Gower beaches are the main draw for most visitors, but if you really want to get under the area’s skin, a few Gower walks will reveal a whole lot more to you.
The Gower Peninsula was the first part of the UK to be declared an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty in 1956, and it’s a very varied landscape, with cliffs, dunes, heathland, hills and ancient woodlands to discover as well as those glorious beaches. It’s one of the best places to visit in Wales.
Our selection of walks in the Gower – along with our recent feature on things to do in the Gower – helps you fill in the gaps and make some amazing discoveries. The vast majority of visitors to Gower head for the same few places – Rhossili Bay, Llangennith, Port Eynon, Three Cliffs Bay, Oxwich and the suburban Swansea beaches like Caswell and Langland. Away from the smaller beaches, you get whole swathes of Gower almost to yourself, even in summer when the bigger beaches easily absorb the crowds.
These walks are a great way to spend some of your Gower holidays. Overall, they give you a taste of all aspects of Gower scenery and indeed history, as we also show you some Gower castles and ancient sites along the way. So pack up those boots and discover why Gower is so special.
1. Port Eynon To Rhossili
The best Gower walk, a feast of cliff scenery and stunning beaches
Walk Type: Point-to-Point
Distance: 6 miles (10 km)
We rate this mighty walk one of the best walks in Wales, as it takes in the wildest scenery and least accessible coves of the Gower Peninsula coast. It begins at Port Eynon beach, one of the best beaches for kids on Gower, climbing to the headland above and continuing north-east for about six miles (10 km). It’s a very undulating walk, with many an ascent and descent, and superb scenery never far away.
The best of Gower coastal walks passes Paviland Cave, location of the oldest ceremonial burial in Britain (over 30,000 years) but don’t try to reach it unless you’re an experienced and well-equipped climber. It then passes jagged limestone cliffs and rock formations such as The Knave, before descending to lovely Mewslade Bay, which can only be reached a few hours either side of low tide.
The Gower coast path continues along the clifftops, passing dramatic but deserted Fall Bay before continuing to Tears Point, then the Worm’s Head lookout and the grandstand finish, the last mile-and-a-bit with Rhossili Bay on your left. Hands down one of the best coastal hikes in Europe.
2. Rhossili Down Circular
Exhilarating views from above, then a couple of miles along one of the best beaches on the planet
Walk Type: Circular
Distance: 5 miles (8 km)
Difficulty: Easy to Moderate
Rhossili Down is the hill looming above Rhossili beach, and it’s a short steep walk up from the village to the summit cairn 633 feet (200 metres) above sea level. If you turned b ack here it’s still one of the best walks on Gower,but keep going for something even better. The main path runs along the top of the heathland (August is when it’s at its best), and it’s a short detour at any point to look down onto the awesome beach below.
The path eventually descends to Hillend Caravan Park close to Llangennith village, and the dunes above the beach. It’s around 2 miles (3 km) back along the beach to Rhossili, with views of Worm’s Head tidal island the whole way. You’ll also see the remains of the Helvetia shipwreck to your right shortly before you reach the steep path up the hill to Rhossili village. The Norwegian ship ran aground in 1887, and its cargo of timber was quickly removed by locals!
3. Rhossili To Fall Bay Circular
A bite-sized taste of wild Gower for those without much time available
Walk Type: Circular
Distance – 3 miles (5 km)
Time – 2 hours
If you want to experience some of the wilder Gower scenery but don’t have much time available, this one’s for you. Start in the left-hand corner of the vast car park, turning right at the first footpath T-junction you reach, and stick to the zig-zag path from there until you reach a stile, which leads onto the path above dramatic Fall Bay.
The strip-fields through which you pass are known as the Vile, and are a rare survival of a medieval farming system. The field boundaries are in the process of being restored to preserve this ancient agricultural landscape. In summer you’ll sometimes see one of these fields full of sunflowers, making for a fantastic view to Worm’s Head.
Fall Bay is a dramatic rocky bay with some sand at low tide, a geologist’s dream with some great wave-cut platforms. By this point, the view of the line of cliffs stretching east opens out – this is one of the great Gower sights, but one relatively few get to see. Follow the path south up the hill to Tears Point and turn right, where you’ll eventually reach the lookout point and path down to the Worm’s Head causeway. Go right again, and soak in the sumptuous view of Rhossili Bay all the way back to the village.
4. Mumbles Pier To Caswell
A gentle introduction to Gower, taking in several Swansea beaches
Walk Type: Point-to-point
Distance: 3 miles (5 km) one way
You could start this walk in Mumbles village or from further down the beach at Mumbles Pier – either way it’s packed with great beaches and coastal scenery. After climbing the steps from the Pier, you’ll see the island of Mumbles Head and its lighthouse on your left, then Bracelet Bay, a brilliant beach with rockpools and lots of sand when the tide is out. Continue along the road past tiny, narrow Limeslade, before the coast path takes over. As you’re still in the city, much of the pathway is paved and very well maintained.
