Monday, 28 January 2008

Tresaith and Mwnt

It was such a lovely sunny day yesterday that we decided to pack a picnic and head for the coast. The north beckoned, so we pointed the car towards Tresaith, a tiny beach two miles north of Aberporth. It's a tiny little village with a pub and lots of holiday homes cheek by jowl on the sloping land leading down to the cove. It has a pub and a shop, although the latter was still shut for the winter season. When we arrived the tide was well in and the sand was full of cantering ponies which entertained us while we scoffed our cheese and ham sandwiches. By the time the last of the grapes had been fought over the ponies had gone home and we had the beach to ourselves.

At the far end of the beach is a raft of rocks, just prefect for climbing, which gave a lovely vantage point from which to see the waterfall.

The second beach we visited was Mwnt, which is National Trust owned. The National Trust's website describes it as follows:

"This beautiful beach is a perfect sandy cove, bounded on the north by the dramatic headland of Foel y Mwnt is a geological SSSI and part of the Ceredigion Heritage Coast. Steeped in wildlife, it’s a great place to spot seals and bottle-nosed, common and Risso dolphins playing among the waves. "

There are a hundred million steps down to the beach (Hannah counted them) and we did them three times. When we reached the reached the bottom after the first descent Rosie announced that she needed to go to the toilet. So we trotted back up. The toilets, of course, were locked, so we sneaked around the back where we found a yellowed patch of grass which obviously served as the winter facilities. Then we went back down the hundred million steps again to the beach.
This waterfall runs alongside the steps, crashing down over the rocks to the beach below.

It is a beautiful, tranquil beach, with some impressive waves. A lone surfer was just packing up as we got there. The cliffs are very tall either side, so it was quite dark and comfortable, as if the beach is held in a big, rocky hug.

Everywhere there was foam. I assume that it is from the oil tankers washing out their tanks before or after visiting the refineries at Milford Haven. They are not supposed to do this, but they do and it makes the beaches sudsy for weeks afterwards. It got our wellies really clean though!

Rosie collected a wave or two in her boots and the girls were getting tired, so we headed back up the hundred million steps to the car park. There is a walk up a steep hill to the point of the headland, but Hannah and Rosie mutinied at this point. But they did agree to walk over to the pretty white-painted church.

According to The National Trust website: "The bay was a battle site in 1155, when an invasion of Flemings was repelled by the Welsh, and the church of the Holy Cross nearby was built in the thirteenth or fourteenth century on the site of an old Celtic saint’s cell, on the pilgrimage route to Bardsey."

The church, basking in the late afternoon January sun, was picture postcard perfect. A beautiful, tanquil spot, ideal for an old Celtic saint. The bay and its little headland oozed history and heritage from every blade of grass.

It was a lovely day. They were two beautiful beaches that we had not visited before and I can recommend both, for different reasons.

Tresaith would be a lively vibrant place to visit in the summer for ice creams and sandcastle building, although it had a lot to offer on a sunny winter's day too, with rocks to clamber, pools to explore and waves to dodge. Parking might be difficult in the summer though, even in January we were lucky to find a space so close to the beach.

Mwnt was a much more spiritual place, very calm and peaceful; somewhere to walk and contemplate. Not a place to take a pushchair and small children, or those who might find the 'hundred million steps' a bit too much of a challenge. Both were particularly lovely on a sunny winter's day as the sun dipped behind the cliffs bathing everywhere in slanting golden beams.


  1. Absolutely beautiful photographs. I love the idea of a hundred million steps!!

    Crystal xx

  2. Lovely blog. I always enjoy going to the 'seaside' in the winter. We used to go every New Years Day when we lived in Sussex and the children were small.
    I know those places you visted and agree they are worth a visit, quieter off season too.....shame about the toilets. Public loos aew a sore point here as they are trying to close down public loos everywhere.

  3. Your photographs and your words join beautifully to allow us to go up and down those steps, see the foam, wash our wellies, be awed by the cliffs, see that afternoon light on the church, maybe be the one to gobble the last grape, hear the laughter.

    What a fantastic way to enjoy a winter's afternoon. I bet that your girls will remember it forever.


  4. Your blog really cheered me up this afternoon, our weather has been dreary and depressing. It was so lovely to see the gorgeous, sunny photos of such beautiful places.

  5. LIke Cait I love the seaside out of season, your day soudns idyllic.

  6. wonderful photos and ROCKS on the beach. Are there rock pools? Sadly here we just have sand..........

  7. Wow - just wow - what a fantastic day - even if the beaches were a bit foamy - better than oil I guess.

  8. Looks absolutely gorgeous. I love wild beaches. Sounds like you all had a great day out.


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