This 45-mile rugged coastline in South Wales was the UK’s first ever designated ‘Area of Natural Beauty’. Not only beautiful but the Gower is also a compendium of historical wonder, with its ancient burial chambers, hilltop forts and castle ruins, sprinkled across its one hundred square miles. The Gower has always been a popular choice for nature-lovers and adventure-seekers, with its abundance of beaches, caves and outdoor activities; but it’s the walking trails of the Gower that is the beacon to those wanting to explore and experience nature’s breath-taking beauty.
So let’s begin our adventures with these five unmissable trails – don’t forget your camera!
Rhosili Beach and the Blue Pool of Llangennith
This gentle walk is perfect for taking in the stunning views of one of the ‘Top Ten Beaches of the World’. Starting at Rhosili, the North-heading coastal ridge stretches the three miles of the award winning Rhosili Beach towards the island of Ynys Lanwol. This little tidal island is accessible around 2-3 hrs after high tide and was once home to an ancient iron-age hillfort and a medieval monastery. From Spaniards Rocks overlooking Ynys Lanwol, the path travels East towards Broughton Bay and stories of Spanish gold washing up on the beach from ancient shipwrecks. Nestled in the coastline is the Bay’s most precious of treasures, the natural tidal lagoon, Blue Pool. Visitors love to a take a little dip in the indigo waters of this idyllic work-of-nature, whilst looking out across the bay towards Pendine, Tenby and Saundersfoot; and once you visit you’ll understand why.
Difficulty: Easy | Terrain: Gentle sandy slopes | Time: 2 – 2.5 hrs | Distance: 6.5 miles
This beautiful circular walk around the medieval farming coastland of the Gower features another ancient fort, shipwrecks and the beautiful rocky island of Worms Head – named after the Norse word for Dragon. Along the coast of Rhosili Bay the almost completely submerged remains of the ship, Helvetia can still be seen at low tide, ever since its ruin in 1887. This gently sloped terrain continues with excitement, passing a Victorian ‘coastguard’ tower (still in use today!), the Norman farmscape, known as The Vile and the natural, rocky ‘Devil’s bridge’ that leads out to Worms head, at low tide.
Difficulty: Moderate | Terrain: Gentle slopes (some slippery rocks) | Time: 1.5-2 hrs | Distance: 3.5 miles
The beautiful beach at Oxwich Bay steers into St IIltyd’s and its beautiful 13th Century church, nestled amongst the woodland. From here the hilly woodland path climbs towards Oxwich Point, where you may spot the wreck of the ship Solar. After taking in the breath-taking views across the Bristol Channel, you could turn back, or follow the cliff edge path to Slade Bay. A walk East through Oxwich Green emerges at Oxwich Castle – a fortified mansion built in the 16th Century – and back to the sandy beach of Oxwich.
Difficulty: Challenging | Terrain: Some steep climbs | Time: 2-2.5hrs | Distance: 4 miles
3 Cliffs Bay to Pwlldu
Strolling across the beach at Oxwich Bay you could continue to the Gower’s most photographed beach at Three Cliffs Bay. Or for a full day of rambling, the sandy trail from the Gower Heritage Centre meanders along the river to the picturesque views of Three Cliffs Bay. This circular trail provides amazing photo opportunities of the three cliffs from every beautiful angle, as well as stunning cliff-edge views as the trail continues past Pobbles Bay, Pwlldu Head and Pwlldu Beach.
Difficulty: Moderate | Terrain: Gentle climbs and sandy paths | Time: 4-5hrs | Distance: 7 miles
The Gower Super Walk
This two-day ramble is one of the National Trust’s walking challenges, trailing the whole of the Gower Peninsula and is the ultimate hike for experiencing all the beauty of the Gower (including the trails we’ve outlined so far). This challenge is perfect for the more experienced hiker with their walking gear, maps and compass.
The first day of the challenge starts at Crofty and trails along the Gower coastline through Llanmadoc, passing Blue Pool and Ynys Lanwol, along Rhosili Beach and ending in the town of Rhosili. Expect this walk to cover a whole range of terrain, taking anywhere between six to eight hours and just imagine the beautiful coastal sites you’ll get to see.
Day two of the challenge starts where day one finished, at Rhosili with the Worms Head trail, heading along the coast to Port Eynon, Oxwich Bay, Three Cliffs Bay and carrying on along the cliff edges to Pwlldu Bay; taking in all the views that the South Coast has to offer, and they are spectacular. This 19-mile hike finishes at Bishopston where you can celebrate with a well-deserved rest whilst basking in the beauty of the Gower coastline as you scroll back through the many photographs you’ve likely taken along the way.
Difficulty: Challenging | Terrain: Expect it all, sandy paths, coastal climbs and everything in between
Time – Day 1: 6-8 hrs / Day 2: 8 – 10 hrs | Distance – Day 1: 20 miles / Day 2: 19 miles
So which path will you take first?