*The following is a guest post.
Now that the entire coastal footpath of Wales is completely open to the public, it’s easy to harbour hopes of somehow walking the entire 870 miles of it.
For those of us with work commitments and bills to pay, there can sadly be no romantic notion of taking a few months off and completing this Celtic coastal cairngorm at leisure.
So instead most of us will have to make to with snatching a few days here and there, locating ourselves in a homely base (such as Mumbles- see my previous post) and tackling the coast a stretch at a time. While a sunny summer weekend is a perfect time, and indeed was this July when we walked some of the Gower Coast, a crisp autumn day could be just as breathtaking, and may even get you speeding along just that little bit faster to keep warm.
We had a few different, but all beautiful, coastal walks. On day one we started at Oxwich, which may well sound as if it should be in rural eastern England but, honestly, it is in West Glamorgan. Parking on the beach, we headed through the village and slowly up the hillside into the woods and along the path. Oxwich used to be a port which exported limestone and was also a haven for smugglers, but the 21st century sees it as home to outdoor sports aficionados, walkers and families looking for a sandy beach.
After a short woodland walk you will chance upon the church of St. Illtud (also spelt as St. Illtyd)where there has been a church since the 6th century . Today’s church is mostly 13th and 14th century and it the way it appeared to me, unexpectedly through sun kissed woodland was almost a religious experience in itself. A wonderful walk along the cliff tops then awaits, sometimes going down to the shoreline, for as long as you desire. Oxwich Castle is a 1520 Tudor Manor on the hill tops which we planned to divert to on the way back, but the presence of a field with a none too friendly looking bull put pay to that.
Two walks on Day 2 started at Rhossili. A simply staggering view down and along the rolling cliff tops makes you want to skip along the footpath and saunter across the lush grass. The sea and golden sands are to your left and you can then get down to the beach and walk back, getting sand between your toes as you take in the sea air. Back up at Rhossili a second leg will take you out towards Worms’ Head, passing sheep who somehow balance precariously on the cliff edge, ensuring every last strand of grass is explored. This is quite a popular little stretch and with good reason.
Dramatic views out to sea continue when you leave the day trippers to their well trodden route, and you head further around the coast, which looks far craggier now, with rocks and sandy coves below adding to the drama. Were I a geologist I could do this landscape the justice it deserves. But it is simply right up there with the rest of the best of British coastal walks and views .
Join me again in a few weeks when my guest post stays on a Celtic coast line, as we explore the delights of an autumn afternoon in the Cornish village of Polperro.