|Length||12.5 miles ( 20 km) with 1,500 ft (450 meters) of ascent. Less in practise as you will be able to use many of the (not high tide) routes. Option to split the walk into 2 stages for winter, or more sunbathing time|
|Toughness||5/10. Very well maintained paths or firm sand. A long day though.|
|Map||OS Explorer 164 Gower|
This coast walk (part of the Gower and Wales Coast Paths) is a mix of cliff paths and beaches. It includes Swansea Bay, Mumbles, a mix of hidden and popular beaches, together with the spectacular Three Cliffs and Oxwich bays. The routes includes low tide (beach) and high tide (cliff path) alternatives, so you'll find it much easier than the high tide figure quoted above. There are many cafes along the way, not to mention places to swim, ruined castles, and photographs to be taken, so there is an option to split the walk in 2 more liesurely stages. There are a couple of extensions as well.
The walk starts in the village of Mumbles (ruined castle, pier, hill with viewpoint) on a regular bus route from Swansea. It follows the promenade (2 km) around the bay to the Mumbles (the 2 small islands silhouetted against the horizon at the end of the bay) and the pier. There's an optional climb of Mumbles hill (77m) for a stunning view of the bay, and across the channel to Somerset and Devon.
Its a gentle path to Bracelet and Limeslade bays, before joining the cliff path proper to Langland (2.5 km) (bus, cafe)
Cross the beach - the 2 bays are joined at low tide, or follow the path around at high tide, around the headland to Caswell Bay (2km) (bus, cafe)
Take a shortcut across the sand (or the cliff path at high tide) to Brandy Cove (1.5 km)
The path is now more remote, next is Pwlldu Bay, which has no road access (2 km).
There is 5 km of gentle cliff top path past Southgate (bus, cafe)
As you round the corner, you can see the spectacular Three Cliffs bay - its a valley which is flooded at high tide. At low tide, walk across the beach, at high tide you have to go inland for the stepping stones
Its a 1.5 km walk inland along the valley to Parkmill - hwere there's a bus stop, and a pub to wait in
To continue, either walk around the headland (low tide), or over it (high tide) to Great Tor bay, and the spectacular Oxwich bay (a long sandy beach backed by sand dunes). Choose your own private sand dune hill for lunch or a sunbathe
At the far end of the beach, it your destination, the Oxwich Bay hotel, and the bus stop back to Swansea.
Optionally, walk out around the headland, and back over the top, past the ruined castle
You don't really need a map for this walk - just follow the coast, but its very useful. The OS Explorer Gower map is highly recommended.
Mumbles to Oxwich
This walk can be combined with the Mummbles - Pennard coast walk to make a longer (12 mile) summer walk from Mummbles all the way to Oxwich. The walk was split in 2 to make it an easy winter walk, and to give you time to swim, sunbathe, or explore
Car driver need to add on a 3 mile extension along a disused railway line path, from Kilay to the coast at Black Pill, then along the seafront to Mummbles to return to their car - making a 15 miles walk. Alternatively, you can circulate via Swansea.
Car drivers can park for free at Black Pill (on the Swansea Bay coast), then walk 2.5km along the sea front path to Mumbles to start the walk. Black Pill is on the Swansea - Southgate bus route.
You can add the extension around Oxwich Head
Car drivers can park at Killay (on the Swansea-Parkmill-Oxwich bus route), and walk down a disused railway path to the coast, then along the sea-front to Mumbles
Mumbles to Blackpill : about 8 miles
Blackpill to Oxwich : about 5 miles
For car drivers, Killay to Mumbles : 3.6 miles, gentle downhill or flat
For long walkers, Oxwich headland : 3.2 miles, great views, 1 small climb
By bus. Take a bus from Swansea bus station to Mumblea ('Oystermouth' on bus timetables). You can return to Swansea from Langland, Caswell, Southgate, Parkmill, or Oxwich. NB on Mon-Sat, you might have to change buses from Oxwich - its a timetabled connection though.
By car, its a little more complex.
