At one time, boats were able to navigate up the Cefni river as far as Llangefni. Malltraeth roughly translates as rotting shore, which is a reference to what were extensive coastal marshes. The marsh is now drained and controlled by sluices. Winter tides are kept at bay by the Cob or a mile long embankment topped by the coastal path and a cycle track. The area around Malltraeth is noted for its wildlife and in particular its variety of birds. Malltraeth was where the noted wildlife artist Charles Tunnicliffe set up a studio.