|Date||19 November 2011|
|Location||Newborough, Anglesey||SH 38502 62513; 53.13522°N, 4.41559°W|
Ynys Llanddwyn is a tidal island — cut off only by the highest tides — on the western approach to the Menai Strait. It forms part of Anglesey’s Newborough Warren National Nature Reserve and is managed by the Countryside Council for Wales (CCW).
Its name means Island of the church of St Dwynwen. Dwynwen — the Welsh patron saint of lovers — lived as a recluse on the island until her death in about 465 CE and during the Middle Ages Llanddwyn became an important destination for Christian pilgrims. The ruins of the 16th-century church are said to stand on the location of her original hermitage.
At the end of the island there are two early 19th-century towers — Twr Mawr (big tower) and Twr Bach (small tower). These were probably originally built as unlit markers for ships entering the Menai Strait bound for the slate ports of Caernarfon, Y Felinheli and Bangor. Twr Mawr is 35 ft high and of a design reminiscent of an Anglesey windmill. It was established as a lighthouse, with a lantern window on its ground level, in 1846 and was in service until 1975, when it was replaced by a flashing directional light fitted to Twr Bach. Twr Mawr featured in the 2006 Demi Moore film Half Light, in which its appearance was significantly altered digitally in post production.
Close to the towers stands a row of four pre-1830 two-roomed pilots’ cottages, two of which now house a CCW exhibition about the island. In times gone past the pilots would row out to approaching ships in order to guide them in their passage past the hazardous sand banks in Caernarfon Bay. A lifeboat, crewed by the pilots and also by volunteers from Newborough, was also stationed on the island up until 1903. The cannon outside the pilots’ cottages was used to call for assistance from Newborough village. The pilot station was closed in 1943.
Featured in NASA Earth Science Division’s Earth Science Picture of the Day, 18 December 2011.
Llanddwyn Island (Anglesey History);