How far is Rhossili Bay?
Many guests at Tan yr Eglwys choose to visit Rhossili Beach, having a fine and very well deserved reputation. It has the accolade of being awarded all of the following over the last decade – the Best Beach in Wales by the National Trust, then from Trip advisor came Best beach in the UK, Best Beach in Europe and featured in the top ten Best beaches in the World.
This beach undoubtedly has great appeal in all Seasons. Personally we shy away from travelling down to Gower via Mumbles, a visit there is best saved for another day if time allows, or possibly return to the cottage via Swansea with the option of a slight detour to Mumbles. Our decision is based on Mumbles being a trip of it’s own, a castle, interesting independent shops, a few pubs, lovely cafes, restaurants, ice cream, a pier and sea front walks. Also at certain times of day and year, the Oystermouth Road down towards Mumbles from Swansea becomes congested, hence we avoid. We prefer to travel a mile or so more, but a seemingly quicker route via initially the M4 West, just to the 2nd junction, on yo Fforestfach, Gowerton, onto Penclawdd and the North Gower Road. Via the Swansea seafront is 29 miles whereas we travel 32 miles, choosing to detour via Weobley castle.
Fortunately SAT NAV now makes our chosen route so much easier to follow, the route around Penllegaer, Fforestfach and Gowerton involves many roundabouts and fast roads. We advise you set the SAT NAV to Penclawdd when leaving the cottages. This takes you down the Swansea valley, then West on the M4 to the Penllegaer junction. Then as you negotiate around Fforestfach, on one of the roundabouts is Penyfodau Fawr Farm Shop – a great quick shop for well priced farm vegetables and other local products.
Continue on to Penclawdd, but a mile or so before Penclawdd still in open countryside is a restaurant on the left hand, The Rake and Riddle. This may be worth noting for lunch or the return journey, as it is a very family friendly and has a large outdoor play area.
Onwards into Penclawdd and stop at the car park which is on the right hand side on a sharp bend. We just love the views from this car park area, there is generally something to watch on the Estuary, be it a moored boat, ponies or sheep.
Recently a further attraction has been added, GG’s at the Estuary (SA4 3YE) is an ice cream parlour ( owned by The Rake & Riddle) and open each day from 10 – 10 each day.
From here aim for Weobley Castle, an interesting structure perched above the Estuary, looking over at Llanelli. Below the castle are the salt marshes where the sheep graze, this location providing the distinctive taste to the Gower salt Marsh Lamb. When you call in the farmhouse to pay for the castle entrance, do ask to purchase some lamb, or also our favourites – the lamb burgers!
After the Weobley detour which we highly recommend, then aim for Rhossili, there’s a choice of parking. As you enter Rhossili, here’s a small church on the right that welcomes parking with an honesty box for payment. Otherwise drive around the corner to the large National Trust car park with a set parking fee.
Rhossili Bay will not disappoint, it is truly jaw dropping! There is little there but the wild landscape and the miles of sandy beach, but that is the appeal. select which direction to take – down the steps and onto the never ending beach, maybe to inspect the wreck of the Helvetia that ran aground there in October 1887. The beach is breathtaking in all seasons, but equally so is the landscape in all directions.
Alternatively walk along the wide clifftop, observing the sheep clinging to the cliff edges. Down at the extremity of The Worm, do note the tidal times if you chose to venture further onto the rocks. Many a group have been rescued, hence the now clear signage regarding the tidal times!
A third direction to take is a walk up onto the heathland behind Rhossili bay, a great moorland walk over to Llanmadoc if so desired, but simply reaching the trig point above the Bay provides stunning views in all directions. Out to sea, in the distance on a clear day Exmoor can be seen, the patchwork of Gower countryside is behind you and continues on to the distant Brecon Beacons whilst to the West over the Loughor Estuary in the distance are the Preseli hills. On the distant western coastline on a sunny day, the pastel painted hotels of Tenby harbour can be picked out by those who know where to look.
Back near the car parka are a few cafes, we certainly favour the Bay Bistro for coffee , snack or a meal. The food is good and if able to sit outside, which is very weather dependant, there is a magnificent view of the beach below.
To return home, retrace the North Gower route back or aim for Parkmill and along Oystermouth Rd and skirt around the bay and up the Swansea valley. or chose to visit any of the many other beaches along the South coastline, all differing in character.