Grade C+. 7 miles.
Date: Friday 1 January 2016. Weather: High winds, light rain.
Port Eynon is thought to be named after Prince Einion of Deheubarth or an 11th-century Welsh Prince named Eynon. Eynon is a Welsh surname, evident in the village graveyard. Smuggling is thought to have been a common engagement of the local residents in the 17th century to 19th century. In the second half of the 18th century, through to 1919, a lifeboat was operated from Port Eynon. On several occasions, the lives of lifeboatmen were lost at sea on rescues. A memorial to these men exists in the village churchyard. Port Eynon Point, to the south west of the bay, is the most southerly point of the Gower Peninsula. The bay is part of the designated Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty.
A ramble is an ideal way to begin a New Year. The more so when you’ve set a goal of 100 rambles, as I have done, for 2016. This seven-mile ramble began in the public car park, accessed from the southern end of the bijou Gower village of Port Eynon.
The route begins by traversing the top of Port Eynon Point, ascending to and then from the trig pillar. For the next three miles, it follows the Wales Coastal Path (WCP), passing over the tope of Culver Hole, thought to date from the 13th or 14th century, with connections to smuggling.①
Although Culver Hole itself is not visible from the Coastal Path, the cliffs and coastline generally provide dramatic, engaging views, particularly during blustery conditions, as experienced on this occasion. Further along,② the WCP passes through Long Hole Cliff Nature Reserve (not marked on all OS maps). Along with Port Eynon, this area is considered one of the best places to view significant sea bird colonies. On this occasion my companion and I enjoyed witnessing a noisy pair of oystercatchers, flying and then landing on the rocks below.
At the three-and-a-half mile point, the route turns inland along a footpath marked Pilton Green.④ The remainder of the walk requires careful navigation across farmland, some of which is extremely wet and muddy underfoot. Generally, the way is marked fairly well by footpath signposts and waymarks. There are a number of alternative rights-of-way routes by which to return to Port Eynon.
On this occasion, the road into Overton ⑥ provided a welcome relief from the extremely muddy conditions we had encountered. We continued through the village and then southwards, along a marked footpath that returned us to the Coastal Path just before Port Eynon Point.
This walk is number 1 of 100 I hope to complete in 2016.
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- GPS tracking: iPhone 5; Strava iOS App
- Mapping: OutDoors Routebuilder
- Statistics, elevation, GPX export: Strava