An explorer's guide to the islands of Britain

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:

    There is no accommodation on Ynys Giftan. There are three campsites close to Ynys Gifftan including Llech Camping; Tanforhesgan Caravan and Camping; and Barcdy Caravan Park and and Campsite Also, nearby, try the four-star Hotel Portmeirion ; or Edwardian Gwrach Ynys Country Guesthouse . The Ship Aground in Talsarnau is friendly and serves food; more facilities in Penrhyndeudraeth 3km away

  • Island Summary:

    A fabulous tidal walk across the Dwyryd Estuary to reach this island that sits in the shadows of the mountains of Snowdonia and the spires of the Italianate village of Portmeirion. The walk crosses beautiful salt marsh and expansive tidal sands for the ultimate in wild swim in the sun-warmed pools. It is also possible to explore the beautiful foreshore of Ynys Gifftan. It is a great place to explore if you are walking the Wales Coast Path between Porthmadog and Harlech

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

    The walk to Ynys Giftan starts from Talsarnau railway station on the mainland. Head north-west on the track, then follow the obvious derelict fence line into the salt marsh. Navigate around the larger water-filled channels on dry land – or jump in and squash through the gloopy mud of the channel bottoms.

    Cross the tidal sands to the rocks at the southern tip of the island. To walk around Ynys Giftan continue around the sands of the foreshore to the north tip of the island, then explore the ruins of the old farmhouse halfway down the east coast.

    Access two hours either side of high tide: check BBC tide tables for Criccieth.

    Full route details and more in “Islandeering: adventures around the edge of Britain’s hidden islands

  • Getting there:

    Getting to Ynys Giftan. Take the A496 from Harlech, turning L at Talsarnau’s pub, the Ship Aground, and follow signs to the rail station to park. Trains from Porthmadog and Harlech on the Cambrian Line. Alternatively, you can access Ynys Giftan from the Wales Coast Path if you are walking between Porthmadog and Harlech. Follow the free downloadable route description to get to Ynys Gifftan

    Whilst you are there why not also try:

    A tidal walk to Cei Ballast

    A circular walk around Bardsey Island

    A cycle ride around the whole of Anglesey

    A circular walk around Holy Island

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