Point of Ayr is the northern most point of mainland Wales and is a large sandy beach with sand dunes behind. It is situated immediately to the north of Talacre in Flintshire, at the mouth of the Dee estuary and to the southwest of the Liverpool Bay area of the Irish Sea. Designated as a Royal Society for the Protection of Birds (RSPB) nature reserve it is also part of the Gronant and Talacre Dunes Site of Special Scientific Interest.
As it’s only a mile or so from where I live I often go down to catch the sunsets which can be quite spectacular as I hope to show you.
If you ever decide to go here are a few things you need to know.
- There is a sandy car park right at the edge of the beach. Sometimes the tide covers it and afterwards it gets terribly rutted. At these times it’s not suited to low slung cars. Use the car park on the main road.
- The tides are awesome, extremely fast to come in and on really high tide days the water comes right up to the flood walls, so if it’s a high tide day, make sure your car isn’t on the beach when the tide is coming in.
- When the tide is out, you can walk over the sand bank right into the mouth of the Dee. DONT EVEN THINK ABOUT IT. When the tide turns and comes in, it comes in behind you. If you havent seen it, you’ll be praying the lifeguard or someone has seen you.
- In summertime the gates to the beach car park are locked at 8pm on the dot (4pm in wintertime) so make sure you are off the beach in time.
- If you don’t want to park on the beach there is a 42 space Car Park beside the Smugglers Inn. It’s free parking and that’s what I usually use.
Ok! Those are the warnings but what can you photograph when you are there. The main item of interest is the lighthouse, especially at sunset/sunrise.
The lighthouse was built-in 1776 but has been inactive since 1844. It stands on Talacre beach and once displayed two lights. The main beam, at 63 feet, shone seaward towards Llandudno. A secondary beam shone up the River Dee, towards the hamlet of Dawpool, in Cheshire, on the English side of the estuary. Whilst in service, the lighthouse was painted with red and white stripes, and had a red lantern housing. It was replaced in 1844 with a metal pile lighthouse, bearing a white light, put up by order of the Corporation of Trinity House. This new structure was itself replaced in 1883 with a lightship.
Next is the natural sand dunes I have been told that hidden in the dunes are some half covered buildings, dating back to WW2, which were swallowed up when the dunes moved.
There are also some of those small Royal Observer Corps posts dotted among the dunes and supposedly some of them on the beach. I’ve never seen them, mainly because I only visit near sunset and don’t go too deep into the dunes.
Well that’s about it. I’ll leave you with this final image of the lighthouse viewed from the dunes area.