Walk 16: Three Cliffs Bay, The Gower Circular: Cerdded o gwmpas Y Gŵyr

The ‘Needs to Know’

Distance: 3 miles (4.83 km)

Time to walk: About a couple of hours, but the scenery’s stunning around here & there’s amazing views & beaches to sit on & waves to surf. The walk can be extended to Penmaen if wished

Difficulty: This walk’s mainly across cliff tops, stony tracks  & sandy paths with plenty of ups & downs including some steep sections. If you take your time though it’s not hard – just don’t go too near the edge of the cliffs!!

Parking: In the National Trust car park at Southgate – just head to where the road ends at a roundabout

Public toilets: In the Three Cliffs Coffee Shop at the start & end of the walk. You could also pop into the Golf Club if you’re suitably attired

Map of the route: cc The National Trust. We’ve shown a map of the whole Gower peninsula & the area covered by this walk

We did this walk on a beautiful warm August day & definitely saw The Gower at its best

The Gower is an ‘Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty’ with a variety of amazing landscapes, large sandy beaches, dramatic cliffs & ancient woodlands. The National Trust today owns three quarters of the coastline after, in 1933, committing to preserving it from further development

The Welsh poet, Dylan Thomas, described the peninsula as “one of the loveliest sea-coast stretches in the whole of Britain”…something we can’t disagree with although the Pembrokeshire Coast is also pretty special

There’s a few other Gower photo’s at the end of this walk, but for now let’s explore one of the most photographed areas of the peninsula…the Three Cliffs

Ready? Then Let’s Walk…

1. Our walk starts in Southgate, a small village roughly 10 miles to the west of Swansea. We parked in the National Trust car park which if you follow the road through the village lies at the end of the road, or in this case, a roundabout…

IMG_3645

Have to say that the chap taking the parking fees (free for National Trust members) was a minefield of local knowledge so make good use of him. He provided us with a great free little fold out map of The Gower & suggested this walk too (50p for the leaflet)

Outside there’s a blackboard containing details of all the wildlife that’s been seen in the area recently…plus they want you to add to it…something we were able to do!

One of the birds we were interested in trying to spot was the rare Chough which has recently been re-introduced to this area. There are currently 250 – 300 breeding pairs in the UK. The ‘old boy’ told us where to look & how to listen out for their distinctive call

2. If you fancy a coffee before you start then we can heartily recommend The Three Cliffs Coffee Shop just over the road for excellent coffee & home-made cakes etc. The mini breakfast of scrambled eggs & mushrooms on a warm cheese & smoked bacon scone was awesome. The porridge with honey was pretty spot on too!

 3. It would be too easy just to sit here in the sun & watch the world go by but…we have a stunning walk to do & can always return at the end

Our walk starts on the hard track heading straight towards the sea…

…& at the end of the track we follow the marker & head to the right along the Coast Path…

Some nice properties on the right down here

Some nice properties on the right down here

4. After 100 yards or so follow the grassy path towards the edge of the cliffs…

We’re now walking on the Pennard Cliffs. This is common land which means the local farmers have ancient rights to allow their animals to graze there. These cliffs are known for their rare local alpine flowers such as Yellow whitlow grass

5. It’s here we get our first glimpse of this part of this stunning part of the coast…

The view to the East

The view to the East

Our path lies towards the west…

…& it’s easy to follow…

6. It’s worth keeping the eyes & ears open along here as there’s plenty of wildlife around. The first thing we came across was a kestrel hovering on the edge of the cliffs, swooping down to try & catch its prey…

…& then we heard an unusual call, a mix between a crow & a seagull. Click here to listen

7. And there we go…the distinct red bill & legs of the Chough – a small group of them on the edge of the cliff that wouldn’t let us too close…

Not taken by us

Not taken by us

 8. Atop the next headland we get our first view of the small Pobbles Beach & Three Cliffs Bay – one of the most photographed spots in this area & you can see why. It’s also Welsh singer Kathryn Jenkins favourite spot, although she wasn’t around today…

There’s also a perfectly placed bench to sit & take it all in…

9. Retracing our steps to the main path we now need to head down to the bays & the terrain gets sandy…

It was along here we came across another new friend & he was a biggie!

10. Be careful as we descend the dunes, but the views are getting better & better & there’s an urge to get to the beach…

…& on the right are views over the golf course which we’ll cross later, but look at the colours…

Follow these guys

Follow these guys

& it just keeps getting better

& it just keeps getting more stunning

11. The sandy track now heads steeply down & then up the other side of the valley, although if you fancy a stop on Pobble Beach turn left at the bottom…

Down the valley & then follow the steep path up the other side

Down the valley & then follow the steep path up the other side

The views from here down to Pobble Beach are pretty special & it’s not too far of a diversion down if you fancy a paddle…

…& Three Cliff Bay’s also looking good!!

12. Slightly further on we can see where the Bay gets its name from…

13. Our path now heads over the top of the dunes &, in the distance, we see our next trig point…Pennard Castle…

It’s pretty undulating & sandy round here so step carefully…

…&, after dropping down, follow the signpost to the right…

…before climbing steeply up to the castle ruins…

The view back down to the valley leading into the Bay

The view back down to the valley leading into the Bay

14. The castle’s now ahead of us…

…& the view back to Three Cliff’s Bay gets even better!

If you go down into the valley be careful of the stepping stones as they’re submerged at high tide…

15. Pennard Castle was built between the 12th & 14th centuries probably by Henry de Beaumont, the first Earl of Warwick

If you want to have a sit amongst the ruins then the view’s a bit special…

16. Our route back to Southgate is across Pennard Golf Course which is a true & beautiful wild & windy links. The path is marked by white stones, but be careful of golfers & balls!

Follow those stones

Follow those stones

FORE!!

FORE!!

17. Eventually we come to a crossroads marker where we turn right & carefully make our way across the course towards the clubhouse…

Follow the white stones but be careful...

Follow the white stones but be careful…

It’s interesting that a herd of cattle share the course with the golfers. The greens are roped off but they’re free to roam…

18. Upon exiting safely from the golf course our route back to the start lies back along the main road…

We would have welcomed a thirst quenching pint at the pub, but it didn’t open until later…

Have a look at this link though as it appears to be a fantastic pub run by the community for the community

Follow the road round & back to the cafe & car park where we began our walk

This was our first introduction to The Gower before moving on for a couple of days on the equally stunning Pembrokeshire Coast. In this kind of weather there’s no better place to be so go & explore some incredible scenery & have a beach to yourself!

As a taster here’s a few more snaps of The Gower…

Firstly the Mumbles…

And no that's not me in the buff!!

And no that’s not me in the buff!!

And stunning Rhossili Beach & Worm’s Head…

It’s a beautiful part of this country, but time to move on to the equally stunning Pembrokeshire coast

If you’ve never visited do so &…Go Walk!!

 

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