Walking in Glamorgan, South Wales. Guided walks, routes &
Webmaster, Angus McDonald
Last updated 20.7.03
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Rhossili to Whitford Circular via Llanmadoc
"A land whereon the breath of Arthur's praise
Floats like a mist: around whose rock-bound coast
Lie Philip's galleons rooted fast in sand
Hovers in storm-time many a drowned ghost
A shore for song, a land of yesterdays
Linger with me about this haunted l land"
3 walks starting from Rhossili, all heading out over tracks and footpaths before returning along the beach. All 3 walks ascend Hardings Down (152 metres above sea level) and the medium and long walks also ascend Llanmadoc Hill (185 metres above sea level). The long walk is 16.4 miles, 26.4 Kms, and includes the Whiteford SSSI, Whiteford sands and the Victorian Lighthouse. The medium and long walks include Broughton Bay, Blue Pool and an optional visit to Burry Holms. All 3 walks involve stretches of Rhossili Bay. Alternative starts for all 3 walks are Hillend, car parking charge in camp-site, and the medium and long walks can be taken from Llanmadoc, Llanmadoc camp-site car park or honesty box in field at Cwm Ivy. The medium walk is 11.7 miles, 18.8 Kms, and the short walk is 7.1 miles, 11.4 Kms.
Toilets, refreshments and payphones at Rhossili and the camp site shops at Hillend and Broughton sell basics. There is a daytime cafe and take-away at Hillend camp site and those on the short walk pass the Kings Head at Llangennith. For a map to get to the start click here. OS Explorer Map 10 starting at grid ref: SS 41454/88087.
Llangennith to the left; Hardings Down and Llanmadoc Hill ahead
Leave the car park at Rhossili heading back down the road. Just past the
bus stop and telephone box on your left take the track towards the church and
after 20 yards take the little wooden gate into the churchyard, noting the
Sailors’ Corner immediately on the right. Leave the churchyard at the far end,
passing the rope lamp, and continue along the road to enter the village of
Middleton. Head into the village and take the road turning on the left by a bus
stop and telephone box, some half mile from the start. The road ascends gently,
crosses a cattle grid and becomes a stony track. The track then starts to
descend with views diagonally left to the village of Llangennith and the hill of
Hardings Down ahead. Cross a wooden stile by a metal gate by a ‘Gower Way’
stone marker, following the track as it curves to the right. Go through a metal
gate, keeping to the main track. Just before this track enters some trees with a
ruined building just visible, go through the gate on the left of the track. (35
mins, SS 43420/89231, 2.09 miles).
The ruined house with our stile visible
Keep ahead through this slightly marshy area with the trees on your
right, aiming for a wooden stile in the far left-hand corner of the field, just
beyond a pond on the right. Cross the stile and head along the left-hand edge of
the next field. Cross a wooden stile by a metal gate and keep straight ahead.
After 30 yards and just beyond some bushes on the left, take the stile over the
wire fence on the left and head along the field, the fence now on your right.
Cross a short bridge over a stream and a wooden stile and continue along the
left-hand edge of the next field. Cross another wooden stile by a metal gate,
keeping straight ahead. Cross a wooden stile now heading towards some ruined
buildings. The path goes very close to the ruined house on your right, through a
wet, stony area to reach a wooden stile, a few yards beyond the house. Cross the
stile to reach a track. Turn right for 10 yards and then left, following a path
which heads up towards the crest of the hill between bracken. Cross a track as
our path continues uphill, curving left as you approach the summit and then
right. This is Hardings Down with several ancient features. The path now starts
to descend towards a white house with farm buildings. Our grassy path meets a
stony track – head right along this to the white house, which you pass on the
right. (If you are doing the short walk, see below). The track becomes a metalled road which then meets a main road. Head
right along this road, walking on the right. When the hedge on the left-hand
side of the road ends, cross the road and pass through a gap in a fence to
follow a wide stony track heading towards the hill. ( 1 hr 15 mins, SS
From Llanmadoc Hill, Llanmadoc village below, Whiteford point in the distance
This area is known as Tankeylake Moor. Pass under one electricity cable and just before you pass under a second one, take the rough stony track to the left which heads directly uphill. When the path forks, take the left fork. At the next fork, alongside a copse of trees and ruined building on the right, take the left fork which curves left at first then right as it ascends. You meet another track - turn right along this continuing uphill. As the path levels look out for a pile of stones just to the left and cross some tussocky ground to reach this point with magnificent views over the Loughor estuary - this is Llanmadoc Hill. If the tides are right you might be able to make out the Cockle-gatherers up the estuary to the right. The spit of land with pine trees heading out into the estuary marks our route and you might be able to make out the lighthouse on the end and slightly left which is where we turn round to head back along the beach on the long walk. ( 1 hr 35 mins, SS 43996/92714, 4.93 miles).
Now head downhill towards the village of Llanmadoc below. After 40 yards turn right along a grassy path, downhill. At a junction of paths take the left fork, downhill towards the 3 houses. The path curves right to join a stony track between the middle house and the house on the right continuing downhill. The track becomes a metalled road between houses to emerge in the middle of Llanmadoc. Head to the left along the main road, passing a telephone box and a Post Office and village shop. You come to a road junction to the left signposted Broughton Beach – only if you are doing the middle distance walk take this and see route below. For the long walk stay on the road as it curves right, signposted Cwm Ivy, passing the church of St Madoc on the left. Stay on the road through Cwm Ivy to reach a wooden gate and pass through the kissing gate on the right, continuing along the road, downhill to enter a Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI). The road becomes a stony track and turns right into an area planted with conifers via a small wooden gate. Pass a white building on your left going along the clear track. Go through a wooden gate to enter a more open area, Whiteford National Nature Reserve. The track later re-enters a conifer plantation and then emerges to run between dunes on the left and conifers to the right, before re-entering the trees for a third time. The track emerges from the trees and peters out. Head into the open area to pick up a path heading left with the trees now on your left and aiming for the dunes to emerge on the beach. (2 hrs 45 mins, SS 45063/96339, 8.39 miles).
