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Visit 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 awards over the last decade. First award was the Best Beach in Wales from the National Trust. Followed by Best Beach in the UK awarded by Trip Advisor. Then came Best Beach in Europe. Finally Rhossili 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. There is a castle, interesting independent shops, pubs, lovely cafes, restaurants, ice cream, a pier and sea front walks.

At certain times of day and year, the Oystermouth Road towards Mumbles from Swansea becomes congested. Hence we avoid it if we can. We prefer to travel a mile or so more on a seemingly quicker route. Initially on the M4 West to the 2nd junction, Towards Fforestfach, Gowertonand then 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. Near Fforestfach on one of the roundabouts is Penyfodau Fawr Farm Shop. A great quick shop for well priced farm vegetables and other local products.

A mile or so before Penclawdd still in open countryside is a restaurant on the left handside. The Rake and Riddle. This may be worth noting for lunch. Or a meal on the return journey. It is a very family friendly and has a large outdoor play area.

At Penclawdd 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 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 10am – 10pm.

From here aim for Weobley Castle. Which is an interesting structure perched above the Estuary, looking over at Llanelli. Below the castle are the salt marshes. Sheep graze this location giving the distinctive taste to the Gower Salt Marsh Lamb. When you call in the Weobley Castle farmhouse to pay for the castle entrance purchase some lamb. Our favourite is the salt marsh 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! The appeal of Rhossili is the wild landscape and miles of sandy beach. On arrival chose which direction to take down the steps and onto the never ending beach. There you can 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. At the extremity of The Worm note the tide times if you chose to venture further onto the rocks. Many groups 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. This gives a great moorland walk over to Llanmadoc. Simply reaching the trig point above the Bay provides stunning views in all directions. Looking out to sea on a clear day in the distance you can see Exmoor. The patchwork quilt of the Gower countryside is behind you. This continues to the distant Brecon Beacons. To the West over the Loughor Estuary in the distance are the Preseli hills. On the distant western coastline on a clear day the pastel painted hotels of Tenby harbour can be picked out.

Back near the car park are a few cafes. We favour the Bay Bistro for coffee , snack or a meal. The food is good. If you sit outside, which is weather dependant there is a magnificent view of the beach below.

To return home retrace the North Gower route. Or aim for Parkmill then along Oystermouth Rd. This skirts around Swansea bay and up the Swansea valley.