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 Wales > Walks in Wales  >   Walking in Snowdonia, walk from Harlech to the Glaslyn Estuary

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the hairy legged hiker walking in WalesWhere is it? Harlech, Snowdonia, on the north west coast of Wales.
How long will it take ? 3 hours, Distance 6.25 miles / 10 km
What's the attraction? : estuary wildlife; nature reserve; fantastic views; sand dunes; sandy beaches;
Essentials : swimming costume; towel.
Check Tide Times : Best walked at low tide. Check the BBC tide tables here >
Rating : This is an easy walk.
Car Parking : Parking is available in the car park below the Castle, between the A496 and the beach.

Directions :   [ Map of Harlech to Glaslyn Estuary Walk location ]
Travelling from Barmouth take the A496 to Harlech, (Bear left at the junction below the Castle)

Magnificent sand dunes on Harlech Beach with Lleyn peninsula in the distance Lets go !
In order to appreciate the beauty of the sunsets on the west coast of Wales I would have to recommend this walk for an afternoon or early evening.

Harlech Castle, sitting on a massive limestone outcrop, sets the scene for this walk, and indeed the castle dominates the landscape for miles around. But our walk takes us away from the castle and toward the beach and the beautiful Glaslyn estuary.

Exit the car park and turn right. The path cuts through Harlech golf course, Royal St David's Golf Course, and leads, via the sand dunes, to Harlech beach.

It is a glorious beach, the miles of golden sands spread inland to form huge sand dunes, and indeed Harlech CastleHarlech Morfa is a place of Special Scientific Interest and a National Nature Reserve.

On arriving on the beach bear right and keep walking. Eventually you will arrive at the estuary of the River Glaslyn (Afon Glaslyn in Welsh). The views are breathtaking, to the west the Lleyn peninsula, straight ahead Porthmadog and Borth y Gest, and to the east there are fantastic views of Portmeirion with the hills of Snowdonia as a glorious backdrop.

Further investigation of the estuary is possible but this depends upon the estuary tides, and if you are unsure it is better to play safe and simply return the way you came.

The dune area is one of the finest examples of a natural dune system in Britain and a climb to the top of the dunes gives added interest to the return walk, presenting a different perspective on the castle. The distance and the dunes lending it the appearance of a sand castle rather than a bastion of medieval military might. But the climb is also worth the effort simply for the fun of running up and down the dunes!

View toward Shell Island from Harlech beach On arriving back at Harlech beach I would recommend a swim, subject to the weather of course. It's a safe beach, the waters are beautifully clean, and with it's western aspect it is a real sun trap.

If all the walking has given you an appetite then you may get some lovely fish and chips at the Fish and Chip shop close to the car park.

Food fit for a king eaten in the shadow of a Castle...


Please -- click on the pictures -- for enlarged pictures of the Walk from Harlech to Glaslyn Estuary, Wales, UK.

Beached boat in the Glaslyn Estuary More sand dunes on Harlech beach
Beached boat in the Glaslyn Estuary
Miles of fantastic sand dunes on Harlech beach
View of the Glaslyn estuary on a calm day   Cormorants drying out on the Glaslyn estuary
View of the Glaslyn estuary on a calm day
Cormorants drying out on the Glaslyn estuary

© All pictures copyright Bernard Wellings


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