A good photograph is knowing where to stand - Ansel Adams

Llanddwyn Island, Anglesey
Monday, 28 December 2009 20:48

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Llanddwyn Island, Anglesey

Llanddwyn Island (pronounced hlanthwyn) lies on the south-western coast of Anglesey, beyond the large pine forest and dune system known as Newborough Warren. While it is only truly an island during the highest of tides, it is connected to the rest of Anglesey only by a narrow spit of land. As such, and assuming you pick your visiting time carefully, the island has an atmosphere of tranquility that you may not expect from such a popular location.

The main photographic attraction is Tŵr Mawr lighthouse at the island's most south-westerly point. Modelled on the windmills of Anglesey, Tŵr Mawr does not have the appearance of a typical lighthouse; no obvious light is detectable from the landward side, and it's squat appearance obscures it's intended purpose. A set of sails would not look at all out of place on it's angled walls. As ever though, it is the location that makes the building so interesting; perched as it is atop a small promontory, more in the manner of a defensive position, and with a backdrop of Snowdonia and the Llŷn Peninsula.

There is much more to Llanddwyn Island than it's lighthouse however; also worth stopping by are the ruined church of St Dwynwen and the nearby pilots cottages. Indeed there is much photographic potential within a short walk on the island, so make sure you scout out the island thouroughly before you leave. There are a number of stone crosses nearby for example, which can provide an interesting foreground to the lighthouse.

As far as equipment goes, I took nothing special beyond the usual landscape photography kit-list. The multitude of beaches and rocky coastlines on the island means that you will quite possibly want to try some longer exposure shots, meaning a tripod will be essential. A normal prime, or standard zoom will probably be your most used lens.

As mentioned in the introduction, Llanddwyn Island is only reachable via the Newborough Warren pine forest and dunes. There are a couple of roads though the forest, though these will not neccesarily lead you on the most direct route to the island, so if you are walking it's preferable in my view to take to the network of footpaths. One word of warning though; it's a good idea to take a map if you want to find the shortest way. It's easy enough to take a wrong turn in unfamiliar forest, especially in the pre-dawn darkness, and you could easily enough to add a mile or more your journey if you aren't paying sufficient attention. Make sure you budget a little extra time to make that sunset.

The nearest accomodation is the nearby Awelfryn Caravan Park, who on my visit in late October were very obliging, despite actually being closed at the time I think - I was certainly the only person on the tent pitches. A search of the Internet was unable to turn up any hotels or B&Bs in nearby Newborough, but you may have more luck.

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I am on a constant lookout for new and interesting locations. If you know of a potentially photogenic location you'd like to see included in the guide, please let me know.