the belgian promenade menai bridge
The Belgian Promenade which is located in Menai bridge on the Anglesey shoreline between the two bridge was built by Belgian refugees in gratitude to the hospitality of the people of Menai bridge who provided accommodation during the First World War. The refugees who arrived from Mechelen in Northern Belgium in October of 1914 were greeted by the Bishop of Bangor when they arrived at the Menai bridge railway station which was located on the Bangor side of the Menai Suspension bridge.
The refugees were welcomed by the People of Menai bridge, when they arrived the local band played the Belgian national anthem and it is believed that many of the refugees cried at this welcoming gesture. The 63 Belgian refugees were made up of men, women and children.
Most of the refugees were given accommodation in Menai Bridge and about 12 of them were accommodated in the nearby village of Llandegfan.
The Belgian Promenade which runs along the Menai Strait from Church Island or Ynys Tysilio to Carreg Yr Halen where there used to be a lime kiln. Some of the views from this Belgian Promenade are fantastic. From Careg Y Halen you can see part of the majestic Menai Suspension bridge then the body of water between the two bridges known locally as the Swillies or Swellies and then the equally majestic Britannia Bridge with the Island in the Menai Strait known locally as Ynys Gorad Goch which means red weir island.
And last but not least the beautiful Church Island which can be accessed by a stone causeway. The beautiful tiny church of St. Tysilio on this little island is believed to have been built in 630AD, and is still used for weddings today.
More prominent at high tide you can see some serious water flowing through the Swellies, you can also see lots of whirlpools, these are created because the sea bed which is very uneven with lots of peaks and troughs which are the main cause for the whirlpools. The second is as the tide is coming in by one bridge and going out by the other along with the fact that the Menai strait is very narrow at this point.
the tragedy of hms conway in the menai strait
This stretch of water between the two bridges can be an extremely dangerous. In 1953 the training ship HMS Conway was being towed to Liverpool for a refit, whilst being towed through the Swellies at high tide she ran into trouble and went aground on the rocks near the Menai Bridge. Unfortunately she broke her back and never sailed again.
This beautiful walk along the Menai strait is a magnificent place to view some of the local bird life. Some of the birds you can see here are lots and lots of Herons and even Egrets now habitat this stretch of coast.
Keep any eye open for the friendly Mallards, they will come and say hello, given half a chance.
Anglesey Coastal Path
The Anglesey Coastal Path travels along the Belgian Promenade as you walk along this path you have this beautiful stretch of the Menai strait, between both bridges and about half way along you have the Coed Cyrnol (Colnels wood) on the other side which is now a very well established home to the Anglesey red squirrel.
The link to the map for this section on the Anglesey County Council website is here