Shell Island Beach (Mochras)

Shell Island isn’t really an island at all, in fact referring to it as a peninsula seems a bit of a stretch. A quick glance at the map will confirm that Mochras (as it is also known) is firmly attached to the rest of the Welsh coast. That said, vehicular access is only possible via a causeway across the River Artro estuary at low tide.

But none of this matters as the beach and location are both quite stunning. There are views out over Cardigan Bay and Snowdonia National Park as a backdrop. To the north you can catch a glimpse of Harlech Castle and the Lleyn Peninsula beyond. With it’s remote, wilderness feel you could be forgiven for thinking you were actually on an island.

However, before you imagine yourself enjoying this gem in Robinson Crusoe style solitude, there’s one thing - Shell Island is home to a huge campsite. Consisting of over 400 acres the site is very basic and has a fairly wild ethos. That said in the summer months it is massively popular.

Stretching for several miles, the sandy beach (and island) gets its name from the abundance and variety of seashells which wash up on the shore here. It is estimated that there are over 200 different types of shell to be found on the coast here. Whilst you will still find plenty of shells in the summer it is the rough winter seas which tend to wash up the majority.

Besides shells, Shell Island is known for its wealth of wild flowers, including a dozen species of wild orchid. There’s plenty of wildlife too, with the estuary attracting vast numbers of birds. Lucky visitors may even spot some of the dolphins that grace this part of the coast.

Also known as:


Type of beach


Lifeguard service


Dogs friendly beach?

Dogs allowed

On the main area of the beach dogs must be kept on leads, however if they fancy a run off their lead, there is an area available to them past the last safety sign on the beach, below the big sand dune.

Gwynedd dog friendly beaches »


  • Kite surfing
  • Sailing
  • Wind surfing

Nearest town


OS grid ref.

SH 5543 2678

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