Newborough National Nature Reserve and Forest, Anglesey

What's here

CAR PARK CLOSURES 18 & 19 SEPTEMBER: Beach, Cwningar and Airmans car parks closed to public due to Sandman Triathlon event. 

 

Part of the Llyn Parc Mawr car park is temporarily closed.

 

There are diversions on the Commonwealth Running Trail due to a collapsed culvert and maintenance work.

 

The bird hide (adjacent to the Llyn Rhos Ddu car park) is closed for maintenance.

 

From 4 October, maintenance work is being undertaken on the footpaths leading from the Llyn Rhos Ddu car park; this includes a section of the Dune Walk. The footpaths and car park remain open but please be aware of machinery and follow all instructions on site.

Welcome

Newborough Warren is one of the largest and finest dune systems in Britain.

The dunes, coastal marshes, sandy and rocky shores have been shaped over thousands of years by the wind and sea and are home to a dazzling array of plants and animals.

Newborough Warren and Ynys Llanddwyn was declared the first coastal National Nature Reserve in Wales in 1955.

The Corsican pine trees that make up Newborough Forest were planted between 1947 and 1965 to provide timber and to stabilise the shifting sand dunes.

Today it is a popular area for recreation and home to wildlife, especially red squirrels.

The Cefni Estuary and the pools behind the Pen Cob embankment are a sanctuary for birds and other wildlife and there are views across the estuary over an expanse of coastal marsh, open sand and sea.

What you can do here

You can walk anywhere on the beaches and on the network of footpaths or you can follow one of our waymarked walking trails.

There is also an Animal Puzzle Trail for younger visitors, two family friendly cycle trails, a trim trail and two waymarked running trails.

Walking trails

Walking trails start from several of our car parks at Newborough.

The walking trails are waymarked from start to finish.

Look out for the information panel at the start of the trail.

Find out about walking trail grades.

Saint, Sand and Sea Trail

Start: Beach car park

Distance: 4½ miles/7.1 kilometres

Time: 3 hours

Grade: Moderate

Please note:

Ynys Llanddwyn can be cut off in high tides

you should check tide times before starting this route. Check tide times on the BBC website.

the island can be very exposed and you should be prepared for bad weather conditions

This trail offers a family adventure taking in the forest, dunes and island.

The Saint, Sand and Sea Trail gives an insight into Newborough’s unique geological and cultural features, as well as its history and the legend of Saint Dwynwen.

You can make your way over to the island of Ynys Llanddwyn at low tide.

Audio trail

Learn more about local history and the legend of Saint Dwynwen on our Saint, Sand and Sea MP3 audio trail.

The audio trail is divided into sections which correspond to numbered posts along the Saint, Sand and Sea walking trail.

Nature/Animal Puzzle Trail

Animal Puzzle Trail

Start: Beach car park

Distance: 1 mile/1.5 kilometres

Time: 1 hour

Grade: Easy

Pick up a family activities pack from the dispenser and let the children take the lead as you search for the animals and clues along the trail.

The trail starts from the beach car park and continues on sections of stoned forest road and some sandy but uneven tracks before returning to the car park.

Princes and Pines Heritage Trail

Two women walking in Newborough Forest

Start: Cwnhingar car park

Distance: 3¼ miles/5.3 kilometres

Time: 2 hours

Grade: Moderate

Enjoy this circular walk through forest, dune and farmland. 

Lake View Trail

Grade: Accessible

Start: Llyn Parc Mawr car park

Distance: 985 feet/0.3 kilometre

Time: 15 minutes

Climb: Flat

Trail information: A flat 1.5 metre-wide well-surfaced trail with passing places and resting areas every 50 metres.

Follow the trail across the picnic site to the viewpoint over the hidden forest lake.

There you'll find information on the birds which live here, or stop at one of the picnic tables and look out for the red squirrels in the trees.

Red Squirrel Trail

Start: Llyn Parc Mawr car park

Distance: 1½ miles/2.4 kilometres

Time: 1 hour

Grade: Easy

Llyn Parc Mawr is one of the best places in Newborough to catch sight of one of our rarest mammals, the red squirrel.

On the trail find out more about their life in the forest from our information panels.

On the way you’ll see some great views of the wildlife lake and the pine forest.

