10 Best Coastal Walks on the Gower Peninsula
By Dave Roberts
10 Best Coastal Walks on the Gower Peninsula
The Gower Peninsula was the first area in the UK to be designated as an AONB in 1956 which is one step down from National Park Status. When you see what this compact area has to offer, you’ll probably agree that was an injustice. In a relatively small area, there’s a wealth of coastal scenery to be seen from marshes, sand dunes and world-class beaches to rocky coasts and iconic landmarks such as Worm’s Head, Three Cliff’s Bay and Rosili.
The walker is also well catered for on the way, with numerous villages peppered liberally around meaning you won’t be walking far before you come across a pub or cafe. Those looking for a bit more night life might be surprised to find that the Gower Peninsula is just on the outskirts of the city of Swansea.
Gower Coast Path
Thee’s no doubt that the best walk on the Gower Coast is to walk ALL the Gower Coast. Ok, this one’s cheating perhaps, but we can’t recommend this enough. The entire route starts from Gowerton, and covers just over 80km of spectacular coastline before finishing in Swansea Bay. A fit walker should be able to complete this easily in 3 days, though a more leisurely 4 day itinerary allows you to enjoy a lot more of the landscape, beaches and the all important hospitality on the way!
This walk from the village of Llanrhidian to Cheriton in northern Gower, can be walked as a couple of circular walks, or you can walk out on the coastal section and include the inland diversion on the return. The coast on this part of the Gower is mainly salt marshes, but not without interest. You can visit Weobley Castle, a 14th century fortified manor built by the wealthy de la Bere family who were stewards to the lords of Gower.
The north wesstern corner of the Gower again has its own personality. There’s plenty of interest with sand dunes extending a number of kilometres north to Whiteford Point, glorious sandy beaches to explore as far as Burry Holms and Llangenith Burrows as well as a number of interesting tors (Cwm Ivy Tor and Hills Tor) . This short walk from Llanmadoc offers a starting point in order to explore this fascinating section of Welsh coastline.
Rhosili Bay is the longest beach on the Gower, stretching from Spaniard Rocks and Burry Holms in the north, ending just short of Worms Head to the south. This walk take in both the headland towards Worms Head, most of the beach and the summit of Rhosili Down. It may only be 193m in height, but gains a feeling of height owing to its proximity to the sea.
Worm’s Head Walk
**Warning – this route is tidal and you’ll only have around 2.5 hours either side of the low tide to complete the walk. Check the Tide Times locally before setting out**
Worm’s Head is a tidal island located to the south of Rhosili Bay. Care is certainly needed for the walk, as the causeway to access the islands is only accessible for a few hours either side of high tide. The going across the tidal causeway is rough going, so you’ll need to make sure to allow plenty of time according to ability to cross back to the mainland and not become one of the many who don’t plan ahead and need to be rescued by the lifeboats. However, if there is any doubt you shouldn’t attempt to cross the causeway when the tide is coming in, and especially not attempt to swim across. The walk itself is across the slippery rocky shore to get to the island, and then a grassy path along the sharp spine of Worms Head. This includes crossing the Devil’s Bridge, an angular sea arch that leads towards the furthest end of Worm’s Head.
Oxwich Point is a headland between the villages of Oxwich and Port-eynon, and their eponymous bays. This walk takes in the main headland, with the path in places getting high up for some views, and also descending near the sea which has some interesting rocky shores, as well as through some rare coastal woodland.
Setting off from the village of Southgate, the walk follows the Wales Coast Path along towering cliffs towards and around Pwlldu Head. It descends to the peaceful beach at Pwll Du, where you’ll need to re-trace your steps back to the start.
Another quick walk from Southgate takes you down to Pobbles Beach and towards the spectacular Three Cliffs Bay. This is names after the three limestone cliffs at Pobbles Beach, with this walk providing the perfect opportunity to explore the beaches and walk through the natural arch that allows you to pass through the Three Cliffs. This is only possible in low tide, so ensure you time your trip accordingly.
A short optional excursion is to Pennard Castle, a spectacular ruin perched precariously above Pennard Pill.
This walk provides a welcome change of scenery, being largely a walk through the steep sided and wooded Bishopston Valley. The valley is dry (ish) higher up as the Bishopston River disappears down a sinkhole. You can hear the underground stream at the cave known as the Guzzle Hole, but it remains out of site. The stream eventually re-emerges only to be dammed up by a shingle bar at Pwll Du Bay – forming the “Pwll Du” or black pool. You’ll need to re-trace your steps to return to the beginning but you could also extend the route via Caswell and Langland Bay and into Mumbles for a better outing.
The final walk finds us nearing Swansea Bay and the Mumbles, walking from Caswell to Langland Bay. Both of these beaches are close to The Mumbles, and are more developed and busier than those beaches to the west of the Gower. If time permits, the walk would be much better walked as a linear walk by continuing along the coastal path towards Mumbles Head and into Swansea Bay.