North Gower Coast

Aunty and I are still plugging away at the Wales Coastal Path, and still filling in a few missing bits along the south coast. This time it’s third time lucky with our attempt to complete the North Gower Coast, the last two times were rained off. So as part of our first outing with the caravan this year we left early this morning to catch the bus from Gowerton to Llanmadoc. This was a slightly speculative attempt, not helped too much with a 2 year old bus time table. But the bus turned up and an hour later deposited us at Llanmadoc. It didn’t take us long to reach the coast from here, and this time we had timed it just right. The walk along the edge of the Llanrhidian Marsh had been underwater a little while earlier with the high Spring tide, it could have been very much wetter and less fun.

Looking down through the woodland to the salt marsh – it was a little dicey on the way down.

The path hugs the landward coast allowing wide vistas across the salt marsh to the north. At time very slippery it’s an easy path to follow, and in many places seems to have once been a road with cobbles and stones clearly defining the way. The path passes underneath Weobly Castle sitting perched high on a bluff with panoramic views over the marsh and Loughar Estuary.

Weobly Castle high on the buff overlooking the marsh.

A couple of miles further along we reached Llanrhidian, a pretty village with narrow roads and a lot to interest a geek like me. But Aunty only allowed me a quick look at a couple fo standing stones and the hope to see the Leper Stone. However, the Leper Stone is kept in the church porch and the door was locked – another day maybe. But the two stones are difficult to miss. The larger one was once a Celtic Cross, and it is just possible to see the spokes where the circular section once was. There are also a couple fo metal rods sticking out of the top and it was once used as a pillory. the smaller stone has been recorded in the Parish Records as being raised being raised by 10-20 volunteers to its present position on 8th April 1884. Each of them being rewarded with a pint of beer in the Welcome to Town pub opposite.

The remains of the Celtic Cross, with Llanrhidian Church in the background.

The path continues to skirt around the edge of the marsh towards Penclawdd, once busy with coal mines. In fact the whole areas along this section was once host to a number of mines, but there are no signs for these anymore. It is surprising that so much industry can disappear saving very little trace. After a very welcome cup of tea and a huge slice of Victoria Sponge we struck out on the last stage to Gowerton by following the bed of the dismantled railway line closed in the 1950’s. After 12 miles we staggered back to the caravan ready for a sit down. But this section is now done, eagling only a small section around Port Eynon to complete on Gower. Maybe next weekend if the weather is kind.

A photo an old boat in the marsh is a must.

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