8 great walks on Gower, South Wales
Our guide to this fantastic section of the Wales coast path
1. Mumbles - Best for… An easy intro
West around the bay from Swansea, the seaside town of Mumbles is the gateway to the Gower Peninsula. Begin with a gentle 5-mile loop around the headland, starting from Mumbles’ fine Victorian pier. Enjoy the views of the Gower coast stretching ahead, the 18th-century lighthouse looming behind. Beyond sandy Langland Bay, veer inland, crossing the peninsula towards the remains of Oystermouth Castle. Then continue along the seafront, diverting into the delightful lanes of Mumbles village for celebratory tea and cake.
2. Pennard Cliffs - Best for… Smuggling vibes
West of Mumbles, the craggy Pennard Cliffs form one of the Gower coast’s most striking stretches. At one end lies Three Cliffs Bay, where folded limestone strata hug a golden beach and a meandering stream. At the other is Pwlldu Bay, once a hotbed of smuggling. Part-way along there’s a National Trust carpark, from which you can walk to both. Start with a loop east to pebbly Pwlldu, via 97m Pwlldu Head (the Gower’s highest cape) and secretive Brandy Cove. Back at the car park, continue west. If the tide is out, you can walk around the namesake three cliffs. Cross the stepping stones over the stream and admire the ruins of Pennard Castle, before backtracking to the start. The whole route is around 8 miles.
3. Port Eynon - Best for… Seabirds and big views
Believed to be named after an 11th-century Welsh prince, Port Enyon is the most southerly point on the Gower. The Youth Hostel here, once the old lifeboat station, is a good starting point for a leisurely 7-mile circuit. Stride west along the coast path, first to Port Eynon Point. This dramatic spot is a wildlife reserve, where you might spot sea campion, spring squill and thrift. In summer, huge numbers of Manx shearwater and gannet may be seen flying by. The walk continues along the cliffs, with multiple lookouts gazing out to Worm’s Head in the distance. The return wends along fields, affording fine views over the Gower’s peaceful interior.
4. Rhossili - Best for… Possibly Britain’s best beach
It’s a big claim, but ravishing Rhossili might be the country’s finest stretch of sand. It’s backed by an imposing moorland ridge, beaten by deep-blue waves and has a dramatic end-of-the-world feel. A 4.5-mile circuit heads north, climbing up from Rhossili village, via the church, to trace the top of the downs. Up here you’ll find prehistoric cairns and burial chambers as well as spectacular views. For the return leg, descend a grassy path, cross the dunes and stride back along the beach. Listen to the breakers crash and keep an eye out for the remaining timbers of the Helvetia, a Norwegian barque wrecked here in 1887.
5. Cefn Bryn - Best for… A walk with backbone
Cefn Bryn, a red sandstone ridge of common land bulging up from the limestone, is the spine of the Gower. The panoramas from up here reach right across the peninsula. This is also where you’ll find Arthur’s stone, which was reputedly thrown here by King Arthur himself. It now marks a Neolithic tomb dating from around 2500 BC. This moderate 11-mile loop traces Cefn Bryn from Hillend Farm, in the heart of the Gower. Just before the village of Penmaen, the trail veers into Park Wood, using sections of Gower Way and Wales Coast Path. En route lie rolling green hills, marshes and mudflats, and the ruined hulk of Weobley Castle.
6. Llanmadoc Hill - Best for… Human intrigue
The marshy coast and rolling countryside around the quiet village of Llanmadoc are superb. But there are also manmade marvels that add extra interest to this 8-mile circuit of the Gower’s northwest. From Llanmadoc, strike out anticlockwise along the coast path, to round Llanmadoc Hill, enjoying views to the sea. Looping round and up, you’ll reach the banks and ditches of the Bulwark Iron Age hill fort, atop the ridge. Soon after lies distinctly more modern Stormy Castle, a 21st-century, architecture-prize-winning vision of concrete and glass. Descend into Cheriton, where a 17th-century packhorse bridge spans the Burry Pill stream. Further on is Glebe Farm, built in the 14th century and believed to be the Gower’s oldest inhabited house. Finish back in Llanmadoc, with its fine church and even finer tea rooms.
7. Whiteford Burrows - Best for… Walking with wildlife
This leisurely 6-mile loop also begins in Llanmadoc, but has a distinctly different flavour. Roaming the peninsula’s northernmost tip, it reveals the Gower at its wildest. This is a place where dunes, salt marshes, coastal forest and tidal creeks merge, and where rare flowers thrive. From the village, hike north through Whiteford Burrows. The National Trust-owned landscape is a vital feeding ground for wading birds and wildfowl. Look out for oystercatcher, knot and golden plover, or even a rare visiting osprey. At the end of the peninsula you’ll see a cast-iron lighthouse, built in 1865, marooned in the shallows. If the tide allows, return along the beach, walking back toward the looming limestone rocks of Cwm Ivy Tor.
8. Gower Coast Path - Best for… Seeing it all
If you have the time, the best walk on the Gower is the one that goes around the lot. Now incorporated into the Wales Coast Path, the Gower Coast Path measures 46 miles, and circumnavigates the entire peninsula. It begins in Mumbles, on Swansea Bay, and swings round to the Loughor River, on the border with Carmarthenshire. There are a few ups and downs, but it’s a largely gentle trail. And the highlights are many. Expect award-winning beaches and hidden coves, nature reserves and clifftops, prehistoric relics, Iron Age forts, medieval castles and pretty villages. If the tides are right, include the walk out to Worm’s Head, the tidal headland near Rhossili.
We’ve got ideas for hundreds more wonderful walking routes across England, Scotland and Wales, long and short, easy and challenging. Search for routes on our website. Or join a guided walk with a local Ramblers group. Find your nearest Ramblers group and choose a walk that suits your pace, fitness and interests.
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