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Explore Pistyll

Winter Scenes over Porth Pistyll beach
Winter scenes of Porth Pistyll | © Alex Jones

Rich in history and wildlife, follow the quarrying past of the miners and immerse yourself in the views over Nefyn bay and the isle of Anglesey.  Follow the waymarked path to Porth Pistyll beach, where the dramatic hills of Yr Eifl fall into the sea. Hundreds of seabirds, such as guillemots, nest on the cliffs of Carreg Llam. 

Wildlife  

Grazing on the hills are a herd of mountain goats. They’ve roamed this area for centuries and can be seen from Pistyll down to Nant Gwrtheyrn and on the slopes of Yr Eifl.  

Plants that can be seen at Pistyll include knapweed, yarrow, bluebells, and red campion. The gorse bushes will flourish in the summer months, filling the air with sweet coconut-like aromas. 

Providing one of the most important seabird nesting sites in North Wales is Carreg y Llam. At over 100m high the ledges are the perfect nesting location for a grand colony of seabirds such as razorbills, guillemots, and kittiwakes.  

With a total of 254 choughs spotted across Llŷn in a March 2022 survey, Pistyll and the surrounding area is a great location to see these rare birds in flight.  

A small guillemot chick sits on the cliffs of the farnes, a circular ball of fluff, with a white tummy and dark grey back and head.
A guillemot chick | © National Trust

Hidden gem 

Nestled between Penrhyn Bodeilias and Carreg y Llam lies the impressive storm-beach of Porth Pistyll. Over a mile long, composed mostly of granite pebbles and often unfrequented, this beach boasts a lovely setting for silence and reflection.

Pilgrimage 

The grade I listed church of St. Beuno is situated in a quiet hollow above the sea. An unaltered example of a small medieval church in Wales, it is believed to have been built in the 12th Century. 

Named after St. Beuno, a 7th Century Welsh Abbot, pilgrims would stop at the church for a well needed rest on before continuing their long journey to Ynys Enlli (Bardsey Island)  

Step back in time as you enter the church where the spirit of Celtic Christianity is very much alive. Look through the slot in the wall by the altar where lepers of the Middle Ages would watch mass away from the healthy churchgoers.  

Wild mountain goats on Hafod Y Llan farm, Snowdonia
Mountain goats | © National Trust Images/Paul Harris

Quarrying 

After the success of the granite quarry at Nant Gwrtheyrn and the high demand for building materials for the expansion of cities across the UK, Carreg y Llam quarry was opened in the late 19th Century. 

Between Carreg y Llam and two other quarries at Porth y Nant and Cae’r Nant, cargo ships were regularly loaded with granite setts and transferred to industrial cities such as Manchester and Liverpool. 

In the 1920s, large electrically operated stone crushers were assembled to produce ballast for roads and railways. In time, this introduced electricity to the local area. 

Hillforts at Tre'r Ceiri
Hillforts at Tre'r Ceiri | © National Trust images / Graham Eaton

Archaeology  

On the Pistyll and Carreg y Llam coastline, hut circles and enclosures have been recognised as proof of settlements dating back to the late prehistoric and Romano-British periods. Unfortunately, a once small hillfort situated at Carreg y Llam was destroyed due to quarrying in the area. 

There have also been records of medieval and post-medieval houses in the same locations as the older settlements 

Two visitors exploring the garden in spring at Quarry Bank, Cheshire

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