St. Hywyn, Aberdaron
An ancient pilgrim church, above the beach, at the end of the Lleyn Peninsula in north-west Wales - the last staging post before crossing to Ynys Enlli (Bardsey Island). Thousands of pilgrims over the centuries have offered their prayers in this church, and their successors are making their way down the coast again, either on short distance walks along the coastal path or the North Wales Pilgrim Way (which links St Asaph to St Hywyn - a pilgrimage of 2 weeks) The pilgrim passport stamp for the NWPW is in the Pilgrim’s Corner. Many visitors are drawn to see the parish and landscape that inspired the poetry of RS Thomas, who was vicar here from 1967 to 1978. A one hour “Pilgrimage through Poetry: Stations to the Untenanted Cross” is offered by special arrangement for small groups, through the Hospitaller. The annual RS Thomas Literary Festival celebrates him here where he wrote some of his best poetry. (The 2018 Festival will be from 29th June to 1st July 2018 - look out for further details in due course.)
In the north aisle the pews are set in the round to form a Quiet Prayer Space where pilgrims can take some time to be still and contemplate. There is seating outside overlooking the sea. There are two 5-6th century gravestones dedicated to Presbyters and their community inside the church.
If you have someone on your heart or a place on your mind, you can leave a prayer request in the intercessions book, which will be read out at the Thursday morning Holy Communion service. Sometimes lighting a candle beneath the icon of Christ ascending above Enlli becomes the best prayer. There is also a Cairn of Prayer Stones that pilgrims can add to with a pebble from the beach, as a marker on their own journey, as an act of thanksgiving for a safe arrival, or in remembrance of someone. The pebbles are blessed and returned to the sea as part of the worship on the last Sunday in October.
Standard opening times:
March-October 10 am – 6 pm;. in Winter, subject to weather, 10 am - 3 pm.
Services: Sunday bilingual Holy Communion 10 am; Thursday Silent Prayer 9.30 am followed by Holy Communion 10.15 am with a focus on pilgrims and intercessions.
St Hywyn's Church, Aberdaron, Gwynedd, LL53 8BG, United Kingdom
Grid reference: SH 173 263
By car – B4413 Park in National Trust village centre car park.
By public transport (rail/bus) – No. 17 and 17b bus service from the rail terminus at Pwllheli
On foot – By coastal path, ancient pilgrim route, either the north or south coast of the Lleyn Peninsula
Wheelchair accessible. Small gravel car park at the church for 6 cars. National Trust visitor centre and large car park with public conveniences 500 yards from church. There are also public toilets in the Ty Newydd hotel opposite.
Within the church there is a bookshop selling publications about pilgrimage, RS Thomas and his poetry, and by Jim Cotter the former vicar. Also cards and gifts made by local artisans.
In the village there are 2 hotels, plus 4 cafes open from Easter to October, and also a bakery, post office, Spar minimarket and newsagent.
Lots of campsites and holiday accommodation – www.aberdaronlink.co.uk.
Tel: 01758 703039