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The Small Islands of North Wales - Bardsey, St Tudwal’s, Llanddwyn and Puffin Island

Written by The Wales Cottage Holidays Team on

Lying off the south-west tip of the Lleyn peninsula, Bardsey Island (Ynys Enlli) has been noted as a place of pilgrimage since the early years of Christianity, but there are signs of settlements on the island that date from earlier periods. It became a focal point for the Celtic Christian Church, attracting devout monks, and it is believed that St Cadfan began building a monastery on the island in the C6th.

The island is a National Nature Reserve and is home to a huge variety and diversity of wildlife; the air around the cliffs is full of gulls, cormorants and shags. Throughout spring more birds arrive from their wintering grounds out at sea. They include kittiwakes, razorbills, guillemots, fulmars and Manx shearwaters. Access is by boat only and day trips start from Porth Meudwy, near Aberdaron with between 3 and 4 hours to explore the island. Saint Tudwal's Islands are two small privately owned islands (East and West) that lie south-east of Abersoch off the Lleyn peninsula. The East Island is believed to be the original hermitage of Saint Tudwal and the West has an active automated lighthouse.

Boat trips from Pwllheli Marina take in the islands. Just off the north-eastern tip of Anglesey, Puffin Island (Ynys Seiriol) is a privately owned uninhabited island about 4 miles from Beaumaris and is designated a Special Protection Area on account of its large cormorant population, one of the largest colonies in the British Isles. It was formerly known as Priestholm and the Welsh name refers to Saint Seiriol, who established a monastic settlement on the island in the C6th.

Pleasure Boat Trips from Easter to October to view the island, its seal colony and birdlife are available from Beaumaris Pier. Llanddwyn Island (Ynys Llanddwyn) is a small tidal island; it remains attached to the mainland except for a few hours at high tides. It forms part of the Newborough Warren National Nature Reserve, one of the finest coastal sand dune systems in Britain. The island is very rich in legends and in particular the association with Dwynwen; the Welsh patron saint of lovers, making her the Welsh equivalent of St. Valentine.

The Wales Cottage Holidays Team

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