs, heading back towards Porthdinllaen and Morfa Nefyn.

8. The walk and the Wales Coast Path, passes through the rear of Aber Gerich, and attractive cove despite the pipeline that runs along the stream out to sea. The path crosses the wide stream by a bridge which in spring is surrounded by a profusion of flowers.

9. The route follows the coastline along the edge of golf course. It is well marked with the Wales Coast Path footpath signs. Watch out for flying golf balls!

10. Follow the coastline out along the left of the ‘finger’ past the coastguard station and continue back the other side of the ‘finger’ and along the gorgeous bay of Porthdinllaen.

11. You arrive at the tiny hamlet of Porthdinllaen, a cluster of cottages and the well-known Tŷ Côch Inn. Here we paused, sat down and enjoyed the view with a well-earned Coffee Latte from Tŷ Côch and drink of water for the dogs.
Tide permitting; continue across the sands, behind a group of cottages then along the beach to another small group of whitewashed cottages. If the tide makes the beach walk impassable. Follow the track behind Tŷ Côch up to the golf course and then on to the golf course car park where you will join the road back to the National Trust car park.

12. At the cottages, turn right up the road, then just after the public toilets on the right take the marked footpath up the hill back to the National Trust car park.

We returned to Nell, and enjoyed a last panad (Welsh for a cuppa) from the view point above the beach before returning home. If you are fortunate to be able to stay more than 1 night then there are some lovely campsites in this area.