Coed Cyrnol reserve, Menai Bridge

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Coed Cyrnol nature reserve, Menai Bridge

The land here was originally known as Cerrig y Borth (“Porthaethwy rocks”). This was a reference either to the stones which made up the causeway to Ynys Tysilio (or Church Island), at the foot of the slope here, or more likely to the high rocky outcrop overlooking the Menai Strait. Notice how the terrain rises to the south, if you’ve just scanned the QR codes near the car park.

The land’s strategic location perhaps explains why 37 Roman coins form the 3rd century AD have been discovered here, as well as pottery and a stone battle axe from the Early Bronze Age.

In 1814, the Earl of Uxbridge (later Marquis of Anglesey) acquired 41 acres and created a woodland here. In time it came to be known locally as Coed Cyrnol (“Colonel's woodland”), after a Colonel Sandys who lived nearby in the early 1900s. Eventually the Marquis sold the land to Menai Bridge Urban District Council. It was formally opened as a public space in 1951. It’s now a Local Nature Reserve.

To the east of Coed Cyrnol, beside the main road, is the site of a horse fair which was held from 1690 onwards. Over the years the site was variously known as The Smithfield, Cae Sêl (“Sale Field”) and Mart, before being demolished to make way for a supermarket, owned in succession by Leo's, Co-op and now Waitrose.

With thanks to Prof Hywel Wyn Owen, of the Welsh Place-Name Society, and Menai Bridge Town Council

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