Year of the Sea 2018 – Our EPIC Shores
2018 is Visit Wales Year of the Sea, and what better way to celebrate our almost 200 miles of outstanding coastline than by visiting the EPIC Shores of Snowdonia Mountains and Coast. It’s the ideal location, with beaches for children of all ages, Coastal Circular Walks, hidden gems, and plenty of opportunities to experience our rich culture, heritage and landscape.
Coastal Path and Circular Walks
An outstanding way to explore this magnificent coastline is to walk the Wales Coast Path in the Snowdonia Mountains and Coast area, and marvel at the breath taking scenery of some of Wales’ most protected landscapes and habitats. From the path on the Llŷn Peninsula, there is an excellent chance that you might spot a Puffin, Chough or Manx Shearwater, or if you are really lucky, an Osprey, returning to its nest on the Glaslyn Estuary, near Porthmadog, with a ready meal of freshly caught fish in its talons, to feed its hungry chicks! It’s well worth a short detour to visit the Glaslyn Wildlife Centre to see the Ospreys and the chicks. Recently developed in the area are 18 Coastal Circular Walks based on the Wales Coast Path, taking you through the splendour of diverse landscapes such as at Hell’s Mouth on the Llŷn Peninsula, where so many ships were wrecked in the 19th Century by the huge waves, which are now such a delight for surfers. On the Aberdyfi Circular Walk there are some stunning views to be seen down the majestic Dyfi Estuary, part of the Dyfi Biosphere, which has UNESCO Biosphere Reserve Status.
If you are in a hurry, you can visit a lot of what the Wales Coast Path has to offer by travelling by car or bus on The Coastal Way, part of the Visit Wales designation The Wales Way.
A visit to the beach is the key to a great holiday. We’re home to 200 miles of coast and more than 35 beaches. Porth Oer (Whistling Sands), Porthdinllaen , Abersoch and Shell Island have been included in the ‘Best British Beaches’ list by The Sunday Times. We’ve also got plenty of Blue Flag, Green Coast Award and family friendly beaches. What better way to finish a hard day trekking in the mountains of Snowdonia, or taking part in the myriad of water activities on offer, than with a glass of wine from a local vineyard, relaxing on a Blue Flag beach as the sun sets over Cardigan Bay, a perfect end to a perfect day.
Lakes and Rivers
We also have EPIC Shores on our lakes and rivers, offering excellent opportunities to indulge in a spot of fishing, not only on the established lakes of Trawsfynydd and Llyn Tegid at Bala, but also on the smaller lakes and rivers dotted throughout the area, information about all this can be found at Snowdonia Mountains and Coast Fishing. At Trawsfynydd Lake, a dam was constructed in 1922, to supply water to Maentwrog Hydro Electric Power Station, which was the largest power station of its kind in the UK when it opened in 1928. Today you can spend many hours fishing there, either from the bank, or you can hire a boat to fish on the lake itself! Llyn Tegid at Bala is an excellent destination for all sailing and canoeing enthusiasts, and is the largest body of natural water in Wales. If watersports or fishing aren’t your thing, then take a trip along the shore of the lake on the historic Bala Lake Railway, restored to its original glory by enthusiastic volunteers.
Coastal Heritage on an EPIC scale
Every little cove and inlet over the 200 miles of spectacular sandy beaches, rugged cliffs and majestic estuaries is steeped in history, and has a story to tell; bold seafarers sailing to all parts of the world with their cargo, smugglers in the 18th Century using the natural resources of the area to hide their barrels and tales of legendary lands lost beneath the waves such as Cantre’r Gwaelod at Aberdyfi. On the shores of the Menai Strait, Cardigan Bay and Conwy estuary, Caernarfon, Harlech and Conwy are home to magnificent castles that form part of the World Heritage site of the Castles of Edward 1st, and stand as a reminder of a violent past on our spectacular shores. However, this is modern history compared to some of the ancient sites that occupy our shores, from Dinas Oleu in Barmouth, the first parcel of land donated to the National Trust in 1895, to Tre Ceiri, a spectacular Iron Age settlement situated 450 metres above sea level near Nefyn. Neolithic sites such as Dyffryn Ardudwy Burial Chambers, and Roman sites such as Segontium in Caernarfon add to this rich tapestry of heritage and history close to our EPIC shores.
Historical Harbour Towns
Our bustling harbour towns are steeped in the industrial heritage of the area, gateways to the rest of the world as huge amounts of slate and stone were exported in the 19th and early 20th Centuries, the train lines carrying these huge loads having been lovingly restored to provide world class visitor attractions across the area, such as Ffestiniog and Talyllyn Railways. But, did you know that, according to legend, the Welsh Prince, Madog ab Owain Gwynedd, after whom Porthmadog was named, sailed from the port to America in 1170, over 300 years before Christopher Columbus reached the continent in 1492. Today, these coastal towns have been transformed, offering luxurious accommodation, restaurants and shops highlighting the best of local produce and attractions and activities to suit all. As an added bonus, perhaps you’ll learn a word or two of the oldest living language in Europe, Welsh, from the friendly locals!
EPIC Seafood Adventures
Naturally, being this close to so much water means a huge array of fresh seafood, fish and shellfish, from the sea and the rivers and lakes. Check our events pages for information about the increasingly popular food festivals in the area.