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Rhossili Headland Walk

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Rhossili Headland Walk – Gower

A pleasant stroll on the wide gravel cliff top paths that overlook Rhossili bay and Worms Head - Famous for its spectacular sunsets! If you're only in Gower for one day, this is one place you should definitely make the effort to get to.

Distance covered: 0.75 miles
Average time: 20 minutes
Terrain: Easy underfoot, almost flat, and suitable for pushchairs and wheelchairs.

Directions & Gallery

Directions:

Follow the south Gower road (A118) to the village of Scurlage and turn right onto the B4247 for Rhossili. Follow the road through the village and park in the large car park next to the Worms Head hotel (SS 41410 88139). You can't miss it.

Walk to the seaward side of the car park and pass through one of the gaps in the wall onto the lane on the other side. Turn left and follow the lane out thorough the gates towards Worms Head.

The view of Rhossili bay over the three miles to Burry Holms at the Llangennith end of the beach is breathtaking. If you have sharp eyes you should just make out the wreck of the Helvetia, an oak barque wrecked here on the 1st November 1887 and now reduced to a series of heavy wooden spars stretching from the sand a little way down the beach. The Helvetia was sheltering in the bay during a gale but as nightfall approached she dragged anchor and had to be abandoned. By morning the ship was wrecked and her cargo of 500 tons of timber was strewn along the beach.

Follow the path until you reach the old coast guard lookout above the Worms Head causeway.

The name 'Worms Head' is a corruption of the Old Norse word for Dragon - apparently what this headland looked like to the invading Norsemen as they arrived at Gower from the sea.

Walking on The Worm itself:

If you feel tempted to walk out to Worms Head itself, bear in mind it is very easy to get cut off by the tide. The causeway is exposed for a maximum of 2.5 hours either side of low tide and the worm is about 1 mile long, so it will take you well over an hour to walk directly out and back without stopping. If you do find yourself trapped on the island don’t attempt to swim or even wade back across the causeway - strong swimmers have lost their lives doing just that because the tide and currents are exceptionally powerful here. The only safe thing to do is to wait for tide to drop again. If that gives rise to other concerns, use your mobile to speak to the coast guard.

Having given the necessary warning, I have to say that walking out on the head is an unforgettable experience and well worth planning. Also remember that the outer head is closed at the beginning of the summer to protect the breeding sea birds.

Rhosssili Church:

When you get back to the village, the local church (St Mary’s) set next to the car park is worth a visit.

St Mary's dates back to 12th Century, replacing an earlier church which is thought to have been in existence from the 6th century that was set at the bottom of Rhossili Downs. It reportedly fell foul to the ravages of powerful storms during the 13th century and resulted in the new church and village being constructed at its present location away from the encroaching sea and sand. The church is entered through a beautifully ornate carved archway very typically Norman. On the left hand pillar there is a rare scratch sun dial. There is good evidence to suggest that the archway was scavenged from the original church. In the chancel you will find an original 14th Century window, known as the “leper’s window” – it is set low so as to allow the feared lepers to hear the word of the scriptures from outside! Also have a look at the memorials in the nave - they include one to Petty Officer Edgar Evans, a Rhossili man who died with Captain Scott in the Antarctic in 1912.

Interesting further evidence of the presence of the Normans in Rhossili is the rare 12 century open field system known as 'the Vile' which stretches from the church all the way out to the headland next to Worms Head.

Map