Holy Island: Breakwater Country Park to Trearddur Bay

7 June 2022

Just a short hop from the beautiful Isle of Anglesey is Holy Island. These two islands are seamlessly connected by a wide road bridge. You could blink and miss the thrilling island-hopping moment because the distance between them is much shorter than the Wales to Anglesey crossing. At the northernmost point of Holy Island is the hard-working port of Holyhead, where we paused to watch a ferry arriving, before heading for the Coastal Path at Breakwater Country Park.

Breakwater Beginnings

As country parks go, Breakwater is unique. For a hundred years the site was riddled with quarries, which supplied material used for constructing the immense Holy Island Breakwater. When this was completed, the quarries continued to supply large stones for maintaining the sea wall. Beginning in 1894, William Wild and his workforce continued to work in the quarries for 75 years, building kilns for the manufacture of bricks which were sent far and wide. In spite of its bleak industrial heritage, Breakwater Country Park sings a heart-warming song to the relentless, reclaiming power of nature. The whole area was rewilded, with an abundance of nesting birds and plant life choosing to make the park their home.

There are several options for walking and strolling, including gentle footpaths near a small lake, a nature trail and a circular walk. For the more ambitious walker, there was a varied and interesting section of the way-marked Isle of Anglesey Coastal Path affording fabulous views across the bay and out to sea.

Reviving times of old

Breakwater Country Park also embraces the occasional tumbledown building. These surviving historical reference points awoke my inner archaeologist, leaving me wondering “what used to be here?” I was delighted to discover that the old brickworks had been cleverly re-purposed as an art gallery, so I passed an enjoyable hour mooching around a variety of showcased work. Striking artwork set against the harsh, functional nature of the brickworks delivered a pleasing contrast and much food for thought. Facilities also include an information centre, café, large children's play area, public toilets, picnic tables and paid parking.

Trearddur Bay

The final leg of my adventure was a personal pilgrimage to Trearddur Bay located along the beautiful coast of Holy Island. This was the place where it all began, when as a child, my parent's decided to abandon our caravan holiday. What was I hoping for by returning? What are any of us hoping for when we revisit a special place? And what are we hoping for when we set sail to discover somewhere new? Perhaps it's in stepping out of the ordinary, even when plans fail, sometimes especially when plans fail, powerful memories are forged which forever bind us to those we love most in all the world, and that's a very special thing.

Seeing Trearddur Bay properly, perhaps for the first time, was a special moment for me. The sweeping bay and big sky wrapped me in a warm welcoming embrace. A walk across the wide sandy beach filled my lungs with invigorating sea air. It's a glorious spot. Accepting the sea's invitation for a cheeky paddle, off came my shoes and socks! Wriggling my toes in the nippy water, for a fleeting moment I became the playful girl who used to be me.

One last stop

My Anglesey wishlist was almost complete. I'd devoured fish and chips by the sea, pondered as the sun set behind a hill, then watched it rise again the next day, paused to hear the birdsong, experienced the stunning coastal path, drank posh coffee and marvelled at the cuteness of a red squirrel. Just one wish remained – an ice cream! The Sea Shanty Café next to Trearddur Bay serves ice cream cones on a grand scale. On a beachside bench, I raised my cornet to Mum and Dad, thanked them for the memories, gazed out to sea and dreamed about my next Anglesey adventure.

Free attractions in this area to keep a look out for