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Visiting Porth Meudwy

Steps to Porth Meudwy
Coast path leading to Porth Meudwy | © National Trust Images

Pilgrims and day-trippers have been ferried over to Ynys Enlli for centuries from Porth Meudwy. Soak up the nature and history of this idyllic little cove.

The big 5

From Aberdaron to Uwchmynydd, this part of Llŷn is rich in wildlife. Whilst walking the Wales Coast Path make sure to keep an eye out for the ‘Big 5’.

The combinations of coastal grassland and heathland for feeding, and rocky cliffs for nesting, make the western part of the peninsula one of the best places in Wales to see choughs twisting and tumbling above the cliffs or searching for insects in short vegetation.

Grey seals can regularly be spotted around this coastline. The seals’ favourite haul-out spots, rocky beaches and sea caves- the more secluded the better. The rich waters around Llŷn provide the seals with plenty of fish to eat.

Peregrine falcons are often found along rocky sea cliffs, and this impressive falcon with a spotted breast and an obvious black moustache, has made the cliffs between Aberdaron and Mynydd Mawr its home. They’re one of the fastest animals in the world and can reach speeds of over 120mph!

Porpoises are shy creatures, and unlike the dolphin, you won’t see them surfing waves or riding alongside boats and jumping out of the water but scan the sea and you may see their fins. They’re much smaller than dolphins with a flatter face and a straight-edged dorsal fin.

Welsh mythology contains numerous references to hares, but invasive faming has had significant impact on them over the last century. Luckily farmland on Llŷn contains a good mix of habitats and you may well spot a hare’s long, black tipped ears. Hares are larger and have longer legs than rabbits, perfect for running at up to 45mph to avoid predators!

Brown Hare in the wild
Brown hare in the wild | © National Trust Images/Rob Coleman

Local history

The sea has been a constant companion to the land and the people of Llŷn for thousands of years, serving as an integral component of life for farmers, fishermen, and pilgrims.

Ynys Enlli (Bardsey Island) also known as the island of 20,000 saints has been a site of pilgrimage since the Middle Ages. Since Saint Cadfan built a monastery on the island in 516, it has been a place of importance in Christianity. It is said that three pilgrimages to Enlli were considered as beneficial and spiritual as one trip to Rome. The Pilgrims would rest and eat at Y Gegin Fawr, Aberdaron before heading to Porth Meudwy to embark on their crossing over to Enlli.

Present day pilgrimages to Enlli can still be had from Porth Meudwy, via a fast, modern boat. Visitors can immerse themselves in the awesome scenery along the way and soak up the nature and history of the island.

At this idyllic cove you will notice small wooden sailing boats. These types of boats are a unique design, tailored years ago to accommodate sails so that the local fishermen could conserve their strength when returning ashore after a long, arduous day of lobster catching. Today, almost all boats produced on Llŷn still have the distinctive qualities and characteristics of the traditional Aberdaron boat.

Today, local fishermen still use Porth Meudwy as a port to launch their boats in search of lobster and brown crab.

Fishing tackle on the beach at Porth Meudwy, Wales
Fishing tackle on the beach at Porth Meudwy. | © National Trust/Joe Cornish