Sunday, 19 June 2016

Walking the Lleyn Coast Path

Spring Squill on the cliff edge
May and June are great months to walk along the Lleyn coast. In May, slopes and streamsides the sheep can’t reach are carpeted with primroses, thrift and spring squill. Scrubby patches and gorse along the cliff edges are good for breeding whitethroats and stonechats, while the short well-grazed turf attracts migrant wheatears and feeding choughs. Other migrant birds along the coast include whimbrel on their way to Iceland or NW Russia (we saw 115 between Porth Ysgaden and Porth Dinllaen on May 8th) and noisy Sandwich terns fishing close in. And when the sun comes out so do the butterflies – wall browns, small heaths and common blues.

Ynys Enlli from the tip of Lleyn
Our longest stretch so far this year was 10 miles from Porth Oer (Whistling Sands) to Aberdaron, right round the headland facing Ynys Enlli (Bardsey). We sat and ate lunch looking across to Bardsey, a sort of funny reverse experience for us!

Llyn Coastal Bus
One problem facing the coastal walker is how to get back to where you started – unless you are carrying a tent, of course. Walking the Lleyn Coastal Path in stages is much easier this year because of a special Minibus service for walkers. On four days each week until the end of October, a minibus runs every two hours from Abersoch to Aberdaron and  on to Nefyn, with a second vehicle doing the opposite. The fare is £1, and the driver will pick up or drop off passengers at any point on the coast the minibus can reach.

So if you enjoy walking on the coast of Wales, make sure you get to Lleyn this year, as who knows if the minibuses will continue in 2017. And as you walk along the path, remember to thank the National Trust and the Welsh Government for making the coast so accessible.