Estuary View Walk

Estuary

Start: Pen Cob car park

Distance: 1¾ miles/2.9 kilometres

Time: 1 hour

Grade: Easy

Walk through the forest and alongside the Cefni estuary with its great variety of wildlife.

From our two viewing points see if you can spot the elusive osprey hunting for fish in the summer, or take a look alongside the saltmarsh for its variety of plants such as the common reed, Britain’s tallest native grass which was used for thatching.

Dune Walk

Start: Braint car park or Llyn Rhos Ddu car park

Distance: 3½ miles/5.6 kilometres

Time: 2-3 hours

Grade: Moderate

Enjoy the views from the Warren across to the mountains and along the coastline and the amazing display of wildflowers.

Boardwalk 

There is a short boardwalk from Beach car park to a viewing platform over the dunes.

The boardwalk is 53 metres long and is accessible for wheelchair users and pushchairs.

The shifting sands at Newborough mean that the boardwalk is often covered with sand, especially after bad weather.

We use a mini-digger to clear the boardwalk but it can soon be re-covered with sand, even within the same day.

Please note:

  • The boardwalk may be blocked with sand and closed to all visitors.
  • The boardwalk may be covered with sand, making it impassable for some wheelchair users and pushchairs.

Cycling trails

Our two cycle trails are ideal for all the family.

All our mountain bike trails are waymarked from start to finish and have been graded for difficulty.

At the start of the trail there is an information panel – please read this before setting off.

Bikequest Nature Challenge

Child pointing at sign with parents on bikes

Start: Beach car park

Distance: 7.8 kilometres

Grade: forest road or similar

Pick up a family activities pack from the dispenser in the car park.

Then follow the waymarkers and search for the information panels to answer the nature challenge questions.

Corsica Bike Trail

Start: Beach car park

Distance: 9.9 kilometres

Grade: forest road or similar

This waymarked circular route is mainly on forest roads and has views of the estuary.

It goes through areas of mixed forest from mature pine trees to wet willow woods, and passes by ponds, unusual rocks and wildflowers.

Running trails

Two running trails are waymarked from the Beach car park in Newborough.

The 5km running trail, which is based on the route of the popular weekly Parkrun event, provides a great introduction to running.

The Commonwealth Running Trail follows part of the official race route of a championship trail race which took place here in 2011.

5km Running Trail

Start: Beach car park

Distance: 3 miles/5 kilometres

Climb: 33 metres

Time: 30 minutes-1 hour

Grade: Easy

An easy introduction to trail running based on the route of the popular weekly Parkrun.

Follow the blue waymarkers through the forest on a mixture of well-surfaced forest roads and narrow paths on loose sand with some exposed tree roots. There are no steps or gates along the route.

Enjoy the woodland scenery at your leisure or practice improving your speed and endurance around the trail.

Commonwealth Running Trail

Start: Beach car park

Distance: 8½ miles/13.6 kilometres

Time running: 1 hour

Time walking: 3 hours

Grade: Strenuous

The Commonwealth Mountain and Ultra Distance Running Championships took place in North Wales in 2011. The 55 kilometre Ultra Distance trail race was held in Newborough and today you can run (or walk!) part of the official race route.

Waymarked from the beach car park, the running trail goes through the peaceful forest, the vast dunes of Newborough Warren and onto the island of Ynys Llanddwyn.

The route includes stoned forest roads, narrow paths on sand with exposed tree roots, loose sand and shingle, uneven grassland and rocky terrain.

Newborough Forest Parkrun

Parkruns are free, weekly, community events that take place all around the world.

The Newborough Forest Parkrun takes place every Saturday at 9am.

It is a free event but you need to register before you first come along.

The Newborough Forest Parkrun is organised by volunteers and everyone is welcome, whether you walk, jog, run, volunteer or spectate.

For more information about the Newborough Forest Parkrun, including how to register and how to become a volunteer at the event, go to the Parkrun website.

Trim Trail

Children on Trim Trail

The Trim Trail is designed to improve your fitness and health while you’re enjoying the beauty of the forest.

Start: Cwnhingar car park

Distance: 1¾ miles/2.7 kilometres

Time: 2 hours

Grade: Easy

There are 11 exercise stations, two of which are accessible with a wheelchair.

Each exercise station has an instruction panel and resting bench nearby.

