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Sand, Salty Air & Shipwrecks on the Gower Peninsula

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Sand, Salty Air & Shipwrecks on the Gower Peninsula

Nia Knott

If you've done any amount of planning for your trip to Wales then you've almost definitely heard of the Gower Peninsula. An hour west of Cardiff and joined at the hip to Swansea, it's within easy reach from most parts of South Wales and makes an ideal day trip.

The Gower encompasses some of the most beautiful parts of the Wales Coast Path, and what are arguably some of Wales' best beaches. We love taking small groups here; and have lined up some of the best places in the Gower for our tour, which departs regularly, year round, from Cardiff.
 


First stop on our aptly named Beach Tour is the secluded and peaceful Pwlldu bay. A walk along the dramatic clifftops brings us to this rocky beach where the main interest lies in its colourful and sometimes dark history. With tales of shipwrecks, sailors and smuggling here, we have a great introduction to the Gower of the past.

 

Gorse bushes adorn the clifftops throughout Spring and early Summer

Gorse bushes adorn the clifftops throughout Spring and early Summer

Back up onto the coast path, accompanied perhaps by the rare Chough, and the sweet scent of Gorse in the Spring, or salt spray in wilder weather, we wind our way through the sand dunes to the spectacular Three Cliffs Bay. One of Wales' most loved gold sand beaches, yet never crowded because of the long walk to get there; you're rewarded with views of the namesake three peaked cliff formation at one end, and needle-like Tor Point cliff at the other.

Looking across Three Cliffs to Tor Point

Looking across Three Cliffs to Tor Point

Leaving the beach for a wander through a winding river valley to the small but dramatically located Pennard Castle; a ruin clinging to the edge of the valley almost as if being slowly pushed by the encroaching sand dunes threatening to engulf it on the other side. The views from here make the steep climb up the sand dunes worth the effort.
 

Windswept Pennard Castle

Windswept Pennard Castle

Next we travel to beautiful Oxwich, a long sweep of golden sand sheltered by a wooded headland. The ecosystem here is unique with a number of rare species of plants and animals including butterflies, bats and birds.

A carpet of wild garlic in Oxwich Woods

A carpet of wild garlic in Oxwich Woods

After exploring the beach and adjacent woodland, which in Spring is carpeted in woodland flowers, we visit the impressive partially restored Tudor Mansion of Oxwich Castle built by the prosperous Mansel family over at least two generations.

The impressive 6 storey ruin of the East Range of Oxwich Castle 

The impressive 6 storey ruin of the East Range of Oxwich Castle 


No tour of the Gower Peninsula would be complete without seeing the world famous Rhossilli Beach. At one end, the cliffs resemble a dragon jutting out into the sea, and the views here of the huge sweeping bay are jaw dropping. It's no wonder this beach is voted into and regularly ranks highly on lists of the world's best beaches.

The Worm's Head, looking pretty much like a dragon from this angle (Copyright: Mari Owen)

The Worm's Head, looking pretty much like a dragon from this angle (Copyright: Mari Owen)

Perched high on moorland overlooking the North West coastline of the Peninsula is the incredible Arthur's Stone; a huge Neolithic burial chamber shrouded in myth & legend. It's the perfect spot to rest and breathe the fresh air, reflecting on our day, before returning to Cardiff in the evening.
 

Arthur's Stone, Gower (Copyright: Mari Owen) 

Arthur's Stone, Gower (Copyright: Mari Owen) 

Can't tear yourself away? Stay overnight and spend a second day here; this is one of Wales' best places to learn to surf, try coasteering, go horse riding on the beach, learn rock climbing or an extended tour visiting even more of the Gower's amazing beaches, coastline and countryside.