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Walk the Gorgeous Gower Coast - Itinerary for a 3 Day Trip
The Gorgeous Gower (you shouldn’t ever call it “The” Gower, apparently) was the first area to be designated an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB). Spend three days walking along the gloriously varied landscape crammed into its 73 square miles and you will soon see why it should be top of your own travel wish list.
Read on for some suggestions of how to make the most of your precious time here.
Day 1 - Worm's Head and Rhossili Bay
You can’t really visit Gower without taking in its two most iconic features – Worm’s Head and Rhossili Bay. Our first day’s circular walk covered 12kms (7 1/2 miles). Some steep climbs were rewarded by some stunning views of this beautiful coastline.
The route was featured in Country Walking Magazine. You can download it on the OS Maps App.
The Gower coastline tapers to a natural climax in the serpent like Worm’s Head reaching out into the Bristol Channel. Cut off from the mainland except at low tide, Worm’s Head is an enticing mass of rock pools just beckoning to be explored. Check the crossing times before your visit – or at the Coastguard Lookout just beyond the National Trust Car Park.
You will need to allow quite a bit of extra time if you want to cross the rock pools and walk right out to the Middle and Outer Heads. They are crammed full of seabirds and so off limits during the seabird nesting system (March 1st to August 1st).
We chose instead to turn left up the coastal path towards Fall Bay.
Hidden Gem - Falls Bay
It is well worth checking the tide times when you are planning your trip to Gower as they can have a big impact on your itinerary. If you time your trip to catch low tide, you will be able to access Fall Beach by walking for 45 minutes or so along the coast path.
The length of the walk from the Rhossili car park and the rocky descent puts most people off, which makes Fall Bay a bit of a Hidden Gem. If you are lucky, you might even have it all to yourself.
Wish I had Packed
I wish I had packed a swimsuit in my rucksack. We were lucky to have a glorious day for our walk and a spot of wild swimming at Fall Bay would have been delightful.
The walk continues through pretty Middleton village and onto the inviting wide expanse of the golden sands of Rhossili Bay.
Razor clam shells are strewn all over the beach, making a satisfying crunch as your boots plod towards the end of the walk.
Be warned – the path up from the beach back to the car park is a bit of a killer steep climb when you are tired at the end of the walk. Judging by this photo of the path, several others had felt the same way!
Day 2 - Oxwich Bay and Cefn Bryn
With more time available to us on the second day of our trip, we tackled a longer Country Walking route – 15.7 kms (9 3/4 miles) from Oxwich Bay across the backbone of Gower – Cefn Bryn. Time required – 5 to 6 hours, depending on how many photo stops you take and the pace you set for yourself. The route is categorised as Challenging by Country Walking, although I actually used fewer calories than I did on yesterday’s walk, which was categorised as Moderate.
You can download the walk on the OS Maps link.
This walk passes through all the varied landscapes typical of Gower: Dunes, woodland, beach, paths through heather and up high along the sandstone backbone of Cefn Bryn offering 360 degree views.
The path at the beginning was very muddy – you will definitely need your hiking boots here. It is the least interesting part of the walk, but you need to persevere with it to get out onto the heights of Cefn Bryn.
There is nowhere to pause for refreshments en route, so take all you need for the day with you. There is a small Holiday Park shop in Penmaen – but you have to detour off the path to find it – so better to come prepared and aim to be self-sufficient.
The walk begins and ends at Oxwich Bay car park (SA3 1LS). There is a £6 charge to park for the day. There are good public facilities here and a little beach café where you can reward yourself with a Mr. Whippy ice cream at the end of your walk.
Three Cliffs Beach
This walk gives you wonderful views of Three Cliffs Beach. So often, the best views of beaches are from high above?
The cooling boots off walk back along Oxwich Bay was a highlight of the day for me. The first 500 yards or so of the beach were fairly busy by the time we reached the end of our walk at mid afternoon, but venture just a little further along the beach and there are miles of empty sand to enjoy.
Day 3 - Oxwich Point
With a half day to spare before we had to make our way back home, there was time to complete a fairly gently circular walk around Oxwich Point. This is a delightful stroll around one of Gower’s most dramatic headlands using a section of the Gower Coast Path. In around 3 hours, you pass through woodland, out across open cliffs and end back where you started at Oxwich Bay. There is a steep flight of steps right at the start, but it is fairly level after that.
What better way to celebrate accomplishing a bracing walk along the cliff path than with a glass of real ale. Welsh Red Ale Cwtch Beer hit the spot perfectly for me this evening. The Welsh word “Cwtch” translates as cuddle – what a great name for a beer?!
Another treat in store for you in this part of the world is Penderyn Legend whisky. A sweet tasting mélange of rich madeira cake, sultanas and country fudge. For me, there was just a hint of the taste of the sea too.
One Welsh tradition that I won’t be sampling again is laverbread. Welsh seaweed boiled for several hours and probably very good indeed for you – but definitely an acquired taste. It was offered as an optional extra with breakfast – “You’ll either love it or you’ll hate it”, our waitress said in her lovely soft Welsh accent. It was the former for me – but still – at least I tried it.
Flora and Fauna
The heather was only just beginning to cover the cliffs in purple at the start of July, but the foxgloves were out in force everywhere we walked.
The Oxwich Bay shoreline was rich with little starfish tumbling over and over in the seawater as the waves rolled in and out. A few pretty pink coloured jellyfish also put in an appearance in the sea and on the sand.
Wish I'd Seen
There are herds of free roaming Gower ponies that occupy the coastal heathland – but unfortunately, we didn”t see any of them during our walks.
Where to Stay?
Reynoldston is a good base to explore the Gower. We really enjoyed staying at the King Arthur Hotel – follow the link to read the accommodation review.