Skip to content

Bird-spotting at Cemlyn

A wide-angle shot of a person walking along the shoreline at Cemlyn Bay, Anglesey. The bay sweeps around in a curve, and the sea is gently lapping the shore.
A visitor walking at Cemlyn Bay | © National Trust Images/John Millar

A walk along the rugged landscape of the north coast of Anglesey brings with it a chance for bird-spotting a variety of unusual birds. Cemlyn is managed and monitored as a nature reserve – one of the first in Wales, with the lagoon managed by the North Wales Wildlife Trust.

History of Cemlyn on Anglesey

Cemlyn’s name reflects the unusual formation of the natural lagoon, separated from the sea by a shingle bar, Cam (crooked) and llyn (lake), describe the shape of the lagoon. It includes an historic mill and medieval church and was the site of Anglesey’s first lifeboat.

A treacherous coastline

The rocky shoreline along this area was the scene of many shipwrecks in the past and is part of a designated Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB) running around the coast of Anglesey. Much of the coastline around Cemlyn is also designated a National Nature Reserve (NNR) and Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI).

Arctic tern parent brooding two young chicks in the ground nest, on the Farne Islands, Northumberland
Arctic tern, with chicks | © National Trust Images/GillianDay LRPS

Return of summer visitors

Home to an internationally important colony of Sandwich terns, a highlight of the natural year is when the colony of terns return during the months of May through until July. Nesting colonies of Sandwich, Arctic and Common terns can be seen in the area, with the rarer Roseate tern also seen by a lucky few.

Cemlyn has the third largest colony of terns in the United Kingdom, with around 1,500 pairs counted in recent years.

Dog-walking at Cemlyn

This is a great area for walking your dog, with a variety of different routes.

With the amount of birds in the area, we do ask that dogs are always kept on short leads and that any dog waste is picked up. This is important throughout the year, but particularly during the nesting season and around wildlife.

The Canine Code

We’ve worked with our partner Forthglade to come up with this Canine Code, which helps to make sure everyone can enjoy their day:

  • Keep them close: using a short lead helps to keep your dog from disturbing ground-nesting birds and farm animals. It's essential to use a short lead around sheep. But if cattle approach you, it's best to let your dog off the lead, and call them back when it's safe to do so.
  • Pick up the poo: please always clear up after your dog. If you can't find a bin nearby, take the poo bags home with you.
  • Watch the signs: keep an eye on local signs and notices wherever you're walking. They'll tell you if a beach has a dog ban, for instance, or if a path has been diverted, or if you're in an area where dogs can run off-lead.
  • Stay on the ball: remember that not everyone loves dogs, and some people fear them. So make sure your dog doesn't run up to other people, especially children.

Keeping control of your dog

Our definition of close or effective control is: ​

  • Being able to recall your dogs in any situation at the first call
  • Being able to clearly see your dog at all times (not just knowing they have gone into the undergrowth or over the crest of the hill). In practice, this means keeping them on a footpath if the surrounding vegetation is too dense for your dog to be visible
  • Not allowing them to approach other visitors without their consent
  • Having a lead with you to use if you encounter livestock or wildlife, or if you are asked to use one

Car park during high tides

The car park at the west end of Cemlyn Bay can become submerged during high tides. Please check the tide times before your visit.

Visitor walking on the beach at Cemlyn Bay, Anglesey, North Wales

Discover more at Cemlyn

Find out how to get to Cemlyn, where to park, the things to see and do and more.

You might also be interested in

A close up of a panting dog sat down and being stroked by its owners, taken in the garden at Hanbury Hall and Gardens, Worcestershire

Visiting Plas Newydd with your dog 

Plas Newydd is a two pawprint rated place. Tails will be wagging with excitement as we welcome your dog to the garden and grounds. Explore the Rhododendron Garden, Camellia Dell, Arboretum and Church Wood.

A red squirrel perches on a branch eating something with green ferns behind, on Brownsea Island, Poole Harbour, Dorset

Red squirrels at Plas Newydd 

Have you ever seen a red squirrel in the wild? Plas Newydd on Anglesey has over 100. Come for a walk and see these amazing creatures in their natural habitat.