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My title is inspired by a Dylan Thomas poem, Wales best loved poet and author of the wonderful 'Under milk wood.' But the review is on one of my best-loved beaches, Rhossili on the Gower Peninsula. The line that made me think of light is from a poem about the seasons and is better known by the line-'the boys of summer', documenting his reminiscences of youth. Thomas was born in Swansea and spent many years in this area of Wales, with the Gower beaches some of his favorite places to walk, write or merely think.
Around this time of year I am like Bilbo from the book 'The Hobbit', I feel the lure of faraway places and long to do as he did, to open my door, walk into the road (not literally) and see where it takes me. Unlike the famous hobbit I know where I'd go and Rhossili would be my first stop. This glorious beach is one of the furthermost beaches on the Gower Peninsula and one of the most difficult to get to on foot, as there is nowhere to park except for a car park at Middleton on the top of the cliff overlooking the bay.
To get here is easy enough on a weekday, though liable to much heavier traffic on the weekends. This past of the coast is all part of the National Park and has only one large road the M4118 that runs through the peninsula from it's start in Swansea to the tip at Port Eynon. To get further along to Rhossili and the other smaller beaches there are mainly minor roads that often peter out into cart tracks. It's best to leave the M4 at junction 42 then follow the coast through the town and turn onto the Gower road just before you reach the Mumbles. It can be a bit confusing but do stop and ask if you are lost, Welsh people are very friendly and usually know their way about. A sat nav will take you by the shortest route, but this won't always be the most direct or the best road route.
The road to Rhossili ends at the top of the cliff so you can't get lost. There are a few shops, a post office and a car park, but little else except for the most amazing views you are likely to see in a lifetime. Forget the sun-washed beaches of the Caribbean; the weather here can be just as warm and the sea a multitude of colours depending on the season. For water sports you can't beat it. The surfing waves are spectacular, the gliding from the cliff tops adventurous and the prices are much cheaper than anywhere else. Since the beach is washed by the waters of the Atlantic the sea is often rough and care needs to be taken. The beach itself is three miles long with high-backed dunes towering over the beach and many small pathways running down them. There is one that's partly paved, but this is rural Wales and is loved for its unspoiled beauty. We want to leave it that way and allow others to share our good fortune in having such bounty in so small an area.
The Gower itself is a haven of beaches, from the small and tucked away, to the grandeur of wide windswept sand and tall cliffs. This is definitely elfish country, along with Dragon lairs and looming castles. But Rhossili is the jewel in the crown.
Loved by walkers, painters, poets, writers, dreamers and lovers, what else can we offer? Light that seems to come from all around you, light without a visible source on days when the sea is shrouded by mist. Light that picks out the white-tipped waves as they crash far from shore on a journey from the far reaches of the world.
Walk up to Worm's Head, a mile long rocky promontory a short walk from Rhossili and marvel at the sight of the ocean reaching far away and read the miles on a signpost there which tells you that Land's End is in one direction and dead ahead lies North America- amazing to imagine. Climb across the causeway at Worm's head but beware of the tide, it's only passable at low tide. Marvel at the splendor of Devil's bridge and the Blow Hole, through which the sea crashes through with a mighty roar as from a dragon. Indeed, Worm's Head itself looks from a distance much as a sleeping dragon would appear from the shore. The sunset's here are awesome, almost impossible to describe. When night falls there is only the distant lights of small houses and cottages perched far away on the cliff edges and the glow of natural light making the outline of Worm's Head eerily reminiscent of a fairytale or a horror story depending on your imagination.
This is a place to lose yourself in. To rest, relax and be yourself. To walk along the sea's edge at sunset when the tide is gentle and the waves lap at your bare feet. Or smell the wonderful aroma of beef burgers and hot dogs along with coffee aromas not from a stand, but from groups of like-minded explorers or families camping out and having a barbeque on the beach. Right away your everyday cares will vanish and you'll sleep well that night. It's a tonic in itself.
In the summer the weather here is usually mild, but can be stormy as well, so it's better to be prepared for all eventualities. Children splash in the sea at high tide and look into the rock pools at low tide, but generally this is very much an adult beach. It's hard to carry children's belongings down the paths and a cooler bag is a must for picnics on the beach. There is literally nothing here except nature in all her glory.
