The weather on Anglesey has been its usual changeable self the past week, one minute it’ll be pouring with torrential rain, the next we have sunny blue skies. It makes planning what to do for the day difficult as you don’t know whether it’ll stay dry or not. I get really grumpy when it’s cold and wet, so if the forecast isn’t good I’ll usually just stay in and try to entertain myself rather than risk getting rained on. The problem is I get just as fed up staying indoors staring at the same four walls. My little boy is still too young to sit and watch a film; activities like painting only provide a short distraction and I just can’t cope with having to read The Very Hungry Caterpillar 178 times in a row…
On Saturday however I was pleased to see sunny skies when I woke up, which meant we could finally go out and get some fresh air. After lunch we got in the car without any real plan where we’d end up, I decided I’d just drive and see where caught my fancy. Eventually, after a scenic drive through the wild and rugged landscapes of Western Anglesey, I decided to head towards one of the most popular spots on the island, Newborough Forest.
The forest occupies a large expanse of the South-Western corner of the Isle of Anglesey. It was created between the 40s and 70s, using mainly Corsican pine, to protect the nearby homes from the encroaching sand dunes, as well as to provide a source of wood which was much in demand at the time. The entire warren – consisting of the forest, sand dunes and mud flats, covers around 23km². Well maintained and instagrammably beautiful, it’s the perfect place to spend anywhere from an hour or two to a whole day.
Like pretty much anyone who grew up on the island I spent many days in the forest as a child. We’d come with our bikes, and cycle along the rough tracks for hours before stopping for a picnic in a glade.
But today we were just going for a quick stroll. It costs £4 to enter the forest and when we arrived the car park was heaving, however, once in the forest, you don’t feel as though it’s overcrowded. The forest has a number of marked trails suitable for walkers, cyclists and horseriders, and there is a description of each one on signs in the car park, so you can decide how challenging a walk/ride you fancy.
The most popular walk is to Llanddwyn Island. Llanddwyn is famous in Wales for being the home of Santes (Saint) Dwynwen, the Welsh patron saint of lovers – so our version of St. Valentine. You can walk through the woods or along the beautiful beach which has fine white sand. This time we didn’t get as far as the island although we could catch a glimpse through the trees.
As it was so windy, we ended up avoiding the beach altogether as my little boy got a bit distressed when the sand blew into his face. In the woods, however, the tall pines offered some much-needed protection from the wind and out of the breeze it was pleasant and warm.
If you are lucky you might see red squirrels in the forest as this is an area dedicated to the protection and conservation of these animals. In fact, nowadays, they outnumber the grey squirrel. But on this occasion we didn’t catch a glimpse of a bushy red tail in the leaves.
What we did find were plenty of nice dirty puddles to splash in! It made everyone who passed us laugh to see my little boy covered in drops of puddle water having a whale of a time! If you can’t splash in puddles when you’re little, when can you?!