Site of witches’ landing, Llanddona

Link to Welsh translationLink button to themes tour pageLink to French translationLink to Japanese translation

llanddona_beachA boat full of witches and their husbands landed on this sandy foreshore many centuries ago, according to legend. The photo on the right shows the coastline here in the early 20th century.

The boat had been cast adrift in a foreign country, possibly Ireland, without oars, a sail or a rudder. The occupants were desperate for food and water when their boat grounded here, and at their command a spring of freshwater suddenly appeared.

The immigrants built homes for themselves near the village of Llanddona, a little south of the shore. The men were accomplished smugglers. They were said to carry flies in their neckerchiefs which would be released whenever the men were losing a fight with Customs officers. The flies would fly to the assailants’ eyes and blind them.

The women were equally feared by the populace. When piglets were taken to market, nobody would bid until any witches present had taken their pick. There were tales of witches cursing streams where people bathed, or placing curses in wells which their intended victims drank from. Sometimes witches caused livestock to fall ill or stop producing milk, or prevented butter from forming in the churn.

A wizard was once summoned from the mainland to cure a cursed man, but he couldn’t find the man’s home. The witches had intercepted him and given him misleading directions. Local residents reasoned that if he couldn’t find his way to the patient, he couldn’t have found his way to the cause of the illness!

It was said that the witches’ powers weakened as successive generations intermarried with normal people. However, it was reported in 1892 that fear of the witches had persisted as late as the mid-19th century.

Postcode: LL58 8UW    View Location Map

Wales Coastal Path Label Navigation anticlockwise buttonNavigation clockwise button