The scenery becomes more dramatic almost as soon as you leave Limeslade behind, with a tempting vista of cliffs, coves and hidden beaches ahead. The corner of Langland is known as Rotherslade, a small cove with rows of tightly=packed beach huts. Langland Bay itself is much more spacious, acres of sand fringed by rocks, with its signature row of green and white beach huts behind. The coast path to Caswell is mostly unpaved, passing below the golf course, giving you a hint of the more rugged scenery to the west, eventually reaching Caswell Bay, a busy city beach hugely popular with families in season, but very quiet in the colder months.
5. Three Cliffs Bay Traverse
Cross the enchanting Pennard Pill valley to see this incredible beach from all angles – and its neighbours
Walk Type: Return (unless you’re catching a bus back)
Distance: 3 miles (5 km) one way
Difficulty: Mostly easy, except for some moderate uphill slogs through the sand dunes
You have to do some sort of Three Cliffs Bay walk to reach this idyllic Gower beach and valley, so why not do the whole shebang and cross the whole thing? We suggest starting from the National Trust car park at Southgate village, to the east, and following the clifftop path to Three Cliffs, descending a steep dune to the beach with the option of a brief diversion to crumbling, romantic Pennard Castle just to the north.
Head downhill, exploring the beach at your leisure, before crossing the river on the stepping stones at the corner of the beach and climbing the next set of dunes to Penmaen Burrows and, eventually, Tor Bay. Further west, Oxwich Bay serenely sweeps four miles to the next headland, Oxwich Point. It’s one of the most rewarding walks Gower has to offer.
6. Llanmadoc Hill and The Bulwark
Hilltop walk with views across North Gower
Walk Type: Circular
Distance: 2 miles (3 km)
Difficulty: Easy to moderate
Llanmadoc Hill dominates the north-west corner of Gower, and it’s worth the short climb (either from Llanmadoc or Llangennith) for unrivalled views of the Burry Inlet, the vast beaches of Whiteford Sands and Broughton Bay. There are numerous paths across this area of common land, so we suggest taking in some of the views over the lush green agricultural landscape of central Gower and cutting across the hill to the (possibly Iron Age) earthwork known as the Bulwark on the western side near the summit.
7. Bishopston Valley Walk
Escape the crowds on this beguiling ancient woodland walk
Walk Type: Point-to-point
Distance 2.5 miles (4 km) back to road
Difficulty: Easy to moderate, with some muddy sections along the way
This is one of my personal favourite Gower walks, taking you two miles through centuries-old woodland, culminating in reaching the coast at Pwlldu Bay, one of the quietest beaches on Gower. The only sounds you’ll hear for an hour or so are birdsong and the occasional gurgle of the stream running along the valley floor. Pwlldu is a lovely surprise, a bank of pebbles descending to sand at low tide.
8. Whiteford Lighthouse Walk
A trek across tidal sands to a rare cast-iron lighthouse, disused for almost a century
This diversion from the Gower Coastal Path needs a low tide and perseverance. It’s a flat run for several miles once you reach sea level below Llanmadoc village. Whiteford Sands is a fair hike by itself – it’s another 2 km out to the lighthouse across tidal flats to this long-disused lighthouse, in a lonely location at the entrance to the Burry Inlet (also known as the Loughor estuary). It’s the flattest of our Gower peninsula walks,and walking up the hill back to Llanmadoc will be a minor shock to the system, so reward yourself with a pint at the Britannia Inn, one of the best Gower pubs, in Llanmadoc.
9. Worm’s Head Walk
A race against time and tide to reach the distant Outer Head – and get back
Walk Type: Return
Distance – 2.5 miles each way – from clifftop starting point
Difficulty – Moderate to fairly difficult, with plenty of slippery rocks along the way
For many, this is the best of the walks in Gower Peninsula. You need to know the tide times for the day – posted at the National Trust shop in Rhossili village and the notice board at the top of the walk, and time your departure for around two-and-a-half hours before low tide. The walk takes you across the tidal causeway, onto the Worm itself, over a tricky rocky section before climbing to the Devil’s Bridge and, eventually, the Outer Head. You’ll get to spot Gower wildlife along the way, from nesting birds (in springtime) to Atlantic grey seals and dolphins. It’s one of the finest Welsh islands to visit – take some strong boots and try to pick a glorious sunny day. In poor weather, the window for getting across and back will narrow considerably.