My father and I decided to take a three-night break in the Aberdovey area. After leaving my home in Aberdovey and moving to the Chester area in February, I decided to take a break for a few months before going back for a flying visit. I wanted to find somewhere self-catering, and near the sea, and the place that ticked all the boxes was in Tywyn. I have taken 100s of photographs of the beach at Aberdovey, walking a long way towards Tywyn, but only rarely took photographs on the beach at Tywyn itself. The beach at Tywyn is so different from that at Aberdovey!
The most obvious difference is the presence of breakwaters, long wooden structures that run from the promenade down into the sea in order to lessen the erosive and carrying impact of waves and cross-currents on a sloping beach, effectively dividing the beach into multiple small sections. When the tide is very high it is impossible to walk along the beach without climbing over the breakwaters, but a promenade along the top of the beach means that the sea can still be enjoyed by dog-walkers, joggers and visitors.
Within these divisions, the differences continue to impress.
There are lovely rock pools with superbly coloured seaweeds floating in them, the rocks sometimes housing colonies of tiny white barnacles. Beyond the rock pools are highly textured sand structures that look a little like coral but are honeycombe reefs, made by the Honeycomb worm (Sabellaria alveolata), which form colonies. The colonies form on hard substrates and they need sand and shell fragments for tube-building activities. They manufacture the tubes from mucus to glue the tiny pieces together. When the tide is out the worms retreat deep into the tunnels, but when the tide covers their reefs their heads protrude and they feed on micro-organisms in the water, including plankton.
There are lots of pebbles, rounded by being rolled in the sea and over sand and other pebbles, a variety of shapes, sizes, colours and textures. There are almost no shells, but there are occasionally limpets, which are only rarely found at Aberdovey, probably due to the lack of rocks for them to cling to. Perhaps because of the breakwaters there is nothing in the way of a strandline capturing oddities from the sea, but this is good news for sun-bathers. The Tywyn beach very definitely has its own personality.
Staying so close to the beach meant that we could walk along it both first thing and last thing, which was a treat. We were so lucky with the weather, and the autumn sun, quite low in the sky, danced wonderfully on the waves. It was cold at each end of the day, but by staying on the move, hypothermia was avoided.
Here are a few of my late afternoon snapshots. There will be more to follow on future posts. The light was simply extraordinary. We’ll be back 🙂