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More than three reasons for a visit.
Three Cliffs Bay (Swansea)
Member Name: QueenElf
Three Cliffs Bay (Swansea)
Advantages: Best view in the world. Unspoilt. Lovely location. Near to other beaches.
Disadvantages: Too steep for some people.
When I first joined dooyoo I did a very long and detailed review on the Gower peninsula, surely still Wales' best-kept secret. Today I was thinking about how much I'd like to be there for bank holiday and looked up a few reviews just to get a feeling for what other people think of the area. Now I'm not criticizing, but there are very few reviews on some of the bays and I thought I'd rectify a few, although it might take me some time. I'm not the fastest of writers and I do know how boring long travel reviews can get. So lets get going.
Three Cliffs' Bay or just Three Cliffs as it's better known, is one of the Gower's most photographed bays on the Gower and it's not hard to see why if you chance on any of the many good websites dedicated to the Gower in general. And just in case you're not sure where the Gower is, it's a peninsula about thirty miles in area and just past the town of Swansea. The popular beaches closer to Swansea are Langland Bay, Caswell Bay and then you go inland a bit and follow the main road towards Oxwich bay, probably the best beach for families.
Three cliffs can be seen if you pull in on the South Road, but be careful, the roads are narrow and winding. Seen from above it's a breath-taking sight and you'll probably be aching to get there as soon as possible. Unfortunately it's not an easy place to reach and the tides can be dangerous on any stretch of the coast, so it's best to plan your route beforehand. If you ever had the pleasure of watching Derek Brockway's programme back about a year ago, you'll remember he tackled this very walk himself, aided by the lovely Kate Hamble of Spring watch fame. It's also a great favorite of Katherine Jenkins.
If you are going by car then you can find car parks at Parkmill, Penmaen and Pennant, though all require walking to get to the beach. It's well worth the walk, but it's not for the faint-hearted and you need to be reasonably fit to attempt it. You can download a map for £2 from the website or buy a local map from any good newsagents or tourist information. I've walked there many times in the past by simply following the many footpath signposts, but I'm more used to the area. One walk is from the village of Penmaen walking down through a woody area to the beach at Pobbles. A flatter walk can be made from the valley bottom at Parkmill, but these are normal national trust walks and not planned routes.
It's really worth the walk when you do get there. I remember watching the programme, 'Weatherman walking' and thinking how wonderful it was and what a spectacular view was had from the top of the cliffs and down through the woods. This is a very unspoilt beach and nestles right at the foot of the cliffs, so you feel as if the arms of the bay surround you. Sunset's here are breath-taking as from here the ocean is the Atlantic and stretches out to the far horizon completely isolated from any shipping lanes. I've sketched here but it's blustery and a better place for sketching is walking to the beach at the Tor, just east of Pobbles beach.
The cliffs here are limestone and date back to the earliest history known to man. In many places caves have been excavated, though many stay as they are due to the danger of working on such fragile rock. Some years ago a whole mining town was swept away by a landslide and you can feel the atmosphere of loneliness as you pass the site, though it's not visible.
On a happier note, the main beach is a good beach for riding and it's not unusual to see lines of horses on a brisk walk or canter from local riding stables. It's a good place for fishing as well, though sometimes mist can isolate it. Three cliffs gets its name from the three crags surrounding the beach area, though it's more a succession of beaches than one. I love the caves on the flat and sandy beach; these go back just a short way and are safe to walk into. However, since the tide comes in quickly you really do need to be aware of the tide times. Last time I went there the public footpath to the beach had the tide times on a post nearby, but its easy enough to check on the news or online.
The Gower hasn't many large holiday camps and this is what makes it so special to me. I don't like to see such beauty spoiled by noisy campers and fairground attractions, so if you want nightlife and still enjoy clean beaches then a stay at Swansea is the best idea.
There is a good camping site in Penmaen though and this overlooks the beach at Three Cliffs. There is a public footpath as mentioned, which takes about ten minutes to walk down. There are no facilities of any kind on the beach so a backpack is an excellent idea to take with you. There are plenty of rock pools to keep your drinks cold and the sand is soft to sit on.
Local attractions are Oxwich bay next to Tor bay and this is the best for families, with a few campsites and caravans as well as lovely holiday cottages. The land around this area is all National trust Nature Reserve, so be aware of this when exploring. Further along is Rhossili, my favorite beach as it's so picturesque I could paint it every day and still see something new. Inland you can find some nice restaurants and quiet pubs with outdoor seating.
The hardest things to put into words are often the best. Three Cliffs has an appeal that's not just visual. It is an experience of being alone with nature, the sea and the sky, the feel of sand between your toes, the lonely call of seagulls and the faint susurration of wind through the sand dunes. Do take a trip if you're in the area, you won't be disappointed even, if you can't walk down you can get the feel of it from the road above and then travel along to a beach with more amenities.
İLisa Fuller 2011.
Summary: Picturesque Pleasure.
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