Holiday Inspiration

The Best of Wales’ Secret Beaches

By Susan Ward Davies

brandy

Brandy Cove

Tacked on to the would-be heel of the Gower peninsula is a little known bay called Brandy Cove. A wide area of soft sand stretches out into the sea at low tide and if the water is low enough, it is even possible to walk along the shore to here from the popular Caswell Bay. Brandy Cove is often overlooked but it’s only a 20 minute stroll along the coastal path from the nearest car park, and very easy to find.

Follow signs to the main parking area at Caswell Bay, Swansea. Facing the sea, walk right along the small road and join the coastal path when you see the sign. Follow the path for about 20 mins, or until Brandy Bay comes into view. Take the access path at the back of the beach down to the sand.

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gwadn

Gwadn

Solva is one of the most picturesque fishing villages near St. David's, possibly in the whole of Pembrokeshire. The long, thin estuary empties of sea water for over half a mile at low tide, and takes a sharp turn just as it reaches the sea, making it an ideal harbour. Just next to the estuary, on the southern side, is a wide bay known locally as Gwadn, where large pebbles give way to sand at low tide and the swimming is excellent. For sun-worshippers and picnickers there are grassy banks behind the beach where you can laze in peace.

From the car park next to the harbour in Solva, Pembrokeshire, cross the bridge over the small river and follow the coastal path as it climbs up the headland next to the estuary. Walk over the top and you will descend directly to Gwadn.

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dinllaen

Porth Dinllaen

Porth Dinllaen is a popular seaside destination and gets busy in high summer, but for those who make the effort, there is a small, peaceful bay of perfect golden sand at one end. The access route to this pretty little beach passes the lively Ty Coch pub, which, in Saturdays in August, hosts full-on beach parties.

Park in the main car park at Porth Dinllaen, Gwynedd and take the steps down to the beach. Walk left with the sea on your right and keep following the quirky pathways as they lead you over small boat ramps, past isolated cottages, across the terrace of the pub and eventually to the secluded cove that is home to the local lifeboat and very little else, apart from sand.

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llandwyn

Llanddwyn Island

The magical isle of Llanddwyn is hidden away at the bottom of Anglesey, just next to the huge expanse of sand that swirls under the waves of Llanddwyn Bay. Over the years the area has claimed many vessels during winter storms, but in summer the waters around the island are perfectly safe for swimming and at low tide numerous sandy inlets are revealed. Head to the north side for the most secluded areas, but don't miss the ancient lighthouse and the beautiful views of the Lleyn peninsula from the south side.

Drive to Newborough, Anglesey, and then follow the signs to the main car park for Llanddwyn Island. From the car park it’s about a 20-minute walk along the edge of the Newborough Forest and the sandy shoreline to reach the island.

ESSENTIAL KIT

Footwear : Most of these beaches are accessed along coastal paths, which can be steep and rocky, so wear trainers or shoes with grip.

Tide Table: To enjoy a beach at its best, and for the longest period of time, always go when the tide is on its way out, so get hold of a tide table so you can plan your day. Smaller beaches which are often rocky at high tide, will usually reveal a hidden carpet of sand from mid- to low tide.

Rob Smith is the author of Secret Beaches available from secretbeaches.co.uk, or amazon.co.uk.

Like the pick of Welsh beaches? For more inspiration, read The Secret Coolness of Wales in the August edition of ELLE, and see five of the Best Little Welsh Wonders

or try

ELLE's pick of the best places to stay in the Lake District.

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