Walking in Glamorgan, South Wales. Guided walks, routes &
Last updated 8.12.06
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The Gower Coast
As far as we know this is the first detailed route description around the coast of Gower. Some other publications offer circular walks covering much of the coastline of Gower. 'Gower Coastal Walks' by Dr Gordon Avery has 16 walks around the coast with excellent photographs by Louise Beddow. The walks are short, generally 2 to 4 miles. 'Walking Around Gower', produced by the Ramblers includes 10 basic circular walks with additional route options giving a potential 100 miles of walking. The walks are longer, between 7 and 12 miles and much of the coast is covered. The coastal stretches are in the Mumbles to Loughor direction, that is the reverse of our route, so you will find it useful if you intend to do it that way round.
We have opted to go from Loughor to Mumbles for two main reasons. First, the Loughor estuary with its associated marshes has a beauty of its own but most find the southern coastline more scenic so this way the walk gets better as you progress. Second, this is the first part of the four sections of the Glamorgan Coast path which will stretch from Loughor to Cardiff.
The walk has three main phases - first, estuary/marsh from Loughor to Llanmadoc; second, beach from Llanmadoc to Rhossili and finally cliff back to Mumbles although all sections have bits of the other included.
A leaflet called a Trail of Gower Churches refers to 15 of Gower's churches, many of which are ancient. The coast path route passes close to many of them including Llanrhidian, Cheriton, Llanmadoc, Rhossili, Port Eynon and Oxwich. It is possible to follow a route that visits all 15 churches using an outline map in the leaflet in conjunction with an OS map.
Other websites with information on Gower
This site has photos of a walk between Llanrhidian and Weobley castle.
The geology of Gower.
The total distance listed is just under 52 miles but the actual distance walked may vary slightly. Following every headland will add some whereas cutting across the beaches at low tide will reduce the mileage.
Most of the route is straightforward and fairly obvious but it is advisable to check on the tides as they will affect where or when you can or cannot go. Low tides provide opportunities to walk further on the beach and from one beach to another, particularly between Oxwich and Pennard. Two points to look out for (which are referred to in the text) are:
The collapsed sea-wall before you get to Cheriton which until it is repaired can be difficult to negotiate at high tide. There is an alternative route a little way back down the path.
High Tor between Whiteford Sands and Broughton Bay projects into the sea at high tide - albeit not for long - necessitating either a short wait, a scramble over the rocks or an alternative route inland via Cwm Ivy and Llanmadoc.
Always take an Ordnance Survey map in case you need to divert from the published route
Local bus services cover most of Gower. Ring Traveline Cymru on 0870 608 2 608 for details of timetables and prices. There are no trains on the main part of Gower although the main line does go through Gowerton which is not far from the start of the route. On completing the walk you have the choice of walking to Gowerton via the Millennium cycleway or walking or taking a bus along the sea front to Swansea.
If you need to plan where you going to stop overnight this list is of the towns and villages passed with the approximate distance in miles from the start in brackets.
Loughor (0), Penclawdd (4), Crofty (6), Llanrhidian (9), Landimore (), Cheriton (13), Llanmadoc (14), Hillend (24), Rhossili (25), Port Eynon (32), Horton (33), Oxwich (37), Southgate/Pennard (42), Caswell Bay (46), Langland Bay (48), Mumbles (52).
This list is of additional villages which are within a mile of the coast path.
Gowerton (2), Llanmorlais (6), Llangennith (25), Middleton (25), Penmaen (41).
Features in the Landscape
As well as the outstanding natural landscape you will pass close to many historical features. Castles include Loughor, Weobley, Oxwich (with Penrice within a mile), Pennard and Oystermouth. There are prehistoric sites such as Cil Ifor, Sweyne's Howes, The Knave and Thurba. The coastline has numerous caves including the famous Paviland Cave. Amongst the curiosities are Culver Hole. There is even a remote chance of finding Spanish or Portuguese coins from old shipwrecks. For those interested in nature you pass through SSSIs and several nature reserves. Wildflowers such as Yellow Whitlow Grass can only be found on a stretch of the Gower coast. The geology is both interesting and accessible. Just remember that if you want to explore some of these features to build extra time into your schedule.
For the route description click here.