LLANGEFNI DINGLE NATURE RESERVE WALK
A Gentle and Scenic Excursion
You're on Anglesey and you've heard about the Dingle - Nant y Pandy boardwalk.
You're 'Pining for the Fjords' or just want a clean break to enjoy nature and be distracted outside of your thoughts.
Maybe you want to 'Hug-a-Tree' maybe it's a Male need for howling in the wilderness.
My early teenage years were spent running cross-country through the Dingle, spending most of my time bent double with my hands on my knees guffawing in oxygen.
43 acres or 17.5 hectares in area
Boardwalk and Paths
A circular route of about a mile and half or 2.4km. Best enjoyed at a reflective and exploring pace.
Accessible and suitable for wheelchairs and prams and pushchairs if you stick to the boardwalk.
Two hills on the original path can be a bit of a challenge for the infirm; however, there is plenty to see in the bed of the Cefni Valley along the boardwalk.
PAST GLORIES REVISITED
I am immensely impressed by the Dingle as we find it today.
We really should take a moment to dedicate an enormous vote of thanks should be directed toward the County Council, Cytgoed, Cwmni Tref Llangefni (Llangefni Town Company) for leading this project to open up the woods once again.
The boardwalk extends through the Dingle Woodland out into Nant y Pandy and all the way to Cefni Reservoir.
This is a popular cycle path with excellent paths.
It had been decades since the Dingle and Nant y Pandy were part of the town. It was a dark and forboding place that everybody seemed to shy away from.
Not any more though. It seems to have become a breathing, thinking and reflecting space for town residents.
Importantly, it's a new place for gentle discovery by our most welcome visitors all year round.
Obviously the woodland character changes from Spring through, Summer, Autumn, Winter and back again.
The wildlife also changes if you just award yourself the time to sit on the numerous benches or lean on a fence to ... Stop & Listen.
Nothing could be easier. Find your way into Llangefni from whichever direction you choose and find the Asda supermarket. It's easy.
Imagine the supermarket as being on a line between two roundabouts. One end of the line is opposite Iceland and the other by the Church of St Cyngar. Head for the church.
Parking can be a bit difficult here because townsfolk use it; however, there's usually a spot that becomes free toward lunchtime. This is because the Coed y Glyn Doctor's Surgery at the entrance to the Dingle carpark has finished morning surgery.
There's a nurse there as well, just in case you have an emergency.
The entrance to the Dingle Boardwalk is obvious and you should walk between and among the resident giant dragonflies. Allow gravity and the woodland magnetism to draw you ever inward.
The pictures above and below were taken at the end of September so there's plenty of freshness and colour to see.
Either a good crisp or warm sunny day will reveal so much for you.
TAKE YOUR TIME
WHAT'S THERE TO SEE AND HEAR?
In a word, Plenty. But there again, only if you take the time to slow down, listen and SEND OUT YOUR SIGHT.
The Dingle - Nant y Pandy Woodland is a mature woodland that is well-managed and deeply interesting. It's now a wonderful and sustainable asset for the local primary schools.
Early spring reveals Snowdrops that yield to diaphonous ground-hugging mists of Bluebells by April.
Late Spring and Summer bring forth wonderful ferns that open by Circenate Vernation (they grow as they unfold).
Watch out for fragile orchids as the boardwalk takes you above the damper, warmer sun-dappled shadowy areas.
The woodland is rich in mature trees, sessile oak, ash and even wild cherry.
My favourite trees, straight pine and the glorious
sycamores, grow in abundant patches that filter sunlight to a subtle and soft green about you.
Be aware. Stop, Look and Listen.
Keep a keen eye on the river and you just might see kingfishers dip off a low branch into the river to retrieve lunch.
A flash of magic blue against lush greenery.
Around the small Dingle lake apart form the ducks moorhens and chicks are easy to see if you approach softly.
In the middle echoing distance you just might hear a spotted woodpecker at work with its pneumatic habits.
