St Hywyn's church, Llŷn Peninsula

A long walk, easily made into a shorter walk with sweeping views over the rugged cliffs at the tip of the Llyn Peninsula

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Start and finish

Mynydd Mawr to Aberdaron

Distance

Mynydd Mawr to Aberdaron 4.5 miles or 7 km one way
Shorter walk option -  Porth Meudwy to Aberdaron 1.5 miles or 2.5 km one way. There is a small National Trust car park at Porth Meudwy- point 5 on the map.

Along the way

Begin your journey at the summit of the National Trust’s Mynydd Mawr, a Site of Special Scientific Interest and home to some of the best views on Llŷn. Gaze out across the waves to spot emerald-coloured Bardsey Island, the Island of 20,000 Saints. On a clear day and you can even see the peaks of Ireland’s Wicklow Mountains on the other side of the Irish Sea.

Look north and you’ll see Llŷn’s rugged coastline, dotted with small peaks, while to the south towards Aberdaron is the five-mile span of Porth Neigwl beach.

From Mynydd Mawr, follow the coast path around the tip of Llŷn through some of the most remote and exciting coastal landscape the Llyn has to offer. You’ll discover a host of hidden bays and inlets alive with seabirds, walk along the steep cliffs of Parwyd and climb up 303 feet or 92 metres Pen y Cil for widescreen breath-taking vistas of Aberdaron bay.

Carry on along the coast to the pretty fishing port of Porth Meuddwy (a great alternative start point if you prefer a shorter walk) and on past Porth Simdde to Aberdaron and St Hywyn’s church overlooking the bay, before retracing your steps back to the beginning of your walk.

About the Sacred Heritage Place

Established in AD516 by the saint that whose name it bears, St Hywyn’s church is a vital part of Llŷn’s spiritual landscape with deep links to holy Bardsey Island (Hywyn’s cousin Cadfan built the monastery there).

The stone church that stands today, just metres from the shore, was raised in the 11th century. It served as a final resting point for pilgrims on their way to Bardsey, before they made the treacherous final leg of their journey over the swirling waters of Bardsey Sound to the island.

Inside, the church is spacious and airy, with light reflecting off the sea to illuminate a wonderful 16th century timber roof. You’ll also see gravestones of Roman Presbyters who brought Christianity to this remote part of Wales.

Dating back to the 6th century, these ancient memorials possibly predate the monastery on Bardsey Island. More recently, St Hywyn’s was the final parish of the late writer and priest R.S. Thomas, one of Wales’ greatest English language poets.

Find out more about St Hywyn's church

Walk Highlights

Rhys Gwyn Roberts, Wales Coast Path Officer says "early summer is an amazing time for the wildflowers along this stretch of coast, with thrift, rock rose, sea squill, campion and much more, it is truly a great display."

Need to know

There is parking at Mynydd Mawr, Porth Meuddwy and Aberdaron. There’s also the option of using the seasonal Llŷn Coastal Bus for details. You’ll find public toilets, shops, cafés and pubs in Aberdaron.

Itinerary and map

You can also download the printable the walking itinerary and the route map to take with you on your walk.

Acknowledgments

  • This walk was developed in partnership with the National Churches Trust. Visit their website www.explorechurches.org/cymru to find out more including bookable tours and experiences.
  • Many thanks to Molly Lovatt (Natural Resources Wales) for helping on this walk.