Posted by: Paul | September 29, 2010

If Life Was This Beach…

I’ve been to some lovely beaches in my time. The fun-filled childhood days at Walton-on-Naze, in Essex. The vast expanse of flat emptiness at Pendine Sands, Pembrokeshire (where you can even drive your car on the beach). The tidal spit at Bigbury on Sea, Devon, connecting to picturesque playground of the super-rich, Burgh Island. Or the almost tropical-looking azure blue of the sea and pale gold of the sand at Luskentyre, on the Isle of Lewis.

But none of them tick quite the same amount of boxes as the one we found in Wales. It was meant to be a walking holiday of sorts, but with one really nice day weather-wise we decided to find some sand for Adam to play in, and the guidebook told of Mochras, near Harlech – otherwise known as ‘Shell Island’.

It was so lovely I almost don’t want to tell anyone where it is, lest it become flooded with people. But since no-one reads this, I guess it doesn’t matter much. The thing about Shell Island is you won’t find it on a road atlas – you have to know it’s there. It’s a bit like the Matrix of beaches – no-one can be told what Shell Island is…you have to see it for yourself.

But of course you can be told. It’s actually a peninsula rather than an island, connected to the rest of the Cambrian coast via a tidal causeway – fun feature number 1. Once on the island – it costs £5 per day to park but trust me, you REALLY won’t mind – there are facilities a-plenty. A collection of small shops including a mini supermarket, toilets and showers, a playground, a pub-restaurant. Fun feature number 2 (collectively).

But that’s literally just as you get to the end of the causeway. Driving out of this miniature ‘village square’, you’re off into well paved roads through enormous sand dunes (fun feature number 3). There are small car parks dotted all over the place, and plenty of room to spread out so I imagine it never feels very crowded – the entire site is 300 acres. Then you’re down onto the beach itself – wide, flat, sandy (fun feature number 4). It’s backed by the aforementioned enormous sand dunes, which in turn are backed by the mountains of Snowdonia (fun feature number 5). A little to the right of where we were was a large area of rocks for rockpooling (fun feature 6), and the peninsula is situated such that it’s a mecca for shell collecting – over 200 types can reportedly be found there (ff 7).

See what I mean about box ticking? It literally has everything you want from a beach. Peace and quiet, AND facilities, AND spectacular scenery, AND plenty of different things to experience once you’re there. It’s also a campsite, and you can camp anywhere you like, even in the sand dunes. I HATE camping with a passion, and I came away wanting to buy a tent and go back straight away. We loved it. You will too. Just don’t go all at once, eh?


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