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Llanddwyn Island - The Pathway to Love?
21/01/2004

Legend recounts the link between Ynys Llanddwyn and Dwynwen, the patron Saint of Welsh Lovers. St Dwynwen’s day is celebrated on Sunday 25th January and access to this tranquil natural sanctuary has never been better with recent improvements to footpaths on the Island.

"The improved network of paths will make it much easier for visitors to the island to follow in the footsteps of St Dwynwen. More than 250,000 people visit the Newborough Warren / Ynys Llanddwyn National Nature Reserve. Today, St Dwynwen's well on the island has become a place of pilgrimage for anxious lovers,"

said Wil Sandison, Countryside Council for Wales's Area Warden at Ynys Llanddwyn.

Ynys Llanddwyn, and the neighbouring beach retain their Blue Flag Beach status because of its cleanliness, safety and high environmental standards. Grant aid from the Welsh Tourist Board to help improve visitor facilities on these Blue Flag Beaches has contributed to improving footpaths and erecting interpretation boards for visitors.

"There are now more than 10 miles of footpaths criss-crossing Ynys Llanddwyn and Newborough Warren, and this grant aid has allowed us to develop the visitor facilities here. Indeed, we hope that more visitors take to the paths and take the opportunity to look at the rich variety of wildlife as well as some of the most spectacular scenery in Wales. An exhibition in the Pilots' cottages, tracing back the history of the island, is also open to the public during the summer,"

added Wil Sandison.

Ynys Llanddwyn Newborough Warren was one of the first areas in Britain to become a National Nature Reserve. The shifting sands from Caernarfon Bay have formed Newborough Warren, one of the finest dunelands in Wales. Ynys yr Adar, just off Llanddwyn is nesting ground for one per cent of the breeding population of cormorants in Britain. The reserve has many important geological features as well as spectacular wildlife - mounds of rocks were formed by undersea volcanic eruptions of hardened lava, called pillow lava, because of its appearance.

Ynys Llanddwyn is not quite an island. It remains a part of Anglesey except during the highest of tides.
Its location, as a gateway to the Menai Straits, meant that Llanddwyn became a guiding point for ships. In 1840, lifeboatmen were stationed there for the first time and used a naval cannon to summon the lifeboat crew. It first boomed when the 'Mountaineer', bound for Liverpool floundered on the sands. During its time up to the closure in 1903, the lifeboat saved 101 lives.

St Dwynwen lived during the 5th century AD and was one of 24 daughters of St Brychan, a Welsh Prince of Brecon.
She fell in love with Maelon, and because her father would not let her marry him, she fled to Llanddwyn to follow the life of a hermit.

Lovers have flocked to Ynys Llanddwyn ever since. It was said that the faithfulness of a lover could be seen by the behaviour of eels in St Dwynwen's well. A woman should scatter breadcrumbs on the surface and then cover them with a handkerchief. If an eel disturbed it, then her lover would be faithful.
The Latin Cross to St Dwynwen bears the date of her death 25th January 465.


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