‘Flood’ of visitors to Welsh ‘love island’ causing problems for locals
Dale Spridgeon, local democracy reporter
Seekers of romance have long made tracks to Wales’ very own ‘love island’ for peace and tranquillity – including members of the Royal Family.
But a rising “flood” of visitors to the idyllic beach at Llanddwyn is causing increasing traffic problems and stress to the residents of a nearby Anglesey village.
Ynys Llanddwyn is famous for its associations with Saint Dwynwen – the patron saint of love – with a celebration on January 25 known as the Welsh equivalent of Valentine’s Day.
The beach is also known as being an area close to the hearts of the Prince and Princess of Wales, William and Kate, who famously had a home at nearby Bodorgan.
Although known by some as an island, it actually remains attached to the mainland but gets cut off by the tide at various times.
Close to Newborough Forest, Llanddwyn famously features the ruins of St Dwynwen’s church, a Celtic cross, lighthouse and boasts stunning views across to the Eryri mountains and Llŷn Peninsula.
Llanddwyn beach, by Newborough Warren, also shot into the headlines recently as being a location for the filming of the House of the Dragon.
For centuries pilgrims, and now increasing numbers of tourists, have visited the stunning location which is flanked by sandy beaches.
But during several recent meetings of Anglesey County Council, concerns have been highlighted over increasing traffic congestion as tourists pass through Newborough to get to the visitor hotspot.
At times, locals and councillors say the village centre becomes “completely gridlocked”.
During a council meeting in June, Bro Aberffarw councillor John Ifan Jones said: “Llanddwyn Beach has become so popular now to the point that the village is broken.”
Speaking at a meeting of the Partnership and Regeneration Scrutiny Committee, he described difficulties faced by locals of just “getting a car through the village” at busy times.
He also highlighted concerns over access for emergency service vehicles, and described how Covid measures, which had continued after the pandemic, had seen a road closure put in place.
He then queried what action could be taken to deal with issues at Newborough.
Christian Branch, head of regulation and economic development at the council, said he did not think the problems at Newborough were “unique” to that village, saying other villages were also being affected by tourism on the island.
He said a “long term plan was needed to address these kind of concerns”.
The issue at Newborough emerged again when Cllr Dylan Rees presented a report by the Partnership and Regeneration Scrutiny Committee at the July meeting of the Anglesey County Council’s executive.
It came up during a discussion of the council’s Destination Management Plan 2023 -2028 – which described the council’s tourism strategy over the next five years.
Among topics the plan aimed to address were the impact of tourism and its impact on the lives of its people.
The plan noted that “the continued growth in visitor numbers can create unwelcome pressures for the local community”.
“Tourism cannot therefore be left to grow unchecked; it must be managed in a sustainable way,” it added.
The executive unanimously resolved to approve the new document on July 18.
Cllr Rees said: “One of the matters which was raised by the committee members was the impact of gridlock which sometimes happens at Newborough.
“It is because of the flood of visitors coming to Llanddwyn beach.
“Cllr John Ifan Jones, one of the councillors for Bro Aberffraw is especially concerned, and has highlighted a number of issues concerning traffic and congestion which have affected Newborough.”
A local resident, who wished to remain anonymous, added: “The road around here becomes absolutely gridlocked, the traffic is very very bad at times. It can be a nightmare.
“It affects the crossroads at the centre of the village and traffic builds up.
“It is especially bad in the summer, but you can guarantee, if there is a sunny day at any time of the year it can get bad.
“I think people round are probably fed up with it.”
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