15 amazing Islands around North Wales

There are so many beautiful Islands that surround North Wales, they dot the entire the coastline in the most stunning locations. Most where cut off from the mainland after the last warm period 7000 years ago (after the ice age), which increased sea level by around 100m globally cutting them off from the local land mass.

This is bog is a quick resource for you to see the array of islands there are that surround North Wales in case you fancy visiting some of them on your stay here. Enjoy

 

Ynys Cribinau – Aberfraw.

Ynys Cribinau, is located in North Cwyfan (Near Aberfraw) This is one of the most serene places, where a medieval church of North Wales lies on a tiny island cut from the tides at high water. This place is located on the beautiful and small tidal island of the Cribinau and known popularly as “Church in the Sea”. The church was established in the 12thCentury and for St Cwyfan. You will find this remarkable church at the meeting of two bays between, Porth China and Porth Cwyfan but the peninsula was completely cut off as the sea eroded the coastal area.

This is located in the Aberffraw community and approximately 1.3 miles away from the Aberffraw village. This lonely island is known for a beautiful church, where still to this day wedding receptions go on in the summer months. The beach there is beautiful for swimming, sunbathing and relaxing on during hot days and is rather secluded.

 

Ynys Y Fydlyn – Llanfachraeth

This stunning place is located at the north-western tip of Anglesey, looking out over the   beautiful celtic Sea, looking onto the skerries light house only a mile otto offshore from this sheltered bay. Ynys Y Fydlyn has a rather interesting wreck that stout out side of the bay, one of an American transport ship that some of my friends have dived on. On elf the has a rather amazing sheath from a sword in his possession from the dive here. It lies on the Anglesey coastal path heading towards Carmel Head. The area holds many distinct buildings from its industrial past such as the Brick works and Porcelain works there is also evidence of copper workings also and the ruined buildings, factory chimney shows it brilliantly.

 

Ynuys Llandwyn- Llandwyn Island- Aberfraw.

On off the most well known and picturesque islands off the coast of Anglesey Llandwyn Island, where the patron Saint of Lovers Santes Dwynwen lived, one of the princess of the Welsh Royal lineage. The island is one of the most sacred in north Wales and has the remains of the Abbey and dwellings on there and a Holywell. It also houses a old lighthouse of yesteryear, some pilots boat cottages and some of the most Devine little beaches. Its a great location to visit, by boat and by land, which ever you prefer.

This is another tidal island of North Wales . The nearest town of the place is Newborough and Newborough is a very famous for its long sweeping beach that borders with the Menai strait. It is tidal and you will get cut off if you venture over there on a rising tide so please be aware.

 

The Skerries Islands – Ynysoedd y Moelrhoniaid and Lighthouse- Offshore from Holy Island 

This is a complete group of sparsely rocky islets 12 miles offshore from Holy Island, which is spread over 17 hectares. These beautiful islands where named by viking explorers to the region and must have come around these parts during the 10 Century raids on places such as Penmon Priory and Aberfraw.

The series has a wonderful lighthouse which my family have been lighthouse keepers for the past 150 plus years (along with many more)- it stands tall to provide vessels passing to Liverpool bay safe passage past the rocky outcrops.

Its is renowned for its breeding migratory sea bird birds, attic turns are some of main species that migrate here all the way from the artic circle. The welsh name Ynysoedd y Moelrhoniaid translates to “Island of the seals”, due the large number of seals that can be found here. I can attest to this after kayaking around the island a few times and being stalked by some of the larger ones!

A great place to visit by yacht or powerboat and if your lucky you may get a tour of the light house by the resident RSPB staff.

 

Ynus Lawd -South Stack Island and Lighthouse, Holy Island.

This is one of the most popular locations of north Wales. Famed for its special ties with Saint Cybi, in the Welsh Saints. Holy Island was named after Saint Cybi as in
“Caergybi” and the saint was said to have lied on the island that is now called south stack in English. The original welsh name of the island is Ynys Lawd and its on elf the most spectacular island you will ever go to. It’s setting suns are world famous with artists and photographers alike. My family where also Lighthouse keepers on this very spiritual island. It’s famous for its Puffin, Razor Bill and Fulmar colonies, which nest on the steep sea cliffs that drop to the Celtic sea. The sea cliffs that surround the area are also world famous cliffs in the world of climbing. South stack has a spectacular lighthouse at the 41 meters of height, which you can tours of during summer seasons. There was a stunning iron suspension bridge that was built in 1828 but it was replaced with an aluminum one much later due to the safety of the visitors. The excellent seascape of the area comes with the magnificent views of Bardsey Island and the Llyn Peninsula.