Swimming here is challenging yet invigorating, surfboarding or windsurfing is excellent, and sailing is more dangerous. Better to find a local who will take you out but boat trips are not an attraction on this beach.
Autumn rears her lovely head crowned with wild bloom, Golden Samphire and ox-eye daisies while the cliffs are bright with late gorse and heather. Winter brings gales and the stunted trees show that this is no quiet seaside retreat, but a force of nature, a wild and windswept seascape that I never tire of seeing in any season.
One place brings the power of the sea close to mind as the church at Rhossili has a memorial to Edgar Evans, a local who died on Scott's ill-fated 1912 expedition to the South Pole. But we who live near to the sea expect such daring from the 'sons of the earth', those Welshmen who sailed on great journeys and went by land or air on other great adventures. Maybe the greatest adventure of all is looking inside one's own soul and allowing the beauty that is ours to inspire great works or little, whether painting, poetry or any other artistry. Just look on any website dedicated to the Gower and you'll see photographs that will inspire you to visit this lovely area and Rhossili in particular.
I have left out most references to other places in my review. The beaches here are so near to each other that you could find them easily. I wanted to write a personal review as well, a reason why I love this part of my homeland and why I would recommend it to anyone who wants to see some lovely country and seascapes. But for the practical among us there are lots of holiday cottages based around the area. But don't expect to find a lot of nightlife, for that you need to stay in Swansea and visit for the day.
Bring your camera and/or sketchbook, you'll need it.
I have lived close to Rhossili bay for most of my life and i have to say its one of my favorite beaches.
Located at the western most point of the Gower peninsula in South Wales this bay stretches from the north of the peninsula all the way to the south. The Village of Llangenith is at the north of the bay and the beach at that end takes its name.
Rhossili is the village on the south of gower and again lends its name to that end of the beach. The beach is 4 miles long, and is bracketed by the island of Burry Holmes on the north side, to the world famous spit of Worms Head to the south. Both are accessable by foot at low tide, across causeways exposed, although you will have to be sure to cross back before the tide comes in. If someone is stranded on Worms Head then air rescue is summoned, with the bill often being passed to the person being rescued - and no doubt that doesn't often come cheap!!
The beach is a sand one and is popular with locals and tourists alike. the entrances next to the car park can get busy in the summer, although a short walk will find you ample space. Car parking is available at both ends of the beach for a small fee, although be prepared to take a short 5 minute walk to get from the car park to the beach. Although there are public buses servicing both villages these are irregular and I would not recomend getting one. There is a camp site at Llnagenith, but they get very busy on bank holiday weekends and during the summer.
There are no on beach facilities - an inconvience or blessing? In my view it would detract from the natural beautyof the area. There are toilet facilities and a cafe at the beach car parks in both north and south of the beach, although with the walk back you may wish to take what you want with you to the beach.
To the north of the beach there are endless sand dunes to explore and for children to play in, and to the south a hill towers above you. Although very steep this can be walked up for the fitter amoungst us, and is worth it for the views from the peak.
Llangenith beach is the top surfing and watersports spot in wales. The waves here are the most regular around the Gower. However there are no lifeguard patrolling the beach so this isn't the spot to leave you children unattended. Local fisherman also frequent the beach and i often see them reeling in their catch of the day. The large beach is inviting for kite surfers and other on land activities also.
Whether your looking to relax and sunbathe, for watersports, a gentle stroll or for scenery this bay has something to offer everyone of all ages. If your in the area this is the place to go.
I can't give this bay anything less than a dooyoo rating of 5 stars.
I grew up in Swansea and Rhossili bay is one place which I always go back to visit again and again. Rhossili is one of the beaches which forms the Gower Penisula. It's located near the village of Llangennith and is very popular for surfing, fishing and walking.
Rhossili bay is a 3 mile long sandy beach and is the most westerly in the Gower. As it's the most westerly, it brings in atlantic swells which makes consistent waves with the biggest of waves the north end of the beach (Llangennith). These waves attract surfers from all over the UK but please be aware that there are no life guards on this beach.
