Walking in Glamorgan, South Wales. Guided walks, routes &
Webmaster, Angus McDonald
Last updated 13.02.05
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The Glamorgan Coast Path (1)
The Coast of Gower
Outline map of Gower with route in red, link to Gowerton in black. From OS Explorer map.
From the Loughor river which marks the Western boundary of Glamorgan this route takes you round the coast of the Gower peninsular. You can either carry on along the Glamorgan coast (Swansea to Porthcawl section to follow) or take the Millennium Cycleway back to Gowerton where there is a train station or Loughor where you started. This is not yet an official coast path but the route is on public rights of way. Most of the way is level but there are some minor scrambles between Rhossili and Port Eynon.
On the way you will pass castles, some of the best beaches in Britain, dramatic cliffs, old parish churches, famous caves with prehistoric links and wildlife in abundance. For more information on the walk click here.
Map to the start - OS Explorer Map 164 covers the whole route. Start at SS 56374/98107.
Loughor to Wernffrwd - 7 miles
The Loughor at high tide from the car park, New Zealand flax in foreground
Leave the car-park area with your back to the river, heading up the cottage-lined lane opposite, Ferry Road, with Water's Edge cottage the first on the right. At the top cross the main road, Castle Street, and Loughor Castle is on top of the mound opposite. Head left along the road, the Ship and Castle pub on your left, and after 200 yards turn right into Parc Williams, heading down the left-hand edge along a tree-lined tarmac path. Leave the park at the bottom and turn left along the road. At a T-junction turn right - this is Culfor Road. Continue along this road through housing. As you leave the urban area the road turns right (see Note below), passes under two bridges and then curves left. Take care on this road as there is no pavement. Continue until you come to a junction where you turn right across a bridge. Note: you can avoid part of the road by taking the bridleway just before the two bridges. This goes in a straight line - avoid the side paths - and brings you out onto a road - turn right down the road to come to the bridge referred to above. The bridleway route is shorter, but muddier and route-finding can be harder - the road is longer and there is traffic but easier.
After crossing the bridge continue along the road, passing a caravan park on left. Cross a stone-walled bridge and just after a large white house on the right take the footpath on the right over a gate, (SS 58034/96708), into a field. Head along the right of the field to cross a wooden stile, head slightly left to a metal gate nearly opposite. Go through this and then two further metal gates. Now head diagonally left to a stile alongside the road. Turn right to head along the pavement. (2.48 miles, 45 mins, SS 57557/96597). You have a slightly tedious 20 minutes on this pavement although there are good views across the Loughor to the bridge and the castle mound just to its right where you started. Just after the Gower Plant Centre turn right through metal and wooden barriers to head left along a tarmac track, (3.56 miles, 65 mins, SS 55926/96105).
The track later rejoins the main road - continue right along the pavement into the small town of Penclawdd which has pubs, supermarkets, Post Office, chemist, fish and chips - even a forge. Toilets are passed on the left. Follow the pavement, whichever side of the road it is on and then go alongside the sea wall. There is a large grassy fenced-off area on the left of the road. After this ends you come to a junction to the right to Crofty Industrial Estate. Ignore this but take the next right which is a few yards beyond - Pen Caer Fenni Lane. This village is Crofty, associated with cockle-gathering. (1 hr 45 mins, 5.68 miles, SS 53012/95484).
Follow this lane passing a small supermarket and Post Office. As you pass the last houses on the right turn right to take the track just to the right of a playground, rejoin the road heading right with Llanrhidian Marsh stretching out to the right. You have now left the urban areas and will not see anything but small villages until you get to Mumbles. Continue along this flat, fairly quiet road until you get to the small hamlet of Wernffrwd with two benches on the right opposite St Davids Church on the left - a good spot for a break. (2 hrs 12, 7.03 miles, SS 51524/94271).
Map of this and next section
Wernffrwd to Llanmadoc - 7.5 miles
From St Davids Church at Wernffrwd continue along the lane with the marsh on your right. Pass a road junction on left and keep straight on towards a village in the distance with a prominent church. The hillock to your left is Cilifor Top. Cross a cattle grid, the road curving towards the village of Llanrhidian. When you come to a T junction, cross the road and go through some brown gates ahead but slightly left to visit the church, entering the churchyard through a stone stile or metal kissing gate. This is the church of St. Rhydian and Illtyd (36 mins, 1.93 miles).
