We love our coastline and enjoy walking the Anglesey Coastal Path, relaxing on beaches and bobbing about on the water. Further offshore, there are world famous and significantly important shipping routes that span the seas around North Wales and as a result we have a number of fantastic lighthouses all around the coastline so explore and enjoy. They have been guiding ships to safety and acting as a welcome light to sailors for many years. For the old sailing ships, often carrying valuable cargo, the passage around the Isle of Anglesey onwards to the busy shipping port of Liverpool or over to Ireland, was, and still is one of the busiest in the world . These lighthouses, some of which have been converted into reserves, visitor centres or quirky cottages, are great to visit on foot or by boat, weather permitting!
Point Lynas Lighthouse
One of the closest to the Sage and Sea cottages and within a 15 minute walk is the iconic Point Lynas Lighthouse. The lighthouse was built in 1835 and is still in operation. The views from this stretch of coastline are spectacular. On a clear day you can see the Isle of Man, Ireland, The Clwydian Range and even Dumfries and Galloway. It is also a great place to spot wildlife. There is a pod of porpoises that call the bay their home and if you are very lucky, you could spot a minke whale, pilot whale or even an orca. Avid birdwatchers should come armed with their binoculars.
In the run up to Valentine’s Day, we couldn’t not mention the pretty Llanddwyn Island Lighthouses. Some would argue that there is no more romantic place in Wales that Llanddwyn Island. Enjoy a lovely walk through Newborough Nature Reserve and on to the slim island. You can visit the ruins of the chapel dedicated to St. Dwynwen, the Welsh Patron Saint of Lovers and continue to the pair of simple whitewashed lighthouses Tŵr Mawr and Tŵr Bach. They acted as a guide for ships heading to the Menai Strait to collect slate from the ports of Caernarfon, Felinheli and Bangor. Demi Moore even visited them to film the 2004 movie “Half Light.” With dunes to explore and historic buildings, it’s a great place for a walk and a picnic. Read a little more about the island's interesting history here.
An iconic and often photographed Anglesey landmark is South Stack Lighthouse that sits 60 metres high up on the tiny islet called South Stack Rock and is separated from Holyhead Island by a rough channel. It was built in 1809, however, in 1859 one of the most severe storms recorded smashed the coastline resulting in over 200 vessels and over 800 lives being lost including the famous Royal Charter steamship. By 1984 the lighthouse was automated and the keepers didn’t have to manage the light daily. A cable used to span the channel to link the keeper to the mainland. Down this would be sent supplies in the style of the book The Lighthouse Keepers Lunch! A suspension bridge eventually replaced the steep steps and cable. As a result, the island and the lighthouse are now part of an RSPB reserve and opened to visitors in 1997. Check it out in more detail here.
North Stack isn’t a lighthouse, however, it was home to a huge cannon that used to be fired to warn ships away from the cliffs. It was linked to South Stack as it was used in conjunction with a fog warning bell located there. This was eventually replaced by a siren and as a result the foghorn station and gunpowder store are now redundant. The views from North Stack are stunning as you are surrounded by steep sea cliffs with seals and porpoises below and hundreds of noisy seabirds above.
Skerries is a well known lighthouse which lies on a strip of submerged land north east of Holyhead, in the path of one of the major shipping lines from Liverpool across to Ireland. Its name comes from the Gaelic word “sgeir” which means rocky islet. Here in Wales, the islets are known as Ynys y Moelrhoniaid which means Islands of the Bald Headed Grey Seals. The lighthouse is hugely important from a safety point of view, however, it is also a significant site for the RSPB who manage the island reserve and is home to huge number of breeding terns, herring and lesser black-backed gulls and large numbers of breeding puffins. If you wish to visit Skerries, we can put you in touch with experienced tour guides who can take you by boat to experience this special place. To learn more about it click here.
Trwyn Du or Black Point was created in the 1800’s at the request of Liverpool master pilots. It sits on low-lying rock surrounded by beaches about half a mile south of Puffin Island. The circular stone tower is distinguished by three wide black bands. The lighthouse was converted to solar power in 1996 and there is a great walk over to the headland of Penmon Point. Here you can see Puffin Island and make your way back to the Menai Strait.
The impressive Holyhead Breakwater Lighthouse stands on the Holyhead Breakwater just outside the port of Holyhead itself. The huge 1.48 mile long breakwater was quarried from Holyhead Quarry. It was made square rather than cylindrical to make living in it easier. The bell operated in the lighthouse from the 19th century. This was backed up by rockets and the canon being fired from North Stack. The breakwater is a great spot for fishing and the perfect place for a walk and a picnic on a sunny day.
Holyhead Main Pier
The Main Pier Lighthouse sits at the end of the pier at Salt Island, marking the north side of the entrance to the harbour in downtown Holyhead. It is the second oldest lighthouse in Wales and a surviving design of John Rennie, a brilliant engineer of the industrial revolution. It is no longer in use as a lighthouse, however, sailors use it as a point of navigation. Its historical significance makes it worth a visit and a trip to Holyhead is a nice day out for the family. Find out more here.