There is a bus service which runs to Rhossili from Swansea town center but this only runs once on hour and stops early on in the evening. If you have a car I would advise driving. There is a car park in Rhossili which costs around £3 to park all day, it's in a field but I've been down many times and never had a problem getting in or out.
A pub/restaurant is situated opposite the car park which does traditional pub grub. There is also the local shop which is on the edge of the car park where you can get small snacks and ice creams but if you plan to go for the day, then it's probably best to take a picnic.
Once you've parked the car you have a few choices of what to do. There is a path leading down to the beach and I have to warn you that it is quite a long steep walk down. It's takes about 20-30 minutes to walk down with concrete steps and some sections a pathway all the way down. If you have a pram this wouldn't really be suitable. Once your on the beach there plenty of room to get your own spot and to play sports, it's so big I've never seen it crowded.
If you feel the walk down to the beach may be a little steep then you can always walk along the Rhossili downs. This is a pathway along the clifftops where you can admire spectacular views - I advise you bring a camera. If you follow the path to the end of the Peninsula (which takes about 30-40 minutes) you come to whats known as Worms Head. Separated from the main land by lots of rocks, this is a long stretch of land which becomes an island when the tide is in. Many walk across to Worms Head but if you wish to do this then you need to check the times of high tide which are on a board at the end of the Peninsula.
Overall, I would definitely recommend visiting Rhossili especially if you love to go out on long walks, surf or fish. With it breathtaking views and beautiful fresh sea air, it's a fantastic day out. If you do visit wear comfortable walking shoes especially if you want to make a trip over to worms head as the rocks over can be slippery. After a day here you'll feel happy and refreshed and with so many other places to visit on the Gower you could make your visit into a short holiday.
Rhossili Bay is a quite stunning beach and headland, including the rocky outcrop called Worms Head which is accessible for a couple of hours a day depending on the tide.
Located about 20 minutes west of Swansea in the Gower Peninsular, I was actually amazed on arrival at this beach at quite how pretty the beach and bay area are. I have never seen such an idylic beach in the UK before and luckily for us the sun was out on the day we visited and with perfect blue skies it really is something else.
You actually drive into Rhossili at the top of the headland and the top of a massive hill. On this levelled out bit of land there is a car park where you can pay a flat fee of £2.50 for the day and which seemed fairly safe with the wardens on patrol by the gate. It is, in effect, a large field but we did not have a problem getting on and off it.
There is a National Trust shop, a cafe, a hotel and a pub which does great food (The Worm's Head) and has panoramic views down over the bay and the headland. It also has a great outside seating area which would be perfect in warm weather. Although the sun was out on the day we visited it was blowing a gale and not overly warm. There are also a couple of mobile food vans and tourist shops selling buckets and spades etc.
To get down to the beach you have to take a long downhill route from behind the hotel which is ok going down (if a bit steep) and very exhausting coming back up. It is about half a mile of uneven ground and very difficult for anyone with pushchairs. Once down on the beach it is soft sand and very flat and the tide, when its out, is quite far away. This beach is very popular with surfers due to the waves and lots of people were enjoying the water when we visited despite it being rather chilly!
The hills overlooking the beach are quite spectacular and incredibly green which makes for a lovely view. There were many people paragliding and hang gliding off the hill above the beach whilst we were there and it was nice to watch them from the pub.
The other way from the hotel and pub leads towards the Worms Head outcrop. On this piece of land there are seals and amazing numbers of sea birds. Once a day you can cross over the causeway that appears at low tide to the headland but you have to be very careful about leaving time to get back.
On the day we were there you could cross from around 6pm and had to be back by 10pm, however, I would not recommend trying to do this journey in the dark as it consists of lots of slippery rocks and is quite difficult to navigate. If you intend on doing it I would suggest very rugged walking boots and for you to be quite agile and fit. Apparently people get stranded quite often on the outcrop and have to be rescued.
