Rhossili Bay & Worms Head
Rhossili Bay is the most westerly bay on the Gower peninsula and bears the full might of the Atlantic swells. It is the most consistent surfing beach on Gower, with the biggest waves at the north end at Llangennith. It is a dramatic environment with Rhossili Downs towering above the vast expanse of beach that stretches three miles. Heading west along the cliff path towards the end of the peninsula there is Worm's Head, a mile long serpent-like promontory jutting out into the ocean. Access to the beach; a good path leads down the side of the cliffs, but its a steep climb back up to the car park. For spectacular panoramic views over the bay why not walk up Rhossili Downs, the climb and views will take your breath away, but well worth it! WARNING: There is no Lifeguard patrol on this beach, do not swim in big surf as there are strong undertows. Before you walk out onto Worm's Head please check the tide times carefully and allow enough time to get back.
At the western end of Gower, the village of Rhossili, a gateway for walkers and beach lovers, lies above the dazzling sandy crescent of Rhossili Bay. The terrain west of the village is largely owned by the National Trust, and for most of the year there is a helpful NT information centre where important information such as tide times can be found. In the church there is a memorial to Petty Officer Evans, who was born here and perished with Scott in the Antarctic in 1912.
Dylan Thomas portrayed the high, open headland to the west of the village as ‘rubbery, gull-limed grass, the sheep-pilled stones, the pieces of bones and feathers’, and that exactly sums up the low-level ground environment, which, combined with exhilarating seascape, makes for agreeable walking on any sunny day at any time of year. It leads to Worm’s Head (from the Viking wurm, aptly meaning ‘dragon’), two rocky islands joined to the mainland by a narrow causeway accessible only at low tide and to one another by Devil’s Bridge, a narrow neck of rock. On the outer island, which rises abruptly to 200 feet, a booming blow hole throws up water visible from the village nearly two miles away.
From the southern side of the headland there are magnificent views of the South Gower coast to Port Eynon Point, with cove after cove receding into the distance, battered by rolling waves. Below is Fall Bay, with its raised beach of conglomerate shells. Beyond it is secluded Mewslade Bay, dominated by the white limestone pinnacle of Thurba Head, which is crowned by the remains of an Iron Age hill fort.
Rhossili Bay, the largest expanse of white sand on Gower, stretches for three miles to the islet of Burry Holms and is regarded as one of Europe’s great beaches. It is broken only by the skeletal remains of wrecked ships, most notably Gower’s best known wreck, the Norwegian barque Helvetia, which was driven onto the beach in a gale in 1887.
The bay was carved out by the Atlantic Ocean from the imposing Rhossili Down, whose green bulk looms over the whole vast arc of sand. The sandstone Down, at 633 feet the highest point of Gower, is a favourite launching point for hang-gliders. On a clear day there are fine views of Lundy Island, and on a clear evening there are breathtaking sunsets.
© Crown copyright 2017 (Visit Wales)
Photography © Chris Gill Jones 2016