AFON CEFNI - RIVER CEFNI
(trans. Afon = Avonn)
A few hundred yards into the Dingle you'll discover the boardwalk brings you to a pool below the bridge. This pool's no accident and the weir is there control the flow.
My cousin Alwyn tells me that he remembers fresh water oysters here. None there now, but you never know, the quality of the Afon Cefni (River Cefni) is much improved.
Children used to fish here and below the wooden bridge above you for brown trout. They're still around and you can see them and coarse fish if you've brought your polaroid sunglasses with you.
The nature of the flow in river is now more or less consistent since the constuction of the Cefni Reservoir in the mid-sities. The dam releases compenation flow daily in all but the worst of drought conditions. I think the last low flow was in the mid-eighties.
Nowadays the worst danger is of posionous Blue-Green algal blooms that colour the surface of the river.
Last year's warm Summer brought us a good coating.
For now just enjoy the water fall over and through the weir.
ACROSS THE WOODEN BRIDGE
On the other side of the bridge you'll notice a path on your left that'll bring you to the old railway station car park.
Maybe you'll start your journey here. Really, you should just wander about as you wish. The Dingle and Nant Y Pandy area is a narrow wooded river valley. You can't get lost ... Only Engrossed.
So, indulge me for now until you see another path you can turn down to find a viewing point.
The valley opens out into Llyn Pwmp (Pump Lake) with its little dam and fish steps. As you walk from under the old Gaerwen-Amlwch railway bridge your charisma goes ahead of you and your presence attracts the countless and varied ducks. Dare you disappoint them?
They have this look, "What d'you mean you've go no bread?"
In the early 1930s this used to be a popular bathing hole with the local lads. Here my Dad, Huw Lloyd and their friends would splash around noisily, the place echoing and ringing with innocent laughter.
Not all of them came back after 1939.
Huw Lloyd used to tell me that there were very few things that could get them out of the water once they were in. One that was guaranteed to do this, however, was when Jack Beti would turn up and jump ino the water in his mother's bloomers (undergarment).
They'd all rush out with squeals and disgusted yowls.
Maybe you can still hear them. No energy is ever lost. It merely transforms into other energy. Maybe their squeals were absorbed by the same trees that are here now.
Listen carefully and I am certain you can hear the distinct tintibulation of children's laughter.
Me, romantic? You bet. The more you know about a place and its stories the more you feel at home and care. Anybody care to argue that point?
GASPING WILD WOODLAND SALMON
After you've passed through the Dragon's Maw you'll find yourself wandering toward the central Dingle Path that I pounded along in my cross-country days.
Keep an eye to your right and you'll be able to discern a couple of large empty concrete tanks. No longer in use they're a nursery for saplings. You'll also have spotted a red brick building, which used to be the Water Treatment pump-house for Llangefni.
It's now a Bat House. Find John Track who'll tell you all about it.
My grandfather used to look after it and when he was too busy he'd send Dad up to check that all was well. Once he took his friend Arthur with him.
Arthur was a consumate Salmon Gaffer - not necessarily legitmate. Dad discovered that Arthur kept his gaffing equipment under the pump house and had decided to train Dad on how it was done.
Arthur stood on the other side of the river to Dad and stared deeply at the river. He knew there to be salmon about. Dad said he could see nothing as he dangled the long gaff in the river. But Arthur had a keen eye.
"Steady, Wil. Gently to your right. Stop. Forward a bit. NOW!!"
Dad blindly heaved and quickly ripped the gaff out of the water and over his shoulder.
He glanced back to see a big salmon take to the air as if born to this unexpected new medium.
Onwards it sailed, according to my Dad, up and through the foliage to arrest its motion with a dull splat against a tall tree.
Look behind you and you might see the SALMON TREE.
"You've been up there with Arthur again?" asked my Taid (Grandfather) when Dad walked into the house on a sweltering day wearing the pump-house oilskin. Salmon tail hanging out.
