Discover the stunningly beautiful Gower Coast.
This is an 8 mile stroll through the gentle countryside of North Gower along the Wales Coast Path. It takes you from Llanrhidian and offers spectacular views across Llanrhidian Marsh, famed for its enormous population of wintering birds, its ponies and its salt-marsh lamb. The walk ends in Cheriton and along the way explores Britain’s first designated Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty.
A great starting point, Llanrhidian Church, was built in the 13th century by the Knights Hospitallers of St John. The church tower was a handy high point to site the ‘Parson’s Bed’ a flat platform used for the warning beacon. The villagers used to light the beacon to warn the village of marauding enemies arriving by land or sea. Peek inside the church porch to discover the 9th century Leper Stone. Stout boots can help with muddy bits and stiles.
Near the Wales Coast Path is Weobley Castle, a picturesque medieval fortified manor house. It’s a great place to take photos of the 14th century castle and the views out over the Llanrhidian salt marshes. Want to peek inside? CADW opens the castle year round except for the Christmas period. For a small fee you can soak up the atmosphere and picture the de la Bere family going about their daily lives.
Llanrhidian Marsh and the estuary was used as a firing range during WWII, but are now given over to the more peaceful grazing sheep and ponies. Interestingly the ponies have adapted over the generations to the tides and calmly stand in the rising water waiting for the tide to recede. They make a great photo if you manage to spot one. Don’t forget to check out the tide tables for this area before you set off.
The estuary as a whole is one of the most important wintering areas for wildfowl and waders. The call of the oystercatchers, rings out across the marsh as they fly over it and move swiftly from place to place. The curlew, lapwing and beautiful little egret can all be seen on the estuary busily searching for food. If you are lucky you might even see an osprey passing through at the end of the summer.
The Resource Section below contains a straightforward map of the area. Print it out, mark up your highlights and itinery for the day and head off for an adventure!
For help getting here or to hop around using public transport, Traveline Cymru's journey planner is an invaluable aid. If you have a smartphone or tablet you can download the app from: iPhone or Android. Their journey planner is also available online at Traveline Cymru. Or you can call them on 0871 200 22 33 (calls cost 10p per minute plus 6p connection fee from a BT land line, other networks may differ and mobiles may be significantly higher).
Stop for a well deserved break to try our local Llanrhidian salt-marsh lamb in Llanrhidian, Landimore and Cheriton. This area of Swansea is also well known for its cockles so if you fancy trying them you will find hand gathered ones from the sands of the Gower at the local Swansea Market, which is believed to be the largest covered market in Wales or farmers markets that can be found around the local area.
"This walk covers the tranquil north Gower coast, which is of very different character to the busy and spectacular south Gower coast and has its own special qualities. The walk passes through a quiet and gentle landscape, passing two ancient churches and two small castles, with views across the estuary to the distant Breacon Beacons.
On the adjacent marshland you will see abundant birdlife (including the rare and beautiful little egret), marsh ponies and the salt marsh sheep (which produce the famous salt marsh lamb!). Like most of the Gower coast smuggling was once rife in this area and sections of the coast were intensively quarried for limestone (see the lime kilns at Landimore). However, these days you would be lucky to see anyone else on this peaceful section of the Coast Path in the Gower Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty."
Chris Dale, Countryside Access Team Leader, City and County of Swansea
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