Church of St Rhydian and Illtyd at Llanrhidian
Leave the churchyard via the main exit to the left of the church. Opposite you will see the pub called the Town Inn and to the right a telephone box. Head towards the telephone box and take the narrow lane off to the right passing Cross House, the large white house on right. As the road curves left, uphill, take the grassy track to the right which descends gently passing a small shed or garage on right then skirting the wall of the churchyard. Where the track meets a tarmac lane, head left along the lane following the waymark sign to 'Weobley Castle 2 kms'. The lane becomes a stony track passing wooden gates on right then ascending. Cross a stile by a wooden gate and keep along the left-hand edge of the field. At the end of the field take the right-hand of two paths, a wooden stile by a wooden gate. Keep to the left of the next field across another stile by a wooden gate. Head left along a faint path and cross another stile in a wire fence and a further stile to the left of a wooden gate. A stile by a metal gate affords views of Weobley Castle ahead on higher ground. Cross this and keep ahead to another wooden stile to enter woodland, then cross a stile with a waymark, heading slightly left on a stony track. After 40 yards take the footpath to the right over a wooden stile and a further stile brings you into a field. Keep ahead but after 300 yards look out for a stile on the left, which may not be obvious. Take this and head right following the waymark direction - this stretch can be quite overgrown in late Summer. Cross a stile by a small wooden gate and then cross a stony track and a stile by a wooden gate to enter a field. ( 1 hr 15 mins, 3.8 miles, SS 47724/92845).
Head across the field noting the causeway to the right heading out into the Loughor estuary. At the far left-hand corner of the field look out for a wooden stile with waymark and enter another field. Head down the centre of this long narrow field towards the houses of Landimore. Pass a wooden stile and then a metal gate, another stile but before turning into the final field turn left following a waymark direction towards a white house with prominent street lamp and willow tree. Cross a stile to reach a road and turn right. ( 1 hr 30 mins, 4.6 miles, SS 46545/93132).
Follow the lane as it drops down to rejoin the edge of the marsh, go through a wooden gate to enter the National Trust area known as Cors Landimore Marsh and continue along the stony track. After about 30 minutes walking the path eventually curves left towards the houses of Cheriton and Llanmadoc. Cross a wooden stile with stone wall on left. Now follow the line of the sea defence wall as best you can - the wall having been washed away in places. (See note below). As you reach the trees the path curves to the right - when you see a wire fence crossing ahead look to the left for a stile and waymark post. Take this, heading uphill with wire fence to the right. Cross a wooden stile and follow the path to the right across a wooden stile with farm buildings ahead. Cross a stile at the end of the field and head right down a hedge-lined path and pass through a wooden gate onto a road. (6.51 miles, 2 hrs 8 mins, SS 45242/93324).
Note: If there is a high tide and you don't fancy crossing where the sea defence wall has collapsed there is a footpath further back. This starts at SS 45462/93872 by a stout old ash tree with pale bark, 50 yards to the West of three large boulders alongside the trackway. The path heads steeply uphill through the trees, goes through the middle of a farm and then rejoins the route above down the 'hedge-lined path'.
Church of St Cadoc in Cheriton
Head right down the road with care as there is no pavement to pass the church of St Cadoc in Cheriton. The road ascends to pass the Britannia Inn. Shortly after this and just past a road junction turn right into the shared drive of some cottages, passing Glenside Cottage on your right, then head right towards a wooden gate descending on a grass and stony track. Cross three stiles by wooden gates and then take the right-hand of two wooden stiles to come onto the edge of the marsh.(2 hrs 31 mins, 7.59 miles, SS 44672/93844).
Map of this and last section
Llanmadoc to Rhossili - 10.5 miles
Follow the path as it heads out through the marsh for just under half a mile. Go through a wooden kissing gate and 10 yards beyond turn right along a grassy track by some pine trees - Whiteford National Nature Reserve. The clear wheel-rutted track enters and leaves conifer plantations three times. The track then emerges from the trees and peters out (40 mins, 1.99 miles, SS 45122/96170). You can walk to the right for a few hundred yards which brings you to a bird-watching hide but our route heads 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.
The Victorian Lighthouse
With one short interlude our route is now on the beach all the way to Rhossili. Head left along the beach in the direction of the Victorian Lighthouse which is accessible but only at low tide. The beach gradually curves left to head towards Broughton Beach in the far distance. You can take any route depending on the tides but beware of ending up on a spit of land just heading out to sea - this section is a little under 3.5 miles. After a while you pass a rocky outcrop on the left and then a stretch of rocky cliff. At the highest tide point you might have to scramble over the rocks at the foot of this cliff or just wait for the tide to retreat. (Alternatively you can head back along the beach and take a path on the right between a conifer plantation and Cwm Ivy Tor. This brings you to Cwm Ivy and then Llanmadoc where you can take a road to the right to the caravan site). Head towards the middle of the caravan site ahead – the beach is split by a stream which is usually very shallow and easy to cross although you will find a crossing if you follow it inland. Just below the caravans at the right-hand end of the beach head up a concrete slipway. ( 1 hr 47 mins, 5.98 miles, SS 41835/92976).
