The most westerly tip of the gorgeous Gower Peninsula, near the city of Swansea, provides a stunning setting for an early spring stroll. This short, easy walk boasts dramatic geology, fascinating history and a wealth of wildlife.
From Swansea station, there are regular buses to Rhossili, where you can begin your walk.
Start the walk at the National Trust shop (just a short distance from the bus stop) in the village of Rhossili. From here, head towards the headland on a flat, gravelled path which is suitable for most wheelchairs, mobility scooters and pushchairs. Below you, the golden sands of Rhossili Bay curve gently north for three miles. At low tide, the wooden skeleton of the vessel Helvetia, shipwrecked in 1887 by the bay’s powerful tides, can still be clearly seen.
Along the way, you’ll notice a series of mounds and dips to the right-hand-side of the path. These are the remains of an Iron Age hill fort, known as Old Castle Camp. Where the surfaced track bears left, take the wide, grassy path ahead of you instead – this leads up to a Victorian coastguard lookout (still in use) and the best views of Worms Head. This long, narrow, tidal island (which takes its name from a Nordic word, ‘wurm’, meaning ‘serpent’) snakes out to sea and is only accessible (with care) around low tide (check the noticeboard for crossing times). Seals sun themselves on the island’s rocky shoreline while kestrels, peregrines and choughs patrol the cliff-tops.
From the lookout, you can either retrace the mile you’ve just walked by taking the gravel track back to the start or carry on (along paths unsuitable for wheelchair users and buggies) to complete a 3½ mile circuit of the headland. To continue, take the path that runs alongside a dry-stone wall before heading back inland.
The area inside this boundary wall is known as ‘The Vile’ and is one of the best surviving examples of a medieval farming system in the country. The small fields, divided into strips by banks and hedges, are home to a wealth of wildlife – look (and listen) out for singing skylarks, colourful spring wildflowers and early-emerging bees and butterflies. A series of newly created footpaths criss-cross this maze of meadows – the names of which (like ‘Linseedland’, ‘Withyland’ and ‘Limedland’) provide clues to the types of crops that were grown here or the way the fields were managed. Once you’ve explored this fascinating patchwork of farmland, follow the paths (indicated by yellow arrow waymarkers) back to Rhossili village.
Getting there: Take the GWR train to Swansea station. Regular bus services run from here to Rhossili.