From Whiteford point - a wreck in the foreground, the lighthouse just visible in the distance.
Left, view back along Broughton beach with Whiteford beyond. Right, Blue Pool, the pool itself visible front left of photo.
Left, view back along Rhossili beach, right to Worms Head, both from Burry Holms.
Map of all 3 routes
Church of St Madoc
Follow the long route until you get to Llanmadoc and at the road junction referred to above take the road to the left signposted Broughton Beach, passing the church on your right. Pass Whiteford Bay caravan park on right and then a gate alongside a cattle grid with a sign saying 'Welcome to Llanmadoc Camping Site'. On your left is Lagadranta Farm where the last fairies were seen on Gower. The white and blue building on your right is the camp shop. Just past this turn right into the camp, passing a toilet block on your left. Head down the stony track towards the dunes. Pass a metal gate by a kissing gate and then follow the track left towards the caravans in the distance. Pass a kissing gate by a wooden gate and drop down onto the beach. Cross the stream on your left and head along the beach towards the caravans. Just below the caravans you reach a concrete slipway - you are now back on the long route all the way to the end. (Total distance 11.7 miles, total time 3hrs 50 mins)
After passing the white house, proceed along the rough road looking out for a prominent rusty metal waymark post on the left, signposted 'Llangennith 0.6 Km' (SS 43586/91226). Turn left in this direction to a wooden stile 20 yards beyond and go along left-hand edge of field. At the end of the field take the wooden stile on the left, immediately turning right to cross another wooden stile 10 yards beyond, following the yellow arrows, now on right-hand edge of field. Cross a stone stile, continuing on the right of the field. Cross a wooden stile by a metal gate and then another, now heading diagonally left to cross another stile. Head across the field aiming for the church tower to cross a wooden stile in the hedgerow and then another stile. The next 15 yards can get a bit overgrown but you will find another stile at the far end which brings you back into the field. Aim for the church tower again until you get close to the hedge, then look out for a stone stile in the right-hand corner of the field which brings you into the middle of Llangennith by the church and opposite the Kings Head.
The church of St Cennydd
You now have two choices. To the left of the pub the road forks. You can walk down the right-hand fork all the way to the Hillend caravan and camp site but the road can be busy, particularly at weekends and is not ideal walking. A much safer route is to take the left-hand fork of the road which heads downhill past the church. The road eventually levels then starts to ascend becoming a stony track. Look out for a bridleway sign to the left of the track indicating 'Rhossili 4.2 Kms'. This is before a corrugated-iron barn on the right and cattle grid. Take the bridleway which runs parallel with the track initially. Pass a wooden gate, ascending steadily, until you come out onto Rhossili Down. The track soon curves to the right and the path then splits, (SS 42416/90715). You do not want the left fork unless you plan to return to Rhossili over the hills. The right fork runs close to a hedge and wall alongside a white house which should also be avoided unless you enjoy gorse-wrestling. A third, middle, path runs between these two, heading towards the sand dunes in the distance and parallel with the right-hand path but 20-30 yards away from the hedge and wall. Take this path, passing first one, then a second, white house on the right before descending to reach the road opposite the entrance to the Hillend Caravan and Camping (4.92 miles, 1 hr 37 mins). Go through the wooden gate to enter the site and walk down the tarmac road following the signs for Beach Car Park. When you get to the car park take the sandy path through the dunes to reach the beach. You are now back on the Long Route. Turn left along the beach to return to Rhossili. Total distance 7.1 miles, total time 2 hrs 25 mins.
This cuts out the last stretch of beach from Hillend back to Rhossili. If doing the short walk, instead of going through the gate by the entrance to the Hillend Caravan and Camping site, head left on a level track passing the caravans on your right. If doing the medium or long walk, when you get level with the Hillend caravan site, roughly midway along the final beach and just after a stream dribbles out along the beach, head through the dunes to the car park and then up the road towards the entrance to the caravan site. On the far side of the road by the entrance, go through a wooden gate and turn right to head along a level track between bracken which passes the caravans on your right. Just stay on this path, passing the old Rectory on your right, the path gradually ascending until you reach the houses of Rhossili. Turn right to enter the village and return to the car park.
This variation can be done on the medium or long routes and is useful on the long route if the tide is in and you cannot get past the Tors. If doing the medium walk, follow the long route out of Llanmadoc, through Cwm Ivy and down into the Nature Reserve but instead of following the road as it turns right into the conifer plantations, keep ahead along a rough road towards the dunes which skirts Cwm Ivy Tor on your left. When you reach a gate and stile on your right cross the stile and follow the track out to the beach. Head left along the beach which brings you to Broughton beach. On the long walk, you do this in reverse. Heading back from the Victorian lighthouse, when you get close to the rocky outcrops look out for a track which is at the right-hand end of the conifer plantation. The track brings you to a gate and stile - turn left along the road passing through Cwm Ivy and at the church turn right to follow the medium route to Broughton beach.