There are lots of rockpools down at the Worms Head side of the bay and these contain masses of muscles and snails and apparently crabs although we did not see any. The coastline is rugged and again you have to climb down a steep path to get down to the water, climbing back up is quite strenuous but it is worth it and gives some lovely views.
A great day out if you are in the area, if the weather is good this place is incredibly pretty and offers a lot to experience in the fresh air. If the weather is bad it is still worth a visit, if only to sit in the Worms Head pub and indulge in some smashing food and wonderful views.
Rhossili Bay is a stunningly beautiful 3 mile stretch of sand backed by cliffs in the west of the Gower Peninsula near Swansea. There is a privately owned car park which was £2.50 a day in summer 2009 and toilets, pub, cafe and a couple of shops at the top and there are steps down to the beach which are hard work for the less mobile and fit - and very difficult for those with pushchairs. Once down the sands are quite exposed and the tide goes out a long way. This is a reliable surfing beach although better waves can be found at other Gower beaches.
There is a National Trust visitor centre on the headland and tide times permitting you can walk across the causeway to the Worm's Head although you must leave enough time to get back before the tide comes in and many visitors have to be rescued annually. The scramble over the rocks is quite a challenge and sturdy footwear is highly recommended.
Rhossili Bay is one of the most spectacular beaches on the Gower Peninsula on South Wales, around a 20 minute drive from Swansea. I spent 4 years at University in Swansea and this is one of my all time favourites, which I never tire of visiting.
After the drive on the tiny, curvy country lanes, you are rewarded by a breath taking view of the Rhossili Down, which stretch to the ocean. There is car park for £2 a day, as well as a little shop for any essentials, a tea room, with a divine cream tea. There is also The Worms Head, a pub with the most spectacular views and wonderful food.
If you don't fancy the long, and in places, steep walk down to the beach, have a walk along the cliff tops out towards Worms Head. It can get rather breezy up here, so do take a jacket and wrap up very warm in winter. If the timing is right with the tides, you can walk across to Worms Head, though I would warn to make sure you plan your walk in advance as you can get stuck by the tide and not be able to make it back. It's a beautiful walk and a fairly easy one as it's pretty flat.
If you do go down to the beach, there is often some excellent surf and beautiful sand to relax on. If you continue walking down the beach, you will eventually come to Llangenith, another popular surf spot with a campsite just behind the dunes.
When you look out over the Rhossili Downs, you'll see a lone house, which you can rent out as a holiday cottage. It's owned by National Trust and has the most amazing, unspoilt views. I was fortunate to check the place out and it would be a wonderful place to get away from it all. I warn you though, the waiting list is huge and you have to book around 2 years in advance.
I miss this place and look forward to visiting every time I go back to Swansea. If you're in the neighbourhood, check it out, you will not be disappointed!
While holidaying on the Gower Peninsula we decided to walk along the cliff top at Rhossili to Worm’s Head. The weather was windy with driving rain which heightened the grandeur and wildness of the scenery. We started at the car park (£2.00 for the day) and walked past the old coastguard house – now a National Trust shop and along the cliff top path. The views were spectacular. Below us to the right was the beach with its foaming, pounding waves. There were many surfers enjoying the conditions. The beach itself is a beautiful sweep of golden sands backed by cliffs, above which is heather clad Rhossili Down. We walked on out to the end of the land , across the National Nature Reserve and the site of ancient pattern of medieval field cultivation. At low tide the remains of an old shipwreck is exposed on the sands. Also at low tide the rocky causeway with its rock pools can be crossed to the strange and mysterious Worm’s Head, so named by the Vikings. It was here that Dylan Thomas found himself marooned one day after crossing to enjoy the impressive loneliness and then finding the tide had cut off his return. He had to spend the night on the island. He describes it as an eerie experience. At the very edge of the land stands the original Coastguard’s look out station. Inside is information and pictures of the wildlife and flora of the area. After looking out across the sea to try to see the N. Devon and Somerset coast and also Lundy Island, we retraced our steps. On our return we looked at the Old Castle fort at the side of the path – the site of an Iron Age fort. Back in the tiny hamlet there is a teashop , two cafes and a small hotel. Also there is the 13th C St Mary’s church. Rhossili is well worth visiting.