The Sections (Southern Coast)
This southern section of the walk climbs gently from Aberdaron to the hills of Mynydd Rhiw. This area was very important to the life of the poet R.S. Thomas, who served as the vicar of Aberdaron for many years. There is a plaque dedicated to his memory at the tiny church at Llanfaelrhys alongside the grave of his second wife Elsie, and the cottage where he spent his retirement overlooks Hell’s Mouth towards the end of the section. The remains of mine workings can be found by Porth Ysgo amidst spectacular coastal scenery. The section ends at Plas Yn Rhiw, the manor house and gardens owned by the Keating sisters and now maintained by the National Trust.
Distance: 7 miles / 11 km
This section is distinguished by the vast expanse of Hell’s Mouth, a huge beach that can be walked across at low tide (there is also an inland route for periods of high tide). This is a popular beach for surfers which obtained its ominous English name because of the large numbers of ships that were wrecked here. At the eastern end of Hell’s Mouth the route climbs up onto the plateau of the Cilan Headland; a rocky promontory offering superb views down Cardigan Bay. As the route rounds the headland you will spot St Tudwal’s islands on your right as you head north to the pretty harbour town of Abersoch. Abersoch has a wide choice of B&Bs and places to eat.
Distance: 14 miles / 23 km
The route now heads north east out of Abersoch along the long beach of the Warren before climbing over Mynydd Llanbedrog, topped by the famous Iron Man sculpture. The route then heads down to the village of Llanbedrog itself, home to the Plas Glyn y Weddw art gallery and cafe. After walking along Crugan Beach you will come to Pwllheli, the largest town on the Llŷn peninsula.
Distance: 8 miles / 13 km
After following the coast along Morfa Abererch you will walk along wooded lanes to Llanystumdwy, famous as the home town of Prime Minister Lloyd George. His childhood home is now a museum.
Distance: 10 miles / 16 km
Not far from Llanystumdwy is the seaside town of Criccieth, famous for its dramatic ruined castle. Continuing on from here you will come to the broad sandy expanse of Black Rock Sands which will lead you to Borth y Guest and then to Porthmadog, famous as the terminus of the Welsh Highland and Ffestiniog Steam Railways and for its rich maritime heritage on full display at the Maritime Museum.
Distance: 9 miles / 14 km