Just two miles short of the end of the Lleyn Peninsula, nestles the attractive village of Aberdaron. Virtually on the beach, at the mouth of the River Daron, this laid-back whitewashed fishing village consists of a couple of dozen houses, a few hostelries, a few shops and an interesting church.
The small church of St Hywyn dates from the 12th century, though there has been a place of Christian worship here since the 5th century. St Hywyn was a disciple of St Cadfan, who founded monasteries throughout Wales, including the final resting place of 20000 saints, Bardsey Island. Two early tombstones, from around 5-6th century, The Senacus Stones, can be viewed at the church. The Welsh poet, R.S.Thomas, was the parish priest at St Hywyn’s for over a decade, much of his poetry inspired by the solitude to be found in this part of The Lleyn Peninsula. Over the years St Hywyn’s has been restored a number of times due to weathering and its proximity to the sea.
Most importantly, Aberdaron was (and is) the last stopping off point for pilgrims, on their journey to Bardsey Island. After a long journey on the Pilgrims Trail, Aberdaron was a place to take refreshments, spiritual guidance and a good night’s sleep before the final sea crossing to the island. Modern day pilgrims still take the journey, weather permitting, to the holy island, embarking from nearby Porth Meudwy. Fine views of the island can be seen from Mynydd Mawr, a small hill overlooking Bardsey Sound.
Before departing for Bardsey Island, 13th century pilgrims were given a free meal at Y Gegin Fawr (The Big Kitchen) in Aberdaron, this attractive stone built building still offers food; just don’t expect it for free!
The beach at Aberdaron is a south west facing sandy beach, gently shelving with safe bathing and popular with both bathers and water sports enthusiasts. Occasionally, conditions are suitable for surfing. Another nearby beach of note is Porth Oer, popularly known as Whistling Sands, due to the squeak emitted on the dry sand when walking across it. Further west, the coastline consists of mainly cliffs punctuated by the occasional secluded rocky cove.
Five miles east of Aberdaron, is the National Trust owned property, Plas Yn Rhiw, a small manor house, parts of which date from the 16th century. The delightful gardens offer lovely views across Cardigan Bay.
Aberdaron is an ideal base for those visitors that need to escape from the pressures of modern living. The local area offers fine hill walking, secluded beaches and quiet country lanes. Virtually as far west on the Lleyn peninsula as one can go, the pace of life here is very relaxed and reminiscent of another era. Paradise for those seeking peace and solitude.