Looking back across Broughton beach
At the end of the concrete turn right marked by a footpath post, passing the caravans on your left. Turn right by a large boulder to follow a path along the edge of the cliff. When you get to a broad grassy area, keep to the right, taking the slightly stony track which descends but after 20 yards take a narrow path which forks sharp left, initially heading back towards the caravans before curving right to head steeply uphill to meet a boardwalk path. Head right along this as it skirts the cliff edge with fine views back over Broughton Bay. The boards end by a footpath sign – continue along the clear path. Side paths will take you to the cliff edge but stay on the main path. When you reach two grey metal posts on the right, our path curves to the left but you can, from this point, take a steep and somewhat precarious descent down to Bluepool. Another way of reaching this secluded beach is via the arch visible at the far end which can be approached at low tide only from Burry Holms. Continue along the cliff-top path which later becomes sandy as views open up back to Worms Head. When the path forks take the right fork heading towards the promontory of Burry Holms, the path then dropping more steeply to a rocky area, Spaniard rocks. (2 hrs 15 mins, 7.25 miles, SS 40281/92632).
If the tide is out you can cross over to Burry Holms – there is a good stopping point at the end but remember this area is cut off at low tide. You could also drop down to the beach and head right to reach Bluepool beach via the arch, but, again, make sure you have plenty of time between tides or be prepared to scramble up the cliffs by Bluepool. The return route heads left along a path just before you reach the beach, dropping down to the beach after 50 yards. Head back along Rhosilli beach, a little over 3 miles, passing caravans at Hillend (see Variation 1 and 2 below), just inland from which is Llangennith, and then the isolated building, the Old Rectory. At the far end of the beach take the steps up towards the houses on the top of the cliff, the path bringing you out opposite the car park. (3 hrs 17 mins, 10.48 miles, SS 41455/88083).
VARIATION 1: This cuts out the last stretch of beach from Hillend back to Rhossili. 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.
VARIATION 2: If you fancy the stunning views from the ridge to your left follow Variation 1 but instead of taking the level track, take a steep route up to the top of the ridge to your right and follow it parallel to the beach, passing Sweyn's Howes and St Mary's Parish Church, until it drops down to Rhossili.
Map of this and next section
Rhossili to Oxwich - 12.3 miles
This section is a mix of upper and lower cliff walking with the odd minor scramble as you cross the valleys that head down to the sea. Be careful when walking on the limestone rock which can be slippery when wet and when walking near the cliff edge which can be precipitate.
From the Rhossili car park entrance head through the car park and at the bottom take the tarmac path which passes toilets and then a National Trust shop on the left, heading towards Worms Head with Rhossili sands to your right. When the track curves to the left, keep ahead across a wide grassy stretch towards a small, stone building - the old Coastguard Lookout building. You will find tide timetables posted in the windows if you are planning to cross over to Worms Head but note that there it is only safe to do so a couple of hours either side of low tide. (15 mins).
Now head left along a grassy path between gorse, the path meeting a wall on the left. (For several miles now the path heads along the cliff-top never too far from a wall on the left. You will often see paths off to the right which may simply take you out to headlands from which you will have to return to pick up the main route.) The path descends, Fall Bay and then Mewslade Bay ahead, and when it splits you can take either route, the lower one narrower and more precipitate but allowing access to the beach at the far end. Beyond the bay the path ascends and crosses the limestone rocks. After a while the path descends and heads inland. Look out for a narrow path dropping steeply to the right at SS 42205/87476 taking you down to the valley bottom where you will see a stile and large limestone block beyond. (45 mins, 2.3 miles).
After the stile, take the path to the right of the limestone block to resume the clifftop route. After a couple of stiles the path descends steeply into another valley with a gentle scramble up the far side over limestone to resume the cliff top route. At the top of the next valley where you see a wooden gate, take the path to the right of it over the fence, the stone wall on your left. A narrow stile in a stone wall is followed by a small valley with a metal and wood stile. On a clear day you should be able to see Lundy Island on the horizon to your right. The path skirts round the head of another valley. (SS 44694/85642). Cross a wooden stile by metal gate, then another to the right of a metal gate, the roof of a house now appearing ahead. Cross a wooden stile to the left of a metal gate which brings you to the top of another valley. (SS 45452/85266, 1 hr 46 mins, 5.64 miles).