How many Woodland Salmon are there still out there?
Listen carefully and I am quite sure you can hear them slither and gasp among the trees on the hill above you.
There's always something slithering about in the woods around you.
Maybe its an Adder ... There again ... it could be a Woodland Wild Salmon.
You keep meandering under or beside the old railway line and bridges.
There's an on-going project to make use of the old line, get a small steam train between Llangefni and Amlwch Copper Mountain.
The main financial outlay will be the bridges along the way. A couple of hundred thousand pounds for each.
It would be nice to have a steam train running backwards and forwards across the Island again.
Children used to come to the Grammar School in Llangefni in the 1930s and before that.
There were always mischievous kids climbing outside the train and moving courageously from carriage to carriage as it went over rivers.
I remember the last train on the line that brought Santa Claus to Llangefni in the early 1960s. I didn't go and see him because he was too big a concept to be real.
Of course I now know that Santa's real and I'm waiting for the steam train to return again so I can go and see him with my list.
Though I'm not sure I'll sit on his lap. I'm too old for that but not too old for Santa.
There is no hurry. Llyn Cefni Reservoir is a mile or so ahead of you and it's not going anywhere.
Just enjoy where you are and amble and listen. You'll soon arrive at the wooden gate that opens out on to Nant y Pandy.
There's a good track that travels up to your right past the cottage and this will take you up to the top of the hill above Oriel Mon Gallery.
By following the main road down back down to Llangefni you could choose to stop in the gallery to be enthralled by the work of Sir Kyffin Williams, one of this country's greatest artists.
After an artistic reverie why not stop in the cafe for a nice tea or a nice lunch if that's the time.
Then back to the Dingle carpark - if you managed to get a parking space.
ONWARDS TOWARD CEFNI RESERVOIR
Leaving the Dingle behind you, it's a delightful and easy walk on a very good path toward the reservoir.
Turn left under the railway bridge and keep walking.
The River Cefni is a delightful wandering little river gently making its way down from the reservoir and falling softly through the Dingle.
Either you can view it from below trees on the excellent path or step off and spend some time on the bridge.
The steep little hill above you leads to the top of Llangefni and was once - and probably still is - part of the cross-country route.
Stand on this pleasant little bridge and imagine Charlie H. on a cross country run losing control and charging down the hill, howling and missing the bridge completely and ending up in the river - in Mid-Winter.
From here it's about half a mile to the dam and Llyn Cefni, where you can rest on grassy slopes to enjoy a picnic or delight in the view.
You can walk across the dam toward the fishing club and then back across the boardwalk below the dam to the Dingle footpath.
And that is your choice. However, you can't help but notice a large railway-looking bridge that is a walkway designed to take you another path.
BACK TO LLANGEFNI
Follow this forestry path and it will bring you to the Llangefni - - Amlwch road. The County Council has built a good roadside footpath that will take you back uphill (steep) towards Rhosmeirch and Llangefni.
This roadside footpath is about a mile and a half from Oriel Mon Gallery and the town.
The path is from the Lake to the road is not suitable for wheelchairs or pushchairs.
Cross the boardwak below the damn and follow the signs to a path that will take you past the Cefni Angling Club and a lake side walk around the lake on concrete toward the village of Bodffordd
Pop into Bodffordd and buy an ice-cream or a refreshing drink at the small Bodffordd Post Office
As I state elsewhere on my website, your custom is vital to the existence of Anglesey's small post offices.
Please use it before we lose it.
Back to the lake and carry on along the path around the lake to arrive back at the dam and waterworks.
From here you can decide whether you'll go back through the Dingle -
Perspective is everything, it's a different journey seeing the same things from a different side.
Or, to the left and through the forest toward Rhosmeirch.
The Choice Is Yours, As Is The Time
LET ME KNOW ABOUT YOUR FIRST ENCOUNTER
Let me know if you enjoyed it as a parent with children in tow.
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