The Anglesey Coastal Path skirts Ynys Llanddwyn (and can be seen in this image)
Photo by Ian Warburton
Old photo from Postcard about 1910, when it was in use
On the far southerly end, sticking out from the southern end of Anglesey, just west of the entry to the Menai Strait, in the island of Llanddwyn. On this island we have two towers, a little way apart, but for recorded history there has been one functioning lighthouse here.
We first appear to have had a beacon on a tower, it is said from 1800, but possibly before, then from 1873 until 1975 we had a lighthouse, but the lighthouse is now shut and we have, from 1975, a light on the top of the old tower. But when we delve deeper the situation is less clear cut.
Neither tower showed on charts by Lewis Morris, of 1800, but both appear on the Ordnance Survey 1818-1823 2 inches/mile map so both may have originated as unlit markers. It may be that they were originally constructed to be a pair of beacons.
We find that in 1873 or was it 1845, when they constructed the lighthouse, that the lantern and fittings cost £250 7s 6d, including the adaptation of an ‘earlier tower’.
The tower is tapered in a way very similar to Anglesey windmills, it is 10.7m (35ft) high and 5.5m (18ft) in diameter. It may have been constructed by an Anglesey stone mason, and some think it is possible that the tower itself was originally used as a windmill, although there is nothing other than its shape to support this.
The north east door is flanked by small windows, and the two floors above also have small windows, but the top does not. The conical roof is slated and has a flag pole. The present lantern window is about 2m (6ft 6ins) by 0.61m (2ft). The optic, silver plated reflector and Fresnel lens were used into the 1970s and are dated 1861. The lantern was originally lit by six Argand lamps with reflectors.
The postcard photo around 1910 above shows an image that could be mistaken for today except that there is a line from the top, perhaps a flag pole or perhaps a chimney with smoke on a still day. Plus the path to the lighthouse has white painted edge stones.
The lighthouse ceased to be used from 1975.
The Second Tower
A smaller, conical tower, with a domed top, can be found to the north east of the island, (nearer the Menai Strait) and may be an earlier structure. The white painted walls are 2.03m (6ft 8ins) in radius and 0.91m (3ft) thick with a door to the north west and shows signs of cracking to the rubble filled walls on the west. As far as we know this was first lit in 1975 and is still lit today.
The cottages nearby have been used as craft workshops, and the local community here once serviced pilot boats and life boats. The island is also the site of the ruined church of St. Dwynwen and now part of a national nature reserve, although fully open to the public with paths.
The nearby pilot house is now a museum of local maritime history.
Although called an island the majority of the time you can just walk straight onto it, and the Anglesey Coastal Path skirts it. Only at extremely high tides does water flow between it and the mainland of Anglesey.
Photo by Robin Drayton
Navigation beacon on Llanddwyn Island.
Photo by Dr Richard Murray
Cross and old lighthouse on Ynys Llanddwyn
The lighthouse is no longer in use. Hills of the Llyn Peninsula in the distance on the left.
Photo by Dr Richard Murray
Llanddwyn disused lighthouse painted up for the "Halflight" movie
Photo by Stephen Elwyn Roddic
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