There’s a place near Bangor, North Wales that I’ve been meaning re-explore for a very long time, the Lafan Nature Reserve near Penrhyn Castle, known locally as gypsy corner.
This is a place I visited when I was in primary school, I clearly remember that I’d forgotten my wellies and had to ring mum. I also remember being very specific that I needed long socks, not ankle socks – why are kids are so random?
Recently I found myself home alone with the kids and at a bit of a loose end. My husband was away mountain biking for the day with a work buddy, so I headed out with the little guys for a mini adventure at the Lafan Nature reserve where we’d pick up the costal path.
I don’t remember anything from the school trip all those years ago, expect that my friend and I paddled out so far that we got a good telling off and sea water in our wellies.
Lafan Nature reserve is easy to find, simply turn towards Tal-y-Bont at the Penrhyn Castle roundabout, continue until you see a left turn and a signpost for the nature reserve.
There’s free parking and picnic tables, although one of them was so overgrown and looked a bit prickly, the other was badly burnt by carelessly placed disposable BBQs.
Mum had told me that friends of hers forage for plump, salty marsh samphire down on this section of the coastline. So, we headed out with the vague idea of finding a good foraging spot and exploring this section of the path.
With our backs to the carpark we headed eastwards, turning right along the coast. After leaving the far end of the carpark it’s a short walk along the pebble beach before the path bears right, away from the coast up into a strip of trees that hugs the perimeter of the fields. There were birds, swifts or maybe house martins performing acrobatics swooping and plunging above the crop field catching their fill of little bugs.
The path is flat and open, the views towards the Carneddau and Glyders are phenomenal. It’s an easy going walk with lots of variety, a small estuary gave us the opportunity to pick some marsh samphire for our dinner – to my amazement the kids couldn’t get enough of these salty little shoots. Amongst the samphire shoots we spotted tiny little crabs scurrying about. I’m sure they didn’t like the attention from my kids.
Time was getting on so, just a mile or so shy of Abergwyngregyn we turned around and headed back to the car. We didn’t go straight back though, we overshot the car park and admired the view back towards the bridge at Porth Penrhyn. Here there are vertical eroded and weathered poles that huddle eerily by the estuary – we wondered what on earth they had been.
Having had a brilliant few hours we called into the chippy on Bangor’s beach road for a good old-fashioned chippy dinner.
This is not a specific route or walk as such, just a recommendation of a place to visit. In the future I will work out a walking route that goes this way.