A spectacular walk, taking you through some of the best scenery on the south Gower coast. The route takes you down onto Three Cliffs Bay, before climbing back up onto Tor Head - affording gorgeous views up and down the coast. The route continues at cliff top height to Crawley Woods before dropping down onto the golden sands of Oxwich bay.
The Oxwich Bay Hotel will make an excellent lunchtime stop before you navigate your way along Oxwich Point, all the way to Horton, and finally to Port Eynon beach. There are shops, good pubs and chip shops in Port Eynon village where you can grab a snack, or a welcome pint, before catching the bus back. Text the code 'swamgap' to 84268 and you will receve a text notifying you of the departure times of the next buses back to Penmaen. To check times before you leave timetables are always available at the house or check on www.traveline.info.
Distance covered: 7.5 miles Average time: 3.5 hours Terrain: Easy underfoot, occasional steep path and the infamous steps climbing to the top of Oxwich Point.
Directions & Gallery
Directions from the B&B:
Walk out of the front door of the house and turn right, then across the grassy field until you reach the track at the far end. Follow the track, passing the trout ponds on your right and valley gardens on your left. Immediately after this there is a crossroads – take the track straight on between the fields and through the woods.
At the woodlands end you will cross a style next to a gate, here the track will bear left taking you past a small pink cottage end on to the road and then through a grassy car park. When you reach the tarmac lane turn left over the cattle grid. Look out for Penmaen church on your right.
Now cross the main road and continue for 100m down the lane, take the first and only right turn. Follow the road until you find yourself at the lookout above Three Cliffs Bay.
At the look out you will see a yellow emergency phone - Turn right here, taking the narrow path directly down the hill.
At the bottom keep to the right, cross the stream and climb up the sandy path back onto the cliff top. Here you need to turn right and follow the path - if you keep your eyes peeled you will notice the ruins of a building on the right, these are the remains of the old Penmaen church.
Just before you reach a gate across the path, take the turning on your left and follow it, always staying to the right, skirting the boundary of the fields. The path will take you past a lovely old stone lime kiln and over a stile onto the cliff top path.
Keep following the path until you see a sandy path dropping down on your left. Follow the path down, bearing left and out through the sand dunes to the beach. Once on the beach turn right and follow the sea for over a mile to reach the Oxwich Bay Hotel - a great place to stop for some lunch. (There are also some shops where you can buy food and drinks at the crossroads in the village.)(Half way along the beach you will have to cross Nicholaston Pill - if you don’t want to take your shoes off there is a small wooden bridge just inland of the beach.)
When you reach the car park at the head of the beach next to the Oxwich Bay Hotel, pass through the gap in the wall and turn left following the lane up to the old church which is tucked almost out of view in the trees.
The church, named St. Illtyd’s, was built in the 13th century and occupies the site of an earlier church dating back to the 6th century. The tower is a later 14th century addition and houses the bell, which also dates back to the 14th century. It bears the inscription “Sancta Maria ora pro nobis” which translates as ‘Pray for us St. Mary.’
If you venture inside the church you will find a recess known locally know as ‘Doolamur’s Hole'. In the recess you will discover the effigies of a knight and his lady. There is some dispute over who the effigies represent: The most common belief is that they were two members of the De La Mere family who owned Oxwich Castle and tragically drowned in Oxwich Bay in the early 14th century. Others maintain that the style of the armour is distinctly 15 century, and therefore that they are more likely to be effigies of Sir John Penres and his wife Margaret Fleming, who held the manor of Oxwich during that period.
Local stories tell of the churchyard being haunted by a ghostly white horse ‘ceffyl dwr’ (water horse in Welsh.) The horse is said to disappear into an ancient dried up well which you can find at the top of the church yard if you're brave enough.
Once you have finished exploring the church, continue past the church and out along the point, after a way you will find a hard climb up _________ ? steps (the space is for you to fill in the number of steps - there’s lots!)
Once at the top of the steps,turn left. The path follows the boundary of the fields before dropping down once more to the cliff top. If you are here at low tide, look out for the shipwreck of the 'Solar' jutting out of the surf, close in to the rocks.
Follow the path out along the headland, sticking to the cliff top. You will eventually pass the small sandy bay of Slade before emerging onto the sweep of Port Eynon beach. At the far end of the beach you will see the coast guard hut and sea wall adjacent to the roundabout - next to which you can catch the bus back to Penmaen.
A little way out in the bay you may notice two large red buoys - these mark the location of a wreck called the Prince Ivanhoe. The Ivanhoe, was a pleasure vessel which took trips around the peninsula. It sank in 1981 after colliding with a submerged reef off Port Eynon point. The vessel was beached allowing the 400 passengers to disembark safely. The ship was damaged by winter gales and eventually salvaged. What remains of the wreckage still makes an interesting dive.
While in Port Eynon be sure to sample some of Brains chips at the Captains Table next to the roundabout!
To find the next bus times, text the code 'swamgap' to the number 84268. You will receive a text notifying you of the departure times of the next buses back to Swansea. Check with the driver that the routes go via Penmaen and 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 bus 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