Porthor and the Whistling Sands walk

Aberdaron, Gwynedd

Route details and mapDownload as a print friendly PDF
Looking down onto the Whistling Sands, which squeak underfoot © National Trust

Looking down onto the Whistling Sands, which squeak underfoot

Dinas Fawr and Dinas Bach are favourite places for grey seals © National Trust

Dinas Fawr and Dinas Bach are favourite places for grey seals

Looking up at the Second-World-War lookout point © National Trust

Looking up at the Second-World-War lookout point

Route overview

This walk is also available in Welsh.

The views are spectacular along this rugged coastline on the northern side of the Llwn Peninsula. This is a great walk to absorb some of the history and heritage of the area.

Route details

See this step-by-step route marked on a map

Map showing the route of the Porthor and the Whistling Sands walk
  • Directions
  • Route
  • Bus stop
  • Parking
  • Toilet
  • Viewpoint

Start: Car park at Whistling Sands, grid ref: SH170293

  1. From the car park follow the orange way-marker along the path between the toilet cabins, then through a cluster of willow trees.

  2. There are great views of the Whistling Sands down on your right. Locals gave this crescent-shaped beach its name because of the squeak or whistling sound the sand makes underfoot. Follow the path until you come to a bench and a kissing gate on your left.

    Show/HideThe Whistling Sands' industrial past

    The Whistling Sands used to be a busy port, importing lime and coal and exporting farm produce like butter, cheese, eggs and poultry. Now, the beach is only busy during the summer when the cries of the gulls are mixed with the sounds of people enjoying themselves.

    Looking down onto the Whistling Sands, which squeak underfoot © National Trust
  3. Go through the kissing gate and follow the path that winds along the coastline. We're restoring the cliff slopes to your right, using aerial spraying to control bracken and returning to the tradition of grazing this coastline.

  4. Keep a good lookout here; you might be lucky enough to spot a seal, porpoise or even a dolphin swimming off the coast.

  5. The two islands down to your right are Dinas Bach ('small stronghold') and Dinas Fawr ('large stronghold'). Further along the coastline in the distance you'll see the peak of Mynydd Anelog rearing out of the Irish Sea.

    Show/HideFortified islands

    The islands of Dinas Bach and Dinas Fawr were probably fortified sites during the Iron Age, 2,000 years ago. Today they're popular haunts for grey seals.

    Dinas Fawr and Dinas Bach are favourite places for grey seals © National Trust
  6. Soon after you pass the first of the islands you come to a kissing gate with another immediately on your left. Go through both, following the way-marker up a gentle slope. Look out for yellowhammers and finches feeding on thistle seeds. The double fencing to the fields creates a wildlife corridor for all kinds of animals and birds.

  7. Follow the way-marker around the edge of the field up to Carreg. Turn right through the last kissing gate and follow the orange marker past Carreg to the road. Look out for the distinctive red rock, jasper, which used to be quarried here at Carreg.

    Show/HideLookout point

    The circular tower at the top of the hill above Carreg Farm - which you reach in section 7 of the walk - was built as a lookout point and used during the Second World War. It was topped with a glass dome to give shelter to the watchers as they peered out into the Irish Sea looking for enemy vessels.

    Looking up at the Second-World-War lookout point © National Trust
  8. When you reach the road turn left. After about 650 yards (600m) you'll see a signpost for the Whistling Sands. Follow this lane back to your starting point in the car park.

End: Car park at the Whistling Sands, grid ref: SH170293

  • Trail: Walking
  • Grade: Easy
  • Distance: 1 mile (1.6km)
  • Time: 30 minutes
  • OS Map: Landranger 253
  • Terrain:

    Moderately steep hill, four kissing gates, can be muddy. Dogs on leads are welcome. Route goes through some grazed fields.

  • How to get here:

    By bike: NCN Route 43 goes nearby, see Sustrans website for details

    By bus: Pwllheli to Rhydlios route goes close by, see Traveline-Cymru website for details

    By train: Nearest station Pwllheli, 15.5 miles (25km), see Traveline-Cymru website for details

    By car: A499 then B4413 Llanbedrog - Aberdaron road. Follow signs to Porthor/Whistling Sands. Post code for Sat Navs: LL53 8LH

     

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