 

Ynys Seiriol or Puffin Island- Penmon.

Ynys Serios was named after the other famous Saint that lived on Anglesey. St Seiriol lived at the priory or monastery that lies in ruins on the top of Ynys Seiriol, Puffin island in English. Saint Seriol use to walk each day to meet St Cybi at the Holy well and spring in small town Llanerch y medd, in the dead centre of Anglesey. A great book to read about their meeting point at this well is documented by the book ” The Marian Conspiracy” a great book.

Ynys Seiriol / Puffin Island sits of the coast of Penmon on the north east point of Anglesey. The islands is rather featureless and elongated and can be circumnavigated by boat. Landing on the island is not permitted due to its migratory bird colonies that are resident on it seasonally.

The village in Penmon, a former parish in North Wales based around around the holy monastery established by Saint Seiriol and his brother was King of Llyn.

It is bordered by a larger pebble beach with rocky outcrop and is at the east entrance of the Menai Strait. There is also the lighthouse, which has now become more of a sounding beacon just offshore from Penmon priory the old monastery called “Trwyn Ddu” Black nose.

 

 

Ynys Enlii – Bardsey Island – Llyn Peninsular

This island of North Wales is known popularly as Island of 20,000 saints. One of the most famous of all islands in the whole of the western Atlantic Bardsey island was at the end of the north Wales Pilgrimage route walk that spanned 138 miles which weaved its way around the welsh coast and joining some of the most sacred points in the true Welsh history.

Bardsey Island is famed for its role in Bardic culture practices by the druids which was one of the most advanced and connected practices of its time line with botany, astronomy and natural law. Bards where druids who has passed a twenty year apprenticeship in the arts above and who where considered masters of their craft. The head bard was Merlin the great, then same merlin you have seen in the Hollywood movie the The Lord of the Rings. Merlin is said to have lived on Bardsey Island. King Arthur has also had ties to Bardsey and it is said in Welsh Legends  that is was part of the Avalonian kingdom ruled by King Arthur.

Bardsey Island is located 1.9 miles offshore from the Llyn Peninsula and is washed by fierce currency diurnally that make boat passages.

At the highest point of the island, there is a lighthouse that was established in 1974 my family where yet again sigh house keepers here for at least three generations and I have recently been here for visit which was rather nostalgic for me. The island has a magic feel there is no doubt about it.

 

Ynysoedd Tudwal – St Tudwals Island (West) – Llyn Peninsular

This is a small archipelago type of island of North Wales located at the western end of the Llyn Peninsular. This is a kidney-shaped, completely grass-covered island with an immensely beautiful seascape.

It is home to the famous St Tudwalds island which my family used to be lighthouse keepers also (bit of theme running in this blog isn’t it?!) It’s just short hop off the Llyn coast and can be reached by boat in minutes from SCYC yacht club in Abersoch.

Saint Tudwal’s Islands  (Ynysoedd Tudwal) are a small archipelago lying south of Abersoch on the Llŷn Peninsula in North Wales, at the western end of Tremadog Bay. They were apparently referred to as “the Studwells” in the early 19th century.

There are two main islands: Saint Tudwal’s Island West ( Ynys Tudwal Fawr) and Saint Tudwal’s Island East ( Ynys Tudwal Fach), plus the Carreg y Trai rocks.

The islands are known for their seal population. The western island houses the St Tudwal’s Lighthouse, and the eastern has the remains of a priory. The western island reaches (44 metres) and is the higher of the two.

Saint Tudwal’s Island East ( Ynys Tudwal Fach) is a grass covered, kidney-shaped island, about (500 m) in length and  (200 m) in width.

The highest point on the island is 125 feet (38 m) above sea level. It is located just over 0.62 miles (1.00 km) off the Llŷn Peninsula in Gwynedd. The nearest settlement (apart from the lighthouse on Saint Tudwal’s Island West) is Machroes. Small ships sail from the nearby town of Abersoch to take passengers to view the wildlife. The island is believed to be the original hermitage of Saint Tudwal, which is where its name comes from. The remains of a priory, referred to in the 1291 tax rolls, can be found on its eastern side.

