Llangennith (continued)
The outstanding natural feature is the delightful islet of Burry Holms, cut off from the mainland at high tide and covered with wild flowers through spring and summer. Seabirds swoop over its sheer cliffs and rugged promontories, and there are tremendous views of Caldy Island, Tenby, Rhossili Bay and Worm’s Head. An Iron Age earthwork separates the western end, where once stood a five-acre fort, from the rest of the island, and Mesolithic flints and remains from the Bronze Age were found here. Remains of a monastery constructed on the landward end of the island during the Middle Ages can also be seen.

Popular with surfers, campers and caravaners, the northern half of Rhossili Bay is locally called Llangennith Sands. The swell of the Atlantic Ocean reaches this part first before driving on through the Bristol Channel to the rest of the Gower beaches, making this the best area of Gower for surfing and wind-surfing. The engines of the paddle-steamer City of Bristol, wrecked here in 1840 with the loss of twenty-seven lives, are exposed at low water of spring tides.

Whiteford Burrows, north of Llangennith, is a peninsula reaching north into the Burry Inlet of the Loughor Estuary. The Burry Inlet is an important wintering area for large numbers of birds and is the largest continuous area of saltmarsh in Wales. Much of the peninsula is a National Nature Reserve and a Site of Special Scientific Interest.

East of Llangennith and then north is the village of Cheriton, whose 13th-century church is generally regarded as the most beautiful of the Gower churches, with good Early English arches. On the eastern slope of Llanmadoc Hill, a little west of Cheriton, is The Bulwark, a large National Trust-owned Iron Age earthwork fortification. Alas, the full grandeur of the intriguingly complex structure is only visible from the air.

Llangennith © Chris Gill Jones 2002

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