A woodland and moorland walk, well off the beaten track. Ideal for getting close to some of the area's wildlife and interesting ecology. Interesting historical sites and a good pub to catch some food in before the bus home. (See www.traveline.info or pick up a timetable at the house for the latest bus times.)
For those of you not staying with us, you are welcome to use this walk but as there are no rights of way through the grounds, please just park at the forestry car park in Green Cwm and pick up the trail from there.
Distance covered: 5.2 miles Average time: 2.5 hours Terrain: Easy under foot.
Directions & Gallery
Directions from the B&B:
Walk down the tarmac driveway from the house as if you are heading for Parkmill. Follow the drive down into the woods keeping your eyes pealed for the old lime kiln at the side of the first pull in.
When you reach the grassy valley of Green Cwm turn left pass through the kissing gate and follow the track until you see the Giant’s Grave on your left hand side.
Giant’s Grave is a Neolithic (4000-3000bc) tomb belonging to the so-called Severn-Cotswold group. The burial site was first located in 1869 when it was plundered for stone and re-excavated in 1960-61 by R J C Atkinson. Bone fragments belonging to 40 individuals have been recovered. All were adults except for three, also discovered were two rims of Neolithic pottery. Take a look at the rounded stones on the southern corner of the tomb, it is thought the stones were washed by a river which once ran along side the tomb but which has found its way underground into the limestone rocks below.
On the opposite side of the valley you will find a beautifully restored lime kiln and a little further up the valley (approx 150yds) on the right hand side a path will take you up the valley side to Cat Hole cave.
In 1968 excavations of this cave yielded flint blades suggesting occupation during the last ice age, while human remains indicated use later in Mesolithic times and the bronze age. More recently in 2010 archaeologist Dr George Nash discovered at the rear of the cave rock art which has since been proven to be over 14000 years old making it the oldest cave art in Britain if not in western Europe. For more information on the Cathole cave rock art Gower please follow the link.
Continue along the track and through the crossroads next to the old gamekeepers cottage. About 100m after the crossroads you will see a track forking off to your left - follow this track - it takes you to Lodge Cwm.
Its name comes from the old Lodge farm which was once situated at the head of the valley. All that remains of the farm are some ruined walls in the wood. Also near the top of the wooded part of the valley is an old lime kiln on the right hand side of the path. Behind the kiln there used to be an old lunch house used by the gentleman who shot game in the woods back in the days when the Vivian family owned the estate. If you look carefully at the rock face behind the kiln, you will just make out the black soot still staining the face where the chimney was built into the rocks.
When you reach the end of the Cwm you will cross a stile into the farmland then you should follow the field boundary down the right hand side of the field - keep the strip of woodland on your right until you meet a farm track which crosses the wooded strip, then follow it to the opposite side of the wooded strip. Turn left again, keeping alongside the boundary of the wood until you emerge onto Cefn Bryn common.
Once out on the common, walk to and cross the main road, then turn left and follow the road up onto the ridge of the hill.
After about half a mile you will come across Broadpool - a shallow acidic pond rich in wildlife. It's notable for the presence of the fringed water-lily, thought to have been introduced to the pond in around 1952. The aquatic vegetation is dominated by Flote-grass but you will also find other rare plants such as Lesser Marshwort and Alternate Water-Milfoil here, along with amphibians, dragonflies, damselflies, and a wide variety of birds.
Continue up to the top of the hill and you will find a car park on your right. It is worth taking a 10 minute detour here to visit Arthur’s stone or Maen Ceti. Just follow the wide grassy track at the back of the car park along the ridge of the hill for about 350m until you come across the stone.
Arthur’s stone or Maen Ceti is one of over 200 cairns located on Cefn Bryn. It is composed of a huge lump of quartz conglomerate over 4 metres long and 2 meters wide, and weighing over 25 tons. It is thought to be a Neolithic chambered tomb for the communal burial of the dead. In the past, the stone attracted visitors from far and wide. Records show that Henry VII’s troops, having landed at Milford Haven en route to battle at Bosworth Field, made a 128 kilometre detour to visit the stone. In the 16th century the site was listed as one of the “three mighty achievements of the Isle of Britain ” (the other two being the Stonehenge and Silbury Hill monuments). The tomb was however not excavated until 1870 by Sir Gardiner Wilkinson. It later became one of the first sites to be protected under the Ancient Monuments Act of 1882.
Despite its early fame, we now understand that the tomb is not quite the engineering feat that it first appears - it is actually a glacial erratic, deposited here randomly by the glaciers. Neolithic man merely excavated beneath the stone placing 12 upright stones to support its weight and creating the two chambered tomb.
The stone has many legends associated with it. The most famous explanation for its being is from the legend of King Arthur, who, whilst travelling in Carmarthenshire, discovered a pebble in his boot and threw it across the Burry estuary, landing many miles away on the ridge of Cefn Bryn. Apparently the stone grew some what as it flew! Legend also has it that on occasions the stone will find its way back down to the Burry estuary to quench its thirst.
Another favourite Gower folk law is that on a full moon, young maidens would make an offering of cake baked from Barley meal and honey, before crawling around the stone on their hands and knees. If their boy suitor appeared before they had finished their final circuit, it was proof that he would make a faithful husband.
Once you have finished exploring the stones, continue along the main road in the same direction as before. As you finish descending the steep part of the hill, you will see a lane turning off to your left and next to it there is a bus shelter. From here you can catch the bus back to Penmaen. Ask the driver to let you off at Penmaen church.
When the bus pulls in at Penmaen, walk up the lane on the left which the buss just passed as it pulled in. Continue up the lane, past the church, and turn right down the gravel lane immediately after the cattle grid. Follow the lane, always bearing left, until you come across a green farm gate. Cross the stile next to the gate and follow the track down through the woods and across the fields. Go straight through the crossroads with the lake on your left and back down to the house.
Parc Le Breos House