The West island was purchased by adventurer Bear Grylls and converted into a holiday home (Reference : Wikipedia)

 

Ynys Yr Halen , Salt Island – Holy Island 

The island gained its name by a factory located on it which processed sea water in order to extract sea salt. By the early 18th century, the sea salt was often mixed with rock salt (often smuggled onto the island) to increase the quality of the factory’s product. The factory ceased production in 1775.

Another building no longer standing on the island was the Stanley Sailor’s Hospital. This hospital was set up in 1871 by a local philanthropist  fame of the Stanleys who owned a large and initially only treated sailors although it quickly became a general hospital. It was taken over by the National Health Service in 1948 and closed its doors in 1987.

There have been three lighthouses located on the island. The current lighthouse is the Holyhead Mail Pier Light. It was designed by John Rennie the Elder in 1821, although he died before supervising the construction. It is one of the few surviving examples of Rennie’s work. The lighthouse was superseded by the Holyhead Breakwater Lighthouse when the new harbor opened in 1873.

The main pier on the island, the Admiralty Pier, was opened in 1821. At around 980 feet (300 m) long it extends east into the sea and has been used to handle ferry traffic since it was opened. Due to its important historical links between Great Britain and Ireland, the pier has twice had royal visitors, once on 7 August 1821 when King George IV arrived from Ireland and once in 1898 when Queen Victoria set sail for her last voyage to Ireland. (Reference : Wikipedia)

 

Ynys Dylas – Dylan Island – Redwharf bay

This is another peninsula which is detached completely from the Dinas mainland. Picaresque view, blue sea and a beautiful triangular point above 466 feet of the sea are perfect to relax and enjoy the serenity of nature. This island is actually located the midst of the Pembrokeshire Coast National Park.

The island is situated about a mile and a half offshore, within Dulas Bay. The size of the island depends on the tide, with a maximum length of 623 metres and width of 207 metres. The island is mainly rocky, but at low tide sand is exposed, most noticeably on the southern part of the island. Seals are often spotted living on and around the island. There is also very little flora on the island owing to its rocky composition. However, on lower lying parts of the island, exposed at low tide, seaweeds and other sea plants live. A smaller rock called Garreg Allan (‘The Outer, Expelled or Furthest Stone’) is found about 100 m behind the island, but is not visible with the naked eye from the shore.

Ynys Dulas is a  raised shelf of seabed about 1.5 km long. The sea around it is no more than 5 metres deep, this is followed by a drop to water much deeper (over 20 metres deep), which indicates that Ynys Dulas may have been part of a recently (geologically speaking) submerged headland. The island also marks the termination of an old limestone headland which geologically separated Dulas Bay from Lligwy Bay and Red Wharf Bay.

The island has a rescue tower that once stored food and provided shelter for shipwrecked seamen. The cylindrical, stone-cone shaped structure was completed in 1824 by Colonel James Hughes of Llys Dulas Manor. A map drawn up in September 1748 by Lewis Morris shows the island named as Ynys Gadarn (Strong or Mighty Island) not Ynys Dulas. (Reference : Wikipedia)

 

Ynys Tysilio Church Island- Menai Bridge 

This place is located at the Anglesey shore and in the Menai Strait. the most popular and attractive part of the place is St Tysilio’s Church, which was established in the 15THcentury. This churchyard is a Great War memorial. You will find many birds on the island and so the water animals.

Church Island is located in the Menai Strait, off the south-eastern shore of the island of Anglesey, close to the town of Menai Bridge. It is located in a stretch of the Menai known as the Swellies, with the stretch of water to the south of the church is prone to strong tidal currents. Access to the island is via a short tidal causeway, which meets the Wales Coast Path long-distance footpath at its Anglesey end. 

St Tysilio’s, a single-chamber church, is the major feature on the island, along with its graveyard and a war memorial near the highest point, which was designed by Harold Hughes and was given a grade-II listing in 1997.

