An explorer's guide to the islands of Britain

52.912352, -4.081522
Distance: 4.5 km
Difficulty: Easy
Method: Walking
Wow Factor: 10 out of 10

Key Facts

  • Location: Gwynedd, North Wales
  • Size: 7.3 hectares
  • Terrain: Saltmarsh, low-tide estuary sand
  • Access: Tidal sands
  • Height gain: 22 metres
  • Map: OS Explorer OL18
  • Starting point: Talsarnau station. Lat/Long 52.9047, -4.0677; GR SH 610 361
  • Accommodation/food:

    None on the island; Ship Aground is friendly and serves food; more facilities in Penrhyndeudraeth 3km away.

  • Island Summary:

    Sitting at the head of the long Dwyryd estuary, one of the most unspoilt places in Cardigan Bay, Ynys Gifftan is surrounded by vast tidal sands, saltmarsh, and the mountains of Snowdonia. Its natural beauty is further enhanced by the ruined outline of Harlech Castle at the mouth of the estuary and the ornate spires and domes of Italianate Portmeirion just across the river.

  • Look out for:
    • Secret swims in the deep, warm pools
    • Foraging for samphire in the saltmarsh
    • Panoramic views of the majestic mountains of Snowdonia
    • Heavenly picnic spots on the rocks
  • Route description:

    Tidal access to the island is straightforward and the delightful circular walk is on the sands and the bedrock of the foreshore, passing numerous sun-warmed pools for a secluded swim.

  • Getting there:

    Take the A496 from Harlech, turning L at Talsarnau’s pub, the Ship Aground, and follow signs to the station. Trains from Porthmadog and Harlech on the Cambrian Line.

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