Grade B. 9 miles.
Date: Sunday 15 November 2015. Weather: Cloudy, light rain, high winds.
Taking into account the autumnal weather, our company of 12 people (7 men, 5 women) seemed to represent a fair turnout, since both 45+ mph winds and rain towards the end of the day were keenly anticipated at the onset. In the event, much of our walk was spent significantly sheltered from the high winds by woodland and trackside hedges. The temperature continued to be unseasonably mild and the rain pretty-much held off altogether.
The ramble began in Reynoldston village, on the green above the King Arthur hotel. It proceeded along the edge of Cefn Bryn common land, through Little Reynoldston and across the main road, towards Mill Wood.
Emerging at one edge of Mill Wood, we enjoyed views of derelict Penrice Castle and glimpsed the genteel Georgian manor house now standing in its shadow. Some of us were intrigued by the disused, but intact trout pond, originally used to keep freshly-caught fish for use in the kitchens of the castle.
Shortly afterwards, we had our mid-morning “coffee break” in the lee of the graveyard wall of Penrice Church. A notice-board pointed out the unusually large porch of the church, as well as an intriguing reference to a “murder grave.” We lamented a once-vibrant Gower village, now almost wholly given over to holiday rentals.
Walking alongside Oxwich Marsh, we could occasionally view a very misty Oxwich Bay, as well as Oxwich Castle, on the horizon. After the steepest climb of the day, , our walk emerged at Hangman’s Cross —a placename that evoked more questions than answers! Lunch was taken shortly afterwards.
The final segment of the journey required some considerable concentration in order to avoid deep puddles and the boggiest sections of traversed fields and green lanes, such as at Puck’s Hollow.
Our final mile coincided with the Gower Way, as we returned, gratefully to ease ourselves out of muddy footwear and into the mirth and warmth of the King Arthur Hotel. A space that we happily shared with a large wedding party, a roaring fire and two young ladies partaking of a Sunday roast, who all of a sudden, found themselves surrounded by a group of noisy ramblers. Not that it appeared to effect their appetite, as it happens.
A satisfactory conclusion to events was brought by a vote of thanks, proposed by Arnold, for the efforts of Huw and Adrienne. (With respect to whom, we can happily report, following drinks, no permanent relational damage was evident, in the wake of the minor difference of opinion about the optimal route, somewhere around the 6 ¼ mile mark.)