Orienteering

Orienteering sign

Test your map-reading skills by navigating between the wooden marker posts (known as "controls" by orienteers) on one of the three permanent orienteering courses in Newborough Forest.

The courses are suitable for beginners who can understand a map and experienced orienteers and it’s up to you how quickly you complete a course.

The courses are graded to British Orienteering Federation standards and were designed by Eryri Orienteers.

All three routes start north east of the main parking area and finish in the clearing south east of the main parking area.

Orange course

Distance: 2.5 kilometres

Grade: medium

The Orange course is of medium difficulty and is suitable for beginners who can understand a map.

There are 9 controls to visit on the course.

Green course

Distance: 5 kilometres

Grade: very hard

The Green course requires technically difficult navigation and is suitable for experienced orienteers.

There are 12 controls to visit on the course.

Blue course

Distance: 6.7 kilometres

Grade: very hard

The Blue course requires technically difficult navigation and is suitable for experienced orienteers.

There are 18 controls to visit on the course.

More information

  • Download the maps, instructions and answer sheets from the bottom of this page
  • Buy an A3 sized version of the map, printed on waterproof paper at a scale of 1:7,500, with instructions and answer sheet from the toll booth at the forest entrance

Horse riding

Horse riding in Newborough Forest

There are two waymarked horse riding trails from the Pen Cob car park.

Please note:

  • You need a permit from Natural Resources Wales to horse ride in Newborough Forest.
  • Horse boxes may only be parked in the Pen Cob car park.

How to get a horse riding permit

You can get a weekly or an annual horse riding permit.

A weekly permit costs £4.

An annual permit costs £10 and is valid from the date of issue until the end of June.

Proof of third party public liability insurance of a minimum of £3m is required.

Apply for or renew a horse riding permit online or contact our Customer Contact Centre on 0300 065 3000 (Monday-Friday, 9am-5pm).

After you have submitted your application we will contact you within three working days to confirm receipt and arrange payment.

Horse riding trails

Postman’s Trot

Start: Pen Cob car park

Distance: 6¾ miles/10.9 kilometres

Time: 2-4 hours

Grade: Easy

Enjoy the unique and beautiful surroundings of Newborough Forest on horseback.

Woodland Trot

Start: Pen Cob car park

Distance: 7½ miles/12.3 kilometres

Time: 2-4 hours

Grade: Easy

Discover views, wildlife and heritage along the route.

National Nature Reserve

Newborough beach

National Nature Reserves are places with some of the very finest examples of wildlife habitats and geological features.

Newborough Warren’s dunes and beach and the island of Ynys Llanddwyn are a National Nature Reserve, which also includes large areas of saltmarsh and coastal sand flats.

The high dunes and seasonally flooded dune hollows (known as slacks) here are the result of the ever-evolving landscape shaped by thousands of years of storms, tides and nature.

Ynys Llanddwyn island is rich in heritage, folklore, geology and wildlife.

The rocks on this tidal island are amongst the oldest in Wales – look out for the distinctive outcrops of pillow lava on the beach.

Find out more about National Nature Reserves

What to see at the National Nature Reserve

Dunes

The sand dunes are a rich mix of damp hollows, grassland and developing dune woodland of willow and birch.

The once mobile dunes have in recent years become ‘fixed’ and covered in plants as a result of air pollution, changing weather patterns and fewer rabbits and grazing animals.

This means a huge decrease in the amount of bare sand, a habitat crucial to the survival of some of our rarest plants and insects, such as the petalwort liverwort and the vernal mining bee.

To address this, we have started re-creating areas of bare sand along the coastline using large machines and much of the dunes are grazed with ponies and cattle to keep the dune vegetation short and rich in wildflowers. Rabbits used to do this until myxomatosis caused their numbers to decline.

Sea thrift on Ynys Llanddwyn

During the summer months the dunes are carpeted in thousands of colourful flowers including rare orchids and are buzzing with insect and birdlife. Listen for skylarks high above the reserve and the chattering of whitethroats, stonechats and linnets in the dunes and open woodland.

During the autumn and early winter migratory wildfowl such as Brent geese, shelduck and wigeon are joined on the saltmarsh and estuary by redshanks and plovers. The pools behind the Cob embankment are visited by birds such as pintail, wigeon, teal and lapwing which come here to escape the harsher winters of the Arctic.

Red squirrels

Llyn Parc Mawr is one of the best places in Newborough to catch sight of one of our rarest mammals, the red squirrel.

By the mid 1990s red squirrels had almost disappeared from the forest but they were re-introduced in 2004 from the Welsh Mountain Zoo.

We manage the forest with them and other wildlife in mind – red squirrels like the mix of pines and other trees species which we grow here to provide them with food and shelter.

Try our waymarked Red Squirrel Walk from the Llyn Parc Mawr car park and visit our lakeside viewpoint to get a feel for this unique area and its wildlife.

The legend of Saint Dwynwen

Chapel ruins on Ynys Llanddwyn island

Ynys Llanddwyn island is home to the ruins of an ancient church dedicated to Dwynwen, the patron saint of lovers in Wales.

In Welsh, Llanddwyn means ‘the church of Saint Dwynwen’ and the story of Saint Dwynwen, patron saint of lovers of Wales, is associated with the island.

Dwynwen was the daughter of a 5th century king. She is said to have retreated to Llanddwyn after falling in love and she set up a religious enclosure here.

Over the years this beautiful island became a popular place of pilgrimage and today people celebrate Saint Dwynwen's Day on 25 January all over Wales.

You can learn more about the legend of Dwynwen on our audio trail which you can download to use on the Saint, Sand and Sea walking trail.

Wales Coast Path

The Wales Coast Path goes through Newborough.

The Wales Coast Path provides a continuous walking route around the coastline of Wales.

Go to the Wales Coast Path website to find out more.

Educational visits

We do not organise visits for schools or other educational establishments to Newborough.

If you wish to organise a self-led educational visit, we can allocate a parking bay for your minibus or coach near the Beach car park.

You will need to complete a risk assessment form and provide other details before your visit.

Please contact us at least two weeks before your visit by emailing the North West Permissions Team.

Dog restrictions

There are dog restrictions at Newborough.

  • Beach: dogs are not allowed on part of the beach from 1 May to 30 September.
  • Ynys Llanddwyn Island: dogs are only allowed on the public right of way and must be kept on a short lead.
  • Newborough Forest: dogs are allowed on the trails all year round.
  • Please keep your dog on a lead, especially from March to July when camouflaged ringed plovers nest on the beach and during the winter when overwintering birds can be easily disturbed.

There is an information panel and map in Beach car park that shows where these restrictions apply.

Accessibility information

Facilities include:

  • disabled parking (free for blue badge holders)
  • accessible toilets (in Beach car park)
  • two accessible exercise stations on the Trim Trail
  • Lake View Trail (accessible trail from Llyn Parc Mawr car park)

Safety guidance

As well as being a popular place to visit, Newborough is still a working forest.

Some areas may be closed for safety when trees are being felled or timber removed.

We want you to have a safe enjoyable visit to Newborough, so please read the guidance below.

Do not touch any military debris – it may explode!

Report any suspect objects to the police by calling 999

Do not dig holes or tunnels in the sand dunes – sand can collapse and suffocate you

Please do not feed or approach livestock

Wear stout footwear

Always carry windproofs and a warm top in unsettled weather

No camping - there are official campsites nearby

No open fires

Keep to waymarked paths and access tracks to safeguard nature

Do not go out onto the estuary as the incoming tide can quickly cut you off

Be aware of soft sinking mud and sand

Ynys Llanddwyn can be very exposed and can be cut off in high tides. Be prepared for bad weather conditions and check tide times on the BBC website

Sometimes we need to close or divert trails for your safety whilst we undertake maintenance work or forest operations. Please follow any instructions and temporary diversion signs.

Occasionally we may have to close the site in extreme weather, such as high winds or snow and ice due to the risk of injury to visitors or staff.

Opening times

Please check the top of this page for any changes to these opening times.

Toilets

The toilets in Beach car park are normally open:

  • 8am to 6pm in summer (BST)
  • 9am to 4pm in winter (GMT)

Refreshments

There is an ice cream van and a catering van in Beach car park at these times:

  • 11am to 4pm every weekend (1 April to 30 September)
  • 11am to 4pm every day (school summer holidays)

Please note that these times are subject to weather conditions.

How to get here

Location

Newborough is 13 miles from Bangor.

It is in the county of Anglesey.

It is on Ordnance Survey (OS) map 263.

Directions

Take the A55 from Bangor towards Holyhead.

Go over the Britannia Bridge onto Anglesey and take the A4080 to Newborough village.

Turn left, following the brown and white signs for ‘Ynys Llanddwyn Island’, and you will reach our car parks and toll booth.

Public transport

The nearest major train stations are in Bangor and Holyhead.

There is an unstaffed request station stop at Bodorgan, which is about four miles from Newborough village.

For details of public transport visit Traveline Cymru's website

Parking

There are seven car parks:

  • for Newborough Forest, Ynys Llanddwyn island and the beach use Beach, Airman’s or Cwningar car parks (parking charge in these car parks)
  • for Newborough Warren use Braint car park or Llyn Rhos Ddu car park (free of charge)
  • for Cefni estuary and Pen Cob use Pen Cob car park or Llyn Parc Mawr car park (free of charge)

Download the car park map

Parking charges (Beach, Airman’s and Cwningar car parks only)

Beach, Airman’s and Cwningar car parks have entrance and exit barriers and an Automatic Number Plate Recognition (ANPR) camera.

The ANPR camera reads your vehicle registration number on arrival and you pay the parking charge on departure.

You are charged for the length of time you park:

  • £2 for the first 2 hours
  • 40p for every additional 20 minutes
  • £7 maximum charge per day

You pay by card or cash at the exit barrier as you drive out of the car park.

Points to note

  • If you are dropping someone off, you have 20 minutes from the time you enter the car park to the time you get to the exit barrier before you’ll be charged.
  • The ANPR camera operates 24 hours a day and the car park exit barrier is always down.
  • Between 5pm and 9am the following day a height barrier is put in place to prevent vehicles over 2 metres high from entering the car park.
  • Parking overnight is not permitted.
  • Beach car park fills up quickly in peak season, especially on sunny days, and traffic can be very heavy so please be patient.
  • If you use a card to pay the parking charge, your bank statement will show Coed y Brenin for this payment.

Season ticket

A season ticket allows you to park in Beach, Airman’s and Cwnhingar car parks.

The season ticket also allows you to park at Coed y Brenin Visitor Centre.

A season ticket costs £70 per year and it covers two vehicles registered at the same address.

Season tickets are valid for 12 months from the date of purchase.

Your vehicle registration number will be added to the system so that the ANPR camera will automatically recognise it – you do not need to display your season ticket when you visit.

There are three ways to buy a season ticket:

  • pay by card at the kiosk at the car park entrance barrier in Newborough (open 4-5pm Monday to Thursday)
  • pay by card at Coed y Brenin Visitor Centre (open 10am-4pm every day)
  • email coedybrenin@cyfoethnaturiolcymru.gov.uk and we’ll contact you to take payment over the phone

Please note:

  • if you apply in person, present the vehicle log book (V5 document).
  • if you apply by email, attach a scan or photo of the log book (V5 document).
  • if you wish to use a season ticket for two vehicles registered to the same address, provide the log book (V5 document) for both vehicles
  • If you use a card to pay for your season ticket, your bank statement will show Coed y Brenin for this payment.
  • parking spaces are not allocated or reserved for season ticket holders (both Newborough and Coed y Brenin are popular destinations, especially during the school holidays, and the car parks may fill up very quickly and early in the day).

Free parking for Blue Badge holders

Parking is free of charge for Blue Badge holders.

Please park in one of the spaces for Blue Badge holders and display your Blue Badge in your vehicle.

To leave the site without charge, scan your Blue Badge bar code at the exit barrier pay station.

There is an intercom at the exit barrier if you encounter problems on departure.

Free parking for local residents

If you are a resident of Newborough, Dwyran, Llangaffo and Malltraeth you are eligible to apply for free parking at the Newborough car parks.

You need to register your vehicle with us first to ensure the camera recognises it and allows you to leave the car park without paying.

Other residents of Anglesey can purchase a season ticket for the Newborough car parks for £35.

Email coedybrenin@cyfoethnaturiolcymru.gov.uk for more details.

Contact details

0300 065 3000 (Monday-Friday, 9am-5pm)

enquiries@naturalresourceswales.gov.uk

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