After a brisk one mile walk from the car park through Newborough forest and along part of the beach I finally reached Llanddwyn; although it's technically a peninsula at the northern end of Newborough beach it does actually become an island at times of high tide. I'd timed my visit just right though and the tide was on its way out, so I was able to walk straight off the beach and onto the island itself. Now having previously seen various photos of the island I have no doubt that on a sunny day with blue sky it looks quite nice, but with the grey clouds and chilly wind I found the place rather depressing. A footpath crossed the centre of the island, passing the remains of the old church, and at the far end was a terraced row of boat pilots' cottages, now used as an information/exhibition centre, a derelict boathouse and two old lighthouses, the oldest of which is actually in use. After a fair bit of wandering, and with half a dozen of the best shots I could get in the grey conditions, I made my way off the island and back along the beach to the car park.
After a quick drink and a walk through part of the forest with the dogs I set off back across Anglesey to the outskirts of Menai Bridge village; my destination this time was the Hidden Gardens, part of the Plas Cadnant private estate. Of all the times I've been to Anglesey I knew nothing about this place until a few weeks previously when I came across the website while searching the internet for something else - and 'hidden gardens' described it perfectly.
A short lane leading from the main road took me to the estate entrance gates from where a private driveway wound uphill through woodland then downhill through parkland to the grassy parking area and gardens at the bottom. For obvious reasons dogs weren't allowed in the actual gardens so once again it meant leaving Sophie and Sugar behind but with a couple of chews to keep them occupied for a while I don't think they minded. On paying my entrance fee I was given a map of the gardens, and though I could have joined an organised group walk I decided to go it alone and just wander at leisure - and I have to say that I was more than impressed.
Just beyond the entrance was a quaint stone cottage with a pretty little garden of its own, and a large walled garden with manicured lawns and trees cut into conical shapes sloped down to a pond at the bottom. Beyond the wall gravel paths meandered along and down the extensive rocky slope to a river where a waterfall tumbled through the trees into a deep pool below; rustic benches were set in little nooks just off the pathways and rhododendrons and azaleas were in full bloom, turning one large part of the garden into a riot of colour. With birdsong coming from the trees, and being well away from any populated areas, the whole place had an air of peace and tranquility and was, to my mind, certainly well worth the entrance fee.
When I'd finally finished my wanderings I returned to the van and took the dogs for a walk round the perimeter of the parking area, then not wanting to go anywhere else I set off back to the camp site. It was a shame that the weather hadn't been better - blue sky would have made all the difference to my photos - and though I wasn't sure if I would bother going to Llanddwyn Island again I knew I would definitely return to the Hidden Gardens in the not-too-distant future, and hopefully on a much nicer day.