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Cycling on Anglesey — in search of the wild on Wales’ largest island

Amy Jones

Cycling on Anglesey — in search of the wild on Wales’ largest island

Bike Touring Collection by Amy

3

Tours

11:23 h

109 mi

5,600 ft

Wild, windswept and wet – that’s how I would define my three-day ride around Anglesey. With centuries of history, rugged landscapes and diverse wildlife, Anglesey is one of the few places in the UK that has retained a sense of wilderness. It was this that drew me to this wonderful island at the end of the summer last year.

At 260 square miles (673 km), Anglesey is Wales’ largest island and the seventh largest in Britain so it has plenty of places to explore. Humans arrived on Anglesey thousands of years ago, leaving their traces in the megalithic monuments, ruined ancient villages and burial chambers overlooking the sea. Anglesey, which was part of the Kingdom of Gwynedd for many centuries, has passed through the hands of the Druids, the Romans, the Vikings and English kings.

Anglesey’s landscapes are diverse and always beautiful: long beaches stretch beneath multi-coloured cliff faces, sheep graze in green farmland, hills roll into the horizon. If you come with a willingness to linger, you’ll spot seals, sea birds, and perhaps even dolphins as you sit quietly on a pebble beach overlooking the crashing sea. If bird watching is your thing, head to the island between April and July. These months are the breeding season for many seabirds – Puffin Island truly lives up to its name.

I designed this route to hug the coastline so the sea (and a swim) is never far away. Where possible, I avoided main roads and stuck to quiet, leafy back lanes. My quest to stay near the sea did lead me along a few tracks where I had to push my bike through the sand. I’ve pointed out where these are in the stage descriptions so you can avoid them if you wish.

I set off to Anglesey with a new, makeshift bikepacking setup strapped to my trusty Genesis Croix de Fer. The lighter set up made the hills seem half as challenging, but a fully loaded touring bike is also suitable if you like carting around your home comforts.

The island has become very popular for staycations, especially over the last two years, so you’ll find plenty of accommodation and campsites, as well as shops, cafes and restaurants. This does mean that the island gets busy in summer. However, the small back roads were still almost empty when I was there.

I cycled along the coast from Chester to reach Anglesey, but you can also conveniently arrive by train, using Bangor or Holyhead’s stations. From Bangor, you ride across the Menai Suspension Bridge overlooking the Menai Strait, where Norman, Norse and English ships would once have sailed to battle – an impressive start which gives you a taste of the wonderful landscapes and history to come.

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Anglesey adventure – full Tour

108 mi

5,625 ft

5,550 ft

Last updated: January 19, 2022

Tours & Highlights

  • Map data © OpenStreetMap contributors

    Stage 1: Bangor to Benllech – Anglesey adventure

    Difficult
    02:50
    25.4 mi
    8.9 mph
    1,800 ft
    1,850 ft
    Expert bike ride. Very good fitness required. Some portions of the Tour may be unpaved and difficult to ride.

    Quaint villages, coastal views and green landscapes greeted me as I crossed the Menai Suspension Bridge, overlooking the historic waters of the Menai Straits. I was nervous, but soaked up the feeling of freedom and excited anticipation for an unknown adventure. The skies were grey and I’d only packed

    by Amy

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  • Difficult
    03:10
    30.9 mi
    9.8 mph
    1,775 ft
    1,800 ft
    Expert bike ride. Very good fitness required. Mostly paved surfaces. Suitable for all skill levels.

    Soggy sandwiches and socks defined stage 2. Mist rose from the sea across the cliffs and horizontal rain hit me for most of the day.

    

    Rural lanes led me through the countryside, passing sleepy hamlets of white-washed cottages. A short stint along the main road was unavoidable before joining another lane

    by Amy

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  • Difficult
    05:23
    52.5 mi
    9.7 mph
    2,050 ft
    1,975 ft
    Expert bike ride. Very good fitness required. Mostly paved surfaces. Suitable for all skill levels.

    I woke up damp. Keen to get moving, I packed up right away. The sun poured through the clouds, casting pools of shadow and light across the endless sea.

    

    The wet weather had already made my mind up that I would cut my trip short by a day and skip Holy Island. I rode along lanes, occasionally navigating

    by Amy

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Collection Stats

  • Tours
    3
  • Distance
    109 mi
  • Duration
    11:23 h
  • Elevation
    5,600 ft

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Cycling on Anglesey — in search of the wild on Wales’ largest island

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