Buses from Langland and Caswell return to Mumbles
Buses from Southgate travel via a different route (the B4436), and join the coast road at Blackpill about 2km north of Mumbles - an easy walk along the sea path
Buses from Oxwich and Blackpill travel along the A4188, passing through Killay. You have 2 choices - go all the way into Swansea, and back out again. Alternatively, you can get of in Killay (at the bottom of the hill), and follow a disused railway line path to Blackpill, then back along the coast - this does make for a long day though
Before that start, on the optional start in Killay, there is the West Cross Inn on the seafront path, a mile or so before Mumbles. Great bay view, but its more of a food place though
Mumbles has many places, there are 2 small supermarkets in the town centre, and the White Rose pub which has good and bad days. Highly rcommended though, at Knab Rock, about 1km after the town centre, is Verdi's, verdis-cafe.co.uk, a large Italian cafe right on the seafront with outside tables
There is a pub in the amusements complex by the pier
Bracelet Bay has Castellamare, castellamare.co.uk, another large Italian bar restaurant
Langland has the Surfside Cafe (small cafe, on the sea wall)
Caswell has Calcutts, a great Cafe (small, nice spot for breakfast)
Southgate has Threecliff threecliffs.co.uk, a cafe - deli
Inland, Parkmill has The Gower Inn, thegowerinnswansea.co.uk, a great place to wait for your bus
Finally, Oxwich Bay has The Oxwich Bay Hotel, oxwichbayhotel.co.uk, with a fine pub to await your bus.
While researching this walk, the author and his cousin discovered a bomb by the arch in 3 Cliffs Bay. The bit I'll remember was my cousin saying to the 999 operator - "you know Tom and Jerry, well, its not the type of bomb that look like a rugby ball with fins, its the other type, the football with spikes". Twenty minutes later the police arrived. One officer ran through the river towards us. His partner clambered over the rocks instead muttering "..... tosser... he'll be here for hours with wet feet" under his breath. Soon the coastguard arrived - they'd been on practise nearby apparently - which had become the real thing. We were told the bomb was a WW2 mine that had washed ashore, not a rare occurance, and the army bomb disposal squad was on its way. It was getting dark, and so we left. My cousin phoned up the next day to find out what happened. They had stayed there all night, but the tide had come in and washed the bomb away before the army got there.
Clockwise from Swansea - Gower's beaches are exceptional - there really are this many 5 star walk here!
If you want to do the Gower Coast Path
The nearest train station is Swansea... but its a 10 min walk from the bus station. Some early morning / late evening buses start from it though.
London Paddington to Swansea : 3 hours, £80 off peak return. 'Advance' tickets (no changes) from £20 single. A good compromise is "Advance" out, and an (Open) "Single" back - about £60.
London Waterloo via Salibury and Bath - £60 off peak return. Much longer. Cheap advance tickets on the few direct trains per day.
Megabus (London to Swansea from £6 single) coach and National Express coach is another option.
Driving to Swansea takes about 3 hours from London. The Seven bridge costs £6.60 to Wales only (free coming back). Its not worth driving around via Gloucester, even if going to the Brecon Beacons. Its a lot longer, and with the extra fuel, you wont save much
You must check the bus times beforehand - using traveline.cymru/ Why? Because times and routes vary on school days, not school days, weekdays, Saturday, Sunday, summer, winter... It might be efficient, but its confounding for visitors. There are different day bus passes for each company which are good value (about the same price as a single!), but which one you need varies by destination and day !!!
Partial update: Summer 2018
Swansea bus station is about 15 mins walk from the train station. From there, 2 companies run buses to Gower, with a bizarre obfuscated schedule.
There is a 'Go Gower' day pass for £5.40, valid on both companies.
Notes. Mumbles official name is Oystermouth, they are the same place. Swansea, Black Pill and Mumbles are on Swansea Bay.
Current routes are
New for 2018: There is a £3.50 one-way flat rate ticket for West Gower, for thoes returning to their car.
Swansea is the best place for public transport users. The city doesn't have many tourist sites except for Wind Street (pronounced Wine Street, loads of mega pubs) and the marina. Many old seafront B&B's, and mega chain hotels.
Mumbles (Oystermouth) is a pretty seaside village, quieter at night and more upmarket nowadays as the 'Mumbles mile' pubs are no more. Old B&Bs and boutieque hotels. Swansea's 'latin' quarter.
There is a Youth Hostel in Port Eynon, and a large beach campsite on Rhosilli beach near Llangennith. Also campsites at Three Cliffs. Rhosilli itself would be a great place to stay for car travellers.
The Severn Estuary has the second highest tidal range in the world (after the Bay of Fundy), with typically, a 30 foot (10 metre) difference between high and low tide.
If you walk along the beach beneath high cliffs, or far out on the sands, be aware of that you can be cut off by a rising tide!
After the walk, we would love to get your feedback
National Rail: 03457 48 49 50 • Travelline SE (bus times): 0871 200 2233 (12p/min) • TFL (London) : 0343 222 1234
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