*Edit* Full disclosure I've been trying to get this post written and posted since about March, so by now the opening paragraph is not completely relevant.
With the hour springing forward it's like I can smell that BBQ on the breeze! Spring is here, alright it might be a little chilly and damp here in deepest darkest mid wales but that doest mean we can't make the most of the gorgeous places around us. And with the longer days stretching ahead of us what better way to spend an afternoon than at the beach? And boy do we have plenty to choose from! (If the coast isn't your thing, be sure to check out this blog post that'll take you into the mountains instead)
If you feel like you're getting a little sense of deja vu as you're driving towards Borth, it might be because the Cors Fochno peat bogs that sit along the Dyfi estuary leading down to the coast were the background location to at least one episode of Y Gwyll (Hinterland) so for any of you murder mystery lovers out there this is the perfect opportunity to get your DCI Mathias cosplay on (Dark jacket and a grumpy face?) at Borth railway station before hitting the beach!
Borth is one of our favourite beaches to visit, there is usually plenty of parking, although we usually arrive quite early in the summer time which is a benefit of having two little child shaped alarm clocks! The beach has a pebble bank leading down to the sandy beach with rock pools along the southern most side where we like to have a little go at spotting crabs. If you're thinking it sounds a little familiar, it maybe that you've heard of the forest that make's an appearance at low tide. These petrified tree stumps are over 4000 years old and make for a breathtaking sight.
The thing with beaches is that some people like pebbles and some people don't but universally no one likes sand (a gritty picnic sandwich is no one's friend, right?) however the dunes at Ynys Las do make for a pretty spectacular exception. To visit another beautiful part of the Dyfi Nature Reserve first drive around onto the sand by the estuary, pay for a parking ticket at the visitors centre where you can also get quickly caught up on why this particular nature reserve is an important part of our natural coastline, then take a gentle walk along the boardwalk through the dunes out onto the beach. And by dunes I mean the largest ones in Ceredigion (Ooh la la!)
The boardwalk is a longer walk than maybe what you'd expect from a regular beach trip, so if you're planning a whole day at the beach maybe pack smart so you're not carting three ice boxes and a tent back and forth.
It's a lovely beach, with a long stretch of golden sand and a view over the estuary to Aberdyfi it makes for a wonderful place to settle down for the day and enjoy that (variable) Mid Wales sunshine!
Even if you're a mid wales newbie you've probably already heard of Aberystwyth- a university town with a popular arts centre and a very pretty old national library building. Sure there's a beach so you can get your sea and surf fix sorted but there are a few other little distractions worth visiting just incase you'd like to fit more into your beach trip. Most people would probably immediately point out Constitution Hill, ("The longest electric funicular cliff railway in Britain") where you can take a nice jaunt to the top of the cliff outlook and see the town from another perspective using their camera obscura. Down in the town itself along the pier is an amusement arcade where you can quickly clear your wallet of those pesky 2pence pieces, a castle where you can tick the i-saw-a-castle box on your holiday in Wales bingo card
There are also some lovely independent places to grab a bite to eat so you don't even have to worry about sand in your sandwich, the seagulls nabbing your chips might be one to watch out for though!
Finally! We've made it across the waters to a different side of the estuary entirely: Aberdyfi is a very quaint harbour village that looks over towards the Ynys Las nature reserve and is honestly one of our favourite spots for an ice cream on the beach. With a street of bright painted houses not only is Aberdyfi a pretty spot for some aesthetically pleasing instagram shots it has a lovely stretch of sandy beach and dunes along with a selection of places to eat.
Finally continuing our beach tour and making our way north further up the coastline from Aberdyfi you can make a trip out to Barmouth (and visit the windiest bridge I've ever walked across - oh boy oh boy was it blustery)
Barmouth sits at the mouth of the Mawddach estuary- notable for its bridge the longest timber viaduct in Wales. If you wanted to make a real day of it you could park the south side of the estuary in the Arthog carpark and walk across the bridge to Barmouth.
Once you're in Barmouth you've got access to a beach and also Knickerbockers where you can spend the remainder of your day trying to figure out what flavour combo to go for!
That's it! We've done it, we've made it to the end of the list, I didn't think we'd get there but we have- actually that's more a me thing than you, it's only taken me three months to get this written!
We've got a truly beautiful coastline in Wales and Mid Wales is no exception, with gorgeous stretches of sand and pebble, quaint little villages and towns and lots of quality ice cream to keep you going there is something for everyone in a mid wales beach day out whether you want to sit and sun yourself or do some exploring in between.