Gower Peninsula, South Wales



The best way to explore the Gower, and in many places the only way, is on foot. 

The Gower has been inhabited by man for 30,000 years - the ochre adorned skeleton of a man were found in a cave here.Through Romans, Celts, Saxons, Vikings and Normans. Today the Gower is an oasis of peace and preservation.

Footpaths lead round most of the coast, to deserted beaches, pretty villages and nature reserves

gower map

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Look below for more information about places on the map of the Gower above

Burry Holms An island, which can be accessed at low tide, off the west of the Gower. There are signs of Iron Age dwellers, who hacked a ditch that cuts the island into two. Then the Vikings used it as a base. There was a small religious settlement here in the 12th century. Today its 15 acres is the home of masses of sea birds
Cefn Bryn A bracken clad ridge that is the backbone of the Gower, rising to 600 feet. On the ridge you can marvel at Arthur's Stone, a 25 ton capstone on a Bronze Age burial chamber.

At the foot of the ridge is Broad Pool, formed during the Ice Age, and now a nature reserve.

Llanmadoc Hill A mile long ridge with a 600 foot summit, and major Iron Age earthworks.

There are spectacular views from the top over Weobley Castle and the Llanrhidian Marshes

Llanrhidian    The village of Llanrhidian is on a steep slope overlooking the vast green salt marshes, with the tidal sandbanks beyond, where cockles have been traditionally harvested for generations.

The tidal mud has been stabilised by salt hardy plants, and now provides grazing for sheep and ponies. Thousands of starling come to the marshes every day to feed, and there are lots of other birds feeding there - curlew, snipe, oystercatchers, geese, plover, teal, duck, ... The visitor needs to be wary of incoming tides, and to keep to the paths - the area was a military firing range.

Weobley Castle, is a fortified manor house that saw action during Owen Glendower's revolt in 14000. It has now deteriorated to a ruin

Oxwich Bay  There are two nature trails through dunes and woodland for the bird watcher. From Oxwich Point there are good views over the long sandy beach, which sweeps in a great crescent to Pwlldu Head on the opposite side of the bay
Park Woods Access is by foot only, along a Forestry Commission road. The road follows the path of  the river that carved out the valley originally, but now has disappeared underground into the limestone beneath.

Here also is Giant's Grave, a 70 foot long prehistoric burial chamber. 4500 year old skeletons were found here when the grave was first opened in 1869

There are limestone caverns underground which are only advisable for experienced cavers

Pwlldu Bay Pwlldu Head at 320 feet high, is the highest point on the Gower coast, which stand guards over many wrecks, including a naval ship in 1760 which was wrecked on these rocks with 70 deaths.There are views across to Somerset and Devon to the south.

The lovely bay can only be reached on foot. There are two whitewashed cottages, and a shingle beach, with sand at low tide.

Rhossili A 250 foot cliff at the western end of the Gower, drops to a surf beach below. The bones of one of the many wrecks can be seen at low tide - it is the Helvetia, a coaster wrecked in 1887

Rhossili Down rises to 600 feet above the village. There is a bracing walk up to the top, with fine views to Devon in the south. It is also a favourite haunt of hang gliders today, and you often see them swooping and soaring in the sky

Threecliff Bay Names after three triangular crags of limestone at its eastern end, Threecliff Bay is a lovely sandy bay, surrounded by a natural amphitheatre of heather and bracken slopes.

There are traces of Iron Age man, and of a Norman castle. Half a mile inland the ruins of Pennard Castle, a Welsh chieftains castle, said to have been destroyed by the "little people" because the chief was not respectful towards them - be warned.

Whiteford Burrows One of the Gower's largest beaches, backed by a desert of sand dunes. reachable only by foot, there is a 3000 acre nature reserve here now.

The strong tides along this part of the coast have led to many wrecks in the past. Amazingly 16 ships were wrecked in one night in 1868, due to a heavy onshore swell

Worm's Head Worm's Head is about a mile long and a few hundred yards wide. The promontory is joined to the mainland by a causeway, only walkable 2 hours either side of high tide - be careful, or you will be marooned for hours there

It is part of a nature reserve that includes the Limestone nature trail. Details of the walks can be obtained from the National Trust centre at Rhossili

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Land of  legends and mountains - Gower Peninsula, South Wales