From Long Hole looking East on left and West on right
30 yards after the stile head right down a grassy path along a steep-sided valley towards the sea. At the bottom you are at Long Hole cliff. Take the stile to the left where a wall meets a wire fence and head along with the sea on your right. Cross a wooden stile then head left following the waymark direction up some steps to meet another broader path where you turn right. The path continues along the coast, skirting to the left of another bay, Overton Mere, which is accessible. At the far end of the bay cross a stile at the right-hand end of a stone wall and continue around the base of the cliff. Where the path splits follow the main track uphill, continuing along the top of the cliff towards a granite monument, from where there are fine views. The ruined building below you is the old Salt House, once used for extracting salt from the sea. (SS 46742/84454, 2 hrs 15 mins, 6.97 miles).
Left, the Salt House. Centre, looking East towards Horton. Right, from Horton looking back.
From the monument head inland along grassy tracks which wind through the gorse, then joining another path where you head right. The path drops down towards a building, part stone and part white, which is the Youth Hostel. A steep descent brings you to a track where you turn left, through some trees and at the next junction turn right, downhill, pass between two wooden gates to emerge by the Youth Hostel on the edge of the beach. A short way inland from here is the village of Port Eynon. Unless you are visiting the village, head left along the beach - or take the route just above the beach - leaving it towards the far end by a prominent white post on the edge of the dunes. Pass the RNLI building, then turn right so you pass the building entrance on your right, heading across a grassy area to meet a road. Head right along the road, houses on your left. Where the road ends take the footpath to the right, through a wooden gate. The path is at first hedge-lined then opens up and continues just above the shore for several miles, tall cliffs to your left with occasional small beaches and bays to your right, crossing numerous stiles and a couple of plank bridges. Ahead is Oxwich Point and as you approach it the path starts to ascend then levels, curving around the headland and then heading inland with the wide sands of Oxwich Bay becoming visible along with views all the way down the coast of Glamorgan. A stile brings you into Oxwich Nature reserve. After steady progress towards the beach the path starts to climb, then descends and after a tantalising glimpse of the beach through the trees, heads left again, uphill. The path winds to the top via a couple of flights of steps with a field visible to your left plus trig point. The path re-enters the woodland then meeting concrete steps crossing ahead. Turn right down around 250 steps to the bottom where you turn left, passing the church of St Illtyd on your left, along a path which becomes a road with the Oxwich Bay Hotel on your left opposite which you reach a gap in the stone wall on the right giving access to the beach. Keeping stright on brings you into Oxwich. (SS 50211/86331, 4 hrs, 12.32 miles.)
St Illtyd's Church
Map of this and previous section
Oxwich to Caswell Bay - 9.05 miles
This section is a mix of beach and cliff-top, less remote than the last section, and passing the more popular Gower beaches.
Looking back along Oxwich Bay
Head along Oxwich sands noting on your left the beach-side buildings including a shop selling ice-creams and teas in season and a toilet block. There is a long stretch of sand but how far you can get along the beaches depends on the tides with prominent cliffs projecting into the sand and preventing further progress. The route assumes the tide is in but if it is not you can get potentially to two further beaches and when you can go no further take one of the many sandy paths up to get back on the cliff-top route. With the tide in, leave Oxwich beach around SS 52223/87799 some 200 yards this side of the first rock face and take any sandy path which brings you to the cliff-top, then head right along a path. (SS 52456/87953, 38 mins, 1.86 miles).
3 Cliffs Bay looking East at left, West at right with Oxwich beyond.
Cross a stile on top of the first headland, Little Tor, and continue on cliff path. Just past a stone building on right continue to take a path which skirts round the top of the cliff avoiding paths which head inland to the left or down to the beach on the right. The next headland is Great Tor. The path skirts round with fine views before heading inland. 200 yards past a large mound on the right take a sandy path which descends to the beach on your right, Threecliff Bay. As you descend look ahead to note the stream, the Pennard Pill, which runs across the beach. In Summer, after dry weather, you can ford it as it may only be a few inches deep. In Winter and after rain it may be a couple of feet deep in which case approach it from the left and cross by the stepping stones. Head for the far end of the beach by a warning notice where sandy paths head up the cliffs. Struggle up towards the left of the paths, briefly onto a boardwalk, and at the top head right to intercept a major boardwalk and head right along it as it again skirts round the headland, the golf course to your left. The boardwalk descends into a sandy valley - at the bottom, cross (SS 54141/87898) and ascend the far side to get back on the cliff top. Note: heading left along the main boardwalk would have brought you to Pennard Castle.
Pennard castle left. View from castle down to the meandering Pennard Pill, right.
