Set at the base of the Twin Mountains, Garn Boduan and Mynydd Nefyn, this small, quiet village provides a good base for visitors to the north Lleyn coast.
The biggest draw, deservedly so, is the long stretch of sandy beach, Porth Nefyn, popular with families, sailors and sun seekers alike.
The hook like shape of the beach provides a natural harbour and in the nineteenth century, Nefyn gained prominence for shipbuilding and coastal trading, whilst a fleet of small boats gave Nefyn renown as an important herring fishery. The shoals of herring are now long gone and little remains to suggest the importance to Nefyn of these industries, but there is an interesting exhibition housed in the Old St Mary’s Church, which is well worth a visit. Another remnant of the fishing industry is the Nefyn Watch Tower (Y Twr) situated atop a Norman Motte. From the tower, a huer would give out his cry when the herring shoals were spotted.
The first inhabitants of Nefyn were probably the Iron Age settlers that made their home atop Garn Boduan 279m, a hilltop fort, where the remains of 170 round huts and their associated ramparts can be explored. The effort of the ascent of Garn Boduan is well rewarded with the magnificent views and this site makes an excellent picnic spot, whilst pondering the lives of those who stood here more than two millennia ago.
The foundations of The Old St Mary’s Church date from the sixth century and followers of the Pilgrims Trail would have, and still do, see Nefyn, as an important stopping point, whilst en route to Bardsey Island.
Documentation shows that Nefyn was probably an important 12th century manorial parish, belonging to the Gwynedd princes, though there is no archaeological evidence of this and only a few street and place names remind us of Nefyn’s illustrious past. When Edward 1st was celebrating his defeat of the Welsh, he held a tournament here in 1284, involving knights from all over Europe. The probable site is now known as Edwards Field or Cae Iorwerth.
The village has all the amenities necessary for everyday needs and yet despite the tourists, has kept its Welsh character. For a relaxing beach based holiday, or as a base for exploring the delights of the Lleyn Peninsula, Nefyn is perfectly situated.