Monday, 10 February 2014

BEAUMARIS



Beaumaris is a fortified town on Anglesey, or Ynys Môn as it is known in Welsh.  The town's rather French-sounding name derives from the Norman for 'fair marsh', Beau Mareys.  The main street in the centre of town, with a range of independent shops, pubs and restaurants, is one block back from the seafront.  The seafront itself is a joy to stroll along, with a wide green, a small pier and wonderful views across the Menai Strait to the mountains of Snowdonia.  Boat trips are available from the pier to Puffin Island with its birds and seal colony, with a choice of conventional boats or rib rides for the more adventurous.  Sadly, when we visited last year none of these were available due to inclement weather, so it is a question of wandering down to the kiosks to see what is or is not going out.

View from the seafront


Beaumaris is best known for its castle, built as a last-ditch attempt by Edward I to maintain a faltering grip on Wales.  The perfectly formed outline is characterised by a 'walls within walls' design which was and is widely regarded as the finest example of its kind, earning it UNESCO World Heritage status.  However, the castle was never fully completed as both money and supplies ran out before it could be built to its full height.  Unlike so many other castles, Beaumaris Castle nestles within its moat in a low-lying position near the sea and facing across to the mountains of the mainland.  One of the features is a tidal dock which allowed supply vessels to sail up to the castle.  Because the castle was never fully completed it saw relatively little action apart from in 1403 when it was taken by Welsh forces during the Owain Glyndwr rebellion, only to be recaptured by royal forces two years later, and in the 17th century when the castle was held by forces loyal to Charles I, but was surrendered to the Parliamentary armies four years later.  The other main historical attraction in Beaumaris is the disused gaol, now a museum.  For nature enthusiasts, apart from the birds and seals of Puffin Island, the area around Beaumaris is reputedly one of the best places in the country to spot red squirrels.

Partial view of castle and moat

Map of the area.

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