The early history of the island, including details of the construction of the causeway to the Anglesey mainland, is unknown. The first recorded occupation was by Prince Tysilio, later Saint Tysilio, who was the son of Brochwel Ysgithrog, a king of Powys. Tysilio arrived on Church Island in approximately AD 630, and founded a hermitage there. He remained there for around seven years, before moving to Meifod where he became an abbot. No trace of Tysilio’s hermitage survives on Church Island today. 

The present-day church of Saint Tysilio was founded in the fifteenth century. It is not known who built the church, but it is likely that it replaced an earlier structure on the same site. (Reference : Wikipedia)

 

 

Ynys Castell – Menai Bridge 

This is another small Island of the Menai Strait that separates the mainland Wales and Anglesey. This is place is located between Ynys Gaint and Ynys y Big. There is a private house in the Island, an ideal gateway to escape from the hustle-bustle of the city life. You will pass this by if you are on the Menai strait on any kind of boat or vessel moving up from Menai bridge towards Caernarfon area. IU was at university in this area and often we used to kayak or SUP around this island, it is a rather dreamy place to have a dwelling!

 

Ynys Badrig – Middle Mouse  – Llanbadrig

The island Ynus Badrig is named after Saint Patrick the “Welsh Saint” (thats correct – NOT the Irish saint) as well as the town opposite it on the Anglesey mainland, called LLAN- BADRIG, “Place or parish of Patrick”. He was shipwrecked here in many moons ago and was Brough ashore to the mainland where he founded his church.

Middle Mouse (Welsh: Ynys BadrigPatrick’s island) is an uninhabited island situated 1 kilometre off the north coast of Anglesey. It is notable as the northernmost point of Wales.

The island measures a maximum of 207 metres by 110 metres, with a maximum area of 3.7 acres and has a maximum altitude of 16 metres above sea level. It is one of a chain of three islands off the north of Anglesey, the others being Ynys Amlwch and Maen y Bugail.

Local legend has it that St Patrick was shipwrecked there, giving rise to its Welsh name. He then swam ashore and eventually founded the nearby church of Llanbadrig in about 440 AD, believed to be the oldest Christian site in Wales.

Middle Mouse is a favoured place for cormorants, guillemots and razorbills. For visiting scuba divers the attractions are steep underwater cliffs that drop away to 40 metres with abundant marine life. There is very little protection from the fierce tidal flow, so accurate timing for slack water is required.

During the 19th century the island was used as a navigational aid to ships sailing into Liverpool. Any vessel that passed the island without signalling, and waiting for, a pilot was liable to incur a fine. The S.S. Liverpool, following a collision with a ship named Laplata, was shipwrecked near Middle Mouse in 1863. She had on board a shipment of tin ingots. (Reference : Wikipedia)

 

Ynys Gaint – Menai Bridge 

Ynys Gaint is a small island in the Menai Strait connected to the town of Menai Bridge on Anglesey by a causeway (which still exists today) and also a concrete bridge erected by Sir William Fison (a previous owner of the island) in the 1930s. Literally translated Ynys Gaint mean Kent Island.

Ynys Gaint lies close to the Anglesey shore at Menai bridge, between Ynys Faelog and Ynys Castell. Between 1942 and 1944 the island housed a Royal Air Force air-sea rescue unit, with several high speed launches, and a small part of the island is still occupied by the MOD, housing a Royal Naval Auxiliary Service (RNXS) unit until 1994. A quasi-military presence remains on the island in the form of an Army Cadet unit and the Maritime Volunteer Service. There are also two privately owned residential properties on Ynys Gaint. One of these had a portion of its garden designed by Sir Clough Williams-Ellis, of Portmeirion fame. (Reference : Wikipedia)

 

Ynys Faelog – Menai Bridge 

A tiny but beautiful Island of Minai Strait is located between Isle of Anglesey and Gwynedd and very near of the Minai Bridge town. This place connected with the Anglesey Mainland by a stone causeway. There is a small two-storey house also with boathouse and outbuildings. It was recently up for sale online for a budding seaside family wanting a bolthole away from it all, I’ve no idea if it sold or not, you will have to check. Cracking location to live though…

 

 

Maps of the Islands of north Wales 

Islands of north Wales map
Islands of north Wales map

Click the link here to get access to the interactive version of the map

 

 

Photo by Neil Thomason Unsplash

Tan Y Tro Nesaf  / Until the next time,

 

Nick

 

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