Port Eynon (continued)
A series of paths wind their way along the National Trust-owned limestone headland known as Port Eynon Point. Along the way you will pass the Victorian lifeboat station, now a youth hostel, and the newly restored ruins of the old Salt House. Beyond it is the rocky Sedges Bank, an 86-acre nature reserve full of important seashore life. The headland, wild, windy and craggy, affords long coastal views over Port Eynon Bay, west to Rhossili and east to Oxwich Point. The chasm at its tip plunges down to a natural cave, where animal remains were found. Around the headland to the west is Culver Hole, built into a deep fissure in the cliffs. A man-made cave, possibly associated with the long-vanished Port Eynon castle, it appears to have served as a smugglers’ den, armoury and dovecot, and there is supposed to be a lost secret passage under the headland to the Salt House.
   
Prince Ivanhoe - Wrecked 1981


Shipwrecks used to be frequent in this bay, with its fierce cross currents and frequently heavy seas beyond the shelter of the headland. Perhaps the most famous and quite recent was the wreck of the Prince Ivanhoe, a forerunner of the Waverley paddle steamer and Balmoral motor vessel, which still cruise around Gower and the Bristol Channel. On a fine summer afternoon in 1981, the Prince Ivanhoe, with 400 passengers on board, struck a submerged reef off Port Eynon Point and had to be run aground at Horton. The wreck was abandoned and broke up in the winter gales, becoming a hazard to small boats before eventually being salvaged. Two orange buoys still mark the undersea remains of the wreck.

Intrepid walkers will relish the magnificent five-mile walk east along the craggy cliffs to Rhossili, with waves thundering below. This is the most spectacularly wild stretch of coast in the whole of Gower.


Salt House © Neil Collier Photography

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