Continue left along a flat, grassy stretch, heading towards some houses. You can either walk along a tarmac lane in front of the houses or continue along the grassy/stony paths to the right of it. When the road curves left by a car park - continue straight ahead across the grass and then, when the road rejoins from the left, either go along it or take the cliff-top paths on the right. The paths and road eventually converge as the housing on your left thins out and at a bend in the road you come to Hunts Farm. (SS 56468/87155, 1 hr 53 mins, 5.6 miles)
Just past Hunts Farm take the footpath signposted to the right which descends and then ascends. Continue along the cliff top with the remains of a stone wall to your left. On the far side of the headland, Pwllldu Head, the path starts to descend with fine views ahead of Pwlldu bay and Caswell Bay beyond. The path become a stony track (muddy after rain). At SS 57228/86616 by a waymark post look uphill to the left where you will see a wooden stile. Cross this and follow the footpath signs to cross another stile, through a field to a metal gate with stile on left, into woodland and then a metal gate by buildings on the left. 30 yards beyond take the vehicular track descending to the right. Just before a gate marking the entrance to a house take the path to the right that descends towards Pwlldu beach, becoming sunken in places. The track emerges opposite a garden wall. Head left and just beyond the end of the wall left again towards a footbridge. Cross this and keep ahead on the path, the stream on your right. Join a track and head uphill. (SS 57411/87232, 2 hrs 25 mins, 7.25 miles).
Footbridge at Pwlldu, left. Pwlldu Bay, right.
As the views open up to your right take the waymarked footpath down to your right which then skirts to the left above the beach. Keep ahead as you cross a path heading right down to the beach. After a stile, the path gradually ascends before curving inland with Brandy Cove on your right. Cross a stile with the path curving round the top of this small bay before continuing along the coast. The path eventually curves inland with the beach and buildings of Caswell Bay becoming visible. Keep on the main path (in 2005 the path down to the beach on the right was closed for safety reasons) to the left of the buildings to emerge on a road with buildings either side. Head along this to reach a busier road and head right down into Caswell Bay. This road eventually reaches a car park by the beach with toilets, a telephone box and refreshments (in season). (SS 59339/87717, 3 hrs 5 mins, 9.05 miles)
Map of this and next section
Caswell Bay to Mumbles - 4.97 miles
Typical cliff-path view, between Caswell and Mumbles
Take the stony cliff path behind the ice-cream buildings heading towards the sea signposted Langland Bay and Mumbles. After a few hundred yards you will see a footpath sign up some steps to the left heading uphill. Our route carries on along the path but you can take this footpath if you want to gain some height. At the top turn right to skirt round the cliff top with the golf course on your left before dropping back down just before Langland Bay. Otherwise stick to the main path which eventually curves inland towards Langland Bay. If the tide is out you can drop down and cross the beach to the far end. Or stay on the main path which passes in front of the beach huts until half way along the beach you get to the Langland Bay Resort Office, behind which are some toilets. (SS 60762/87428, 32 mins. 1.67 miles).
Left, looking towards Langland Bay. Right, looking back at Caswell bay.
Continue along the path which takes you past a large apartment block under construction in 2005 via a covered walkway. Then turn right to emerge on Rothers Tor beach - the Rothers Tor cafe and restaurant is open for much of the year and there are toilets here. Take the clear cliff path again around this headland, the path eventually reaching a road. Carry on along the pavement passing Bracelet Bay and then a car park on the right with more toilets by the large restaurant complex. This takes you to a second car park. At the far end where the road on your left curves sharply to the left turn right onto a small car park and at the far end drop down some steps with the Mumbles Pier below you. (SS 62997/87411, 1 hr 11 mins, 3.87 miles)
Left, the 'mamelles' and lighthouse. Right, the pier with Swansea Bay beyond.
At the bottom are more cafes and toilets. Turn left to head through a car parking area with the vast expanse of Swansea Bay ahead and to your right. Keep ahead along what becomes a promenade with pubs and cafes in increasing evidence to your left. Oystermouth Castle can be seen above the buildings. Pass Tivoli Amusements on your left and a large toilet block brings you opposite the centre of Mumbles and the end of the Gower Coast path. (SS 61643/88190, 4.97 miles, 1 hr 32 mins)
If you wish to return to North Gower from here, keep ahead along the promenade for another 1.7 miles. Just after a Texaco Garage and before a Shell Garage cross the main road to follow the waymarked Millennium Cycleway, by Deren Fawr road, which takes you all the way to Gowerton. If you are carrying on along the Glamorgan coast keep going along the promenade to Swansea. A route to get you to Porthcawl will follow on this website at a later date. A short way beyond the toilet block is a bus stop.
Map of this and last section