An explorer's guide to the islands of Britain

52.919731, -4.127835
Distance: 2.9 km
Difficulty: 2
Method: Walking
Wow Factor: 9 out of 10

Key Facts

  • Location: North Wales
  • Size: <1 hectare
  • Terrain: Tidal sands, rocky foreshore
  • Access: Tidal crossing
  • Height gain: 16 metres
  • Map: OS Explorer OL18
  • Starting point: Car park for Ffestiniog Railway, Harbour Station, Porthmadog LL49 9NF. Lat/Long 52.924382, -4.126708; GR SH 5712938448
  • Accommodation/food:

    Toilets and refreshments at Spooners grill, café and bar on the Ffestiniog Railway platform. All facilities available in Porthmadog itself.

  • Island Summary:

    Cei Ballast sits in almost compete secrecy in the northern reaches of the River Glaslyn only a hundred metres away from the bustling town of Porthmadog. It is a low-lying, shrub-filled island built only 200 years or so ago from the discarded ballast of ships.

  • Look out for:
    • Epic tidal crossing
    • Deep, warm pools to swim
    • Hunt for rocks from all over the world
    • Local brews at Purple Moose brewery
  • Route description:

    Drop down onto the sands from The Cob, cross a tidal stream, heads into the salt marsh, samphire beds and cockle-filled sands beyond. The walk then follows the rocky foreshore – a colourful mix of chalk, red granite, brick, limestone, industrial slag, flint and the occasional piece of patterned pottery. There is no other foreshore quite like it in Britain.

  • Getting there:

    Train to Porthmadog station

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