Length: 5 miles — Grade: Leisurely Weather: Damp, breezy
Leisurely 5-mile long circumnavigation of Rhossilli Down, across marshland and along graded tracks, avoiding the steep ascents that take walkers over the top of the Down. Continue reading “Rhossilli Down”→
Length: 7.5 miles — Grade: Moderate Date: 10, 14 January — Weather: Clear, dry, chilly
Moderate 8 mile circular ramble, crossing moorland, encountering Maen Ceti / Arthur’s Stone, incorporating several miles of the Gower Way, along Cefn Bryn — “the spine of Gower” — with wonderful views to both the north and south of the Peninsula, before turning back and passing through Park Woods and returning across the open moorland. Continue reading “Maen Ceti, Cefn Bryn, Park Woods”→
Length: 9.28 miles — Grade: Moderate Weather: Overcast, light rain
Moderate 9-mile ramble, starting from Underhill Park, Oystermouth, through Peel Wood, Newton, Fairwood Common, Bishopswood, Langland Bay, Rotherslade and returning to Mumbles. Encountering a diversity of environments, including suburban, woodland, marsh common land, golf course and coastal path. Continue reading “Clyne Common, Langland”→
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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Date: Sunday 15 November 2015. Weather: Cloudy, light rain, high winds.
N.b. In the text below, square bracketed numbers—e.g. —refer to mile-interval markers, as per map (above) and elevation (below).
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.)