Almost the entire 201 km coastline of Ynys Mon, the Isle of Anglesey, is designated as an AONB. The island contains a great variety of fine coastal landscapes and the AONB coincides with three stretches of Heritage Coast.
Some of the oldest rocks in Britain, the pre-Cambrian Mona Complex, form the low ridges and shallow valleys of Anglesey’s sea-planed plateau. Holyhead Mountain is its highest point (219m) with superb distant views to Snowdonia. Low cliffs, alternating with coves, pebble beaches and tucked-away villages, line the island’s northern shores. The east coast’s sheer limestone cliffs, interspersed with fine sandy beaches, contrast with the south’s wilderness of sand dunes that roll away down to Aberffraw Bay.
Varied habitats, from marine heaths to mud-flats, give the AONB a high level of marine, botanical and ornithological interest. The dunes of Newborough National Nature Reserve are a noted example of this complex habitat and the island’s limestone cliffs are an important nesting site.
Anglesey has an important historic landscape, with its protected sites ranging from Bronze Age burial chambers to medieval, World Heritage Site – Beaumaris Castle. Two areas within the AONB are listed in the Register of Landscapes of Outstanding Historic Interest in Wales.
The AONB’s rural economy is traditionally based on small-mixed-agricultural holdings, although the number has fallen by 44 per cent since 1945. Significant local industry skirted by the AONB includes Wylfa nuclear power station. The AONB contains no sizeable towns and residents of its coastal villages increasingly commute to work on the mainland.
Tourism plays a significant part in the rural economy, largely centred on static caravan sites. The AONB is also an important recreation area both for local people, for day visitors from across North Wales and also for urban north-west England. Sailing, riding, sea fishing, diving and cliff climbing are just some of the leisure demands on the AONB coastline. The 201 km Isle of Anglesey Coastal Path is a popular route to discover and explore the AONB.