DAY TWO – The Gower
After a wonderful breakfast, the group took the coach to The Gower. A lovely scenic journey on another sunny morning in Wales. The Gower Peninsula projects into the Bristol Channel and in 1956 became the UK’s first AONB.
In 1823 a fairly complete Upper Paleolithic human male skeleton was found in Paviland Cave on the Gower, the oldest human skeleton ever discovered, dating to approximately 33,000 BC. It still remains the oldest such find in Europe.
The whole area covers about 70 sq miles and the highest point is the Beacon on Rhossili down. Parking at the National Trust Car Park, our route took us initially along the coast path, towards Oxwich. Everyone marvelled at the magnificent views on this clear day and the famous Worm’s Head was visible although it was almost high tide when we arrived. Worm (or wurm) being the Viking word for serpent and it did indeed look a little like the Loch Ness Monster today. Iron Age, Bronze Age, Roman and Norman settlements have also been discovered.
We walked to the old Victorian Coastguard station, a good photo opportunity for the group on the headland there, then around the Vile, (meaning field) a medieval system actually covering 390 hectares, broken into plots divided by earth mounds and dry stone walls, then along the coast path where a tea break was taken in the sunshine. We continued inland, through Middleton into Rhosilli again along the road.
The group divided here, some opting for a short beach walk, others following Karen along the expansive beach towards Hillend Camp Site, nestled in the dunes, where we enjoyed our lunch at the foot of the coastpath and below the hill.
A steep climb ensued, slow and steady on this hot day, and we convened at the top on the ridge. The views were panoramic today, unlike the recky as Karen mentioned more than once, when it was misty and raining. We continued along the ridge, past the old WWII radar station ruins, to reach the aforementioned Beacon, highest point of the Gower. The view of the Worm’s Head excellent as the receding tide revealed the walkway out from the Headland. Not for the faint hearted!
The group then made their way downhill, bearing left to pick up a path (very muddy as it turned out!) inland, through Pitton Farm, then back onto the coast path once again. A shortcut now through the fields at the back of the Vile to reach the waiting coach with apologies for tardiness on what turned out to be a 10.5 mile walk on a very hot day.
Dinner at the Hotel was most welcome and many partook of liquid refreshment in order to re-hydrate after the days exertions.