The Gower Peninsula, South Wales - 25th to 28th April 2014
The Gower Peninsula is one of the most beautiful parts of Britain and its spectacular coastal scenery can be compared favourably with any of the destinations we visit around the world. There are over 200 miles of public footpaths on the Gower Peninsula and amongst the spring flowers we explore its rugged coast, walking along amazing beaches, seeking out smugglers' caves and learning about the geology and history.
We have selected Norton House Hotel & Restaurant in the village of Mumbles, close to Swansea, as our base for this holiday. The hotel is an elegant listed Georgian manor house, owned and managed by the family of Jan & John Power and their son Mark.
It has an excellent reputation in the neighbourhood for its restaurant, where evening dinner parties will be a feature of the weekend.
The hotel is situated about 200 yards from the seashore of Swansea Bay with the village of Mumbles about half a mile away. All en-suite rooms are of a high standard, with the option of superior quality rooms (for a small supplement). For a full description of the hotel, please visit www.nortonhousehotel.co.uk.
The programme includes three days of guided walks, a welcome reception and evening dinner parties.
Day 1 - Friday 25th April - Travel to Gower (D)
Rooms are available at the hotel from 3:00pm. Meet in the hotel lounge at 3:30pm for our first walk.
From the hotel we take the footpath along the shores of Swansea Bay to Oystermouth with its Norman Castle overlooking Swansea Bay. Through Underhill Park to Langland Corner and down to Rotherslade Bay or Little Langland as it is sometimes known. From there we walk along the cliff path to Mumbles Head via Limestone and Bracelet Bay, Mumbles Pier and the famous Mumbles Lifeboat House. Before approaching Swansea Bay and Southend where Verdi's Café is a tempting place to stop for optional refreