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The Ceredigion Coast Path

 

Ynyslas Dunes System

Section 2A  - Optional - Ynyslas to Borth -   Ceredigion Coast Path (Optional Loop)

Distance - A 7 mile  (11km) loop from Borth

Ynyslas BeachGrade - All dead flat, fast and easy walking – beach, dunes and salt marsh wetlands

An Extension Option to include Ynyslas Dune System, the official start of the Ceredigion Coast Path

The Ceredigion Coast Path proper starts at Ynyslas, a sandy spit 3 miles north of Borth, where the land in Ceredigion runs into the immense Dyfi Estuary. It’s an impressive spot and a National Nature Reserve but there is not a house here, let alone anywhere to stay or eat. Those wanting to include it in their walk will need to either walk a circular route to Ynyslas from the accommodation in Borth (adding 7 miles to the distance to Aberystwyth) or take a taxi to the start, adding 3 miles.  

We can advise on and set up any of these options depending on how far you want to walk today.

Ynyslas BeachHead through the one-street town of Borth, where long wooden planks along the shingle ridge allow you to keep just inland of the beach. Then head on to the sands OR along the road to the dunes at the head of the estuary, depending on your luck with the tide.

The beach walk to Ynyslas and the Dyfi National Nature Reserve is a delight. At low tide you have 3 miles of sandy beach. It is quite a sight; the sands here are peppered with prehistoric pine, birch and oak tree stumps, an ancient drowned forest submerged by the waves over 6000 years ago and preserved by the acid anaerobic conditions of the peat. Bones of aurochs, a type wild ox, have been unearthed from amongst the stumps.

Ynyslas DunesOnce you reach the dunes, you have some conception of the vastness of this place, which feels almost Sahara-like, but with sprouting clumps of marram grass, pyramidal and bee orchids, birds foot trefoil and yellow ragwort. A plethora of steep hollows, sand mounds and huge pits create a real maze if you try to trek through them, giving a real sense of solitude.

Look out for butterflies, greenshank, redshank, orchids and fungi which thrive in its unique biosystem, despite the dunes being relatively recent at less than 800 years old. Most walkers determinedly stick to the foreshore and follow the headland around to the Dyfi Estuary where you can gaze across from the end of Ceredigion to the golden sands at Aberdyfi – at low tide it appears that you can take your shoes off and walk across – don’t try – there are fierce currents and a shipping channel which is much deeper than it appears. Instead it’s 2 days walk inland to reach the point you can see just ¼ mile across the water. Ringed plovers nest happily out here at the end of the land and there are passing flocks of widgeon, mallard, egrets, teal, shelduck here as well as Canada geese and the rarer Greenland white fronted geese which honk their way down the sands and into the saltmarsh behind.

Ynyslas Vistor CentreThe visitor centre set back off the beach is the official start of the Ceredigion Coast Path. There is a viewing platform on the beach and a boardwalk across the dunes. Take care not to pick up any suspicious items as you walk - the whole dunes area was an artillery testing range during World War II, indeed the infamous Big Bertha gun was brought here from Scotland to be tested.

From Ynyslas you return to Borth on the official Ceredigion Coast Path route to start the trek south on to Aberystwyth. This avoids repetition of the beach walk and instead heads inland ¾ mile, tracking the Afon Leri watercourse on the western edge of the Bog of Borth – it’s flat, pleasant walking along the embankment and great for birdlife. Within an hour-and-a-half you are back at Borth and after a stop for refreshments, head on to Aberystwyth on what is now the combined Wales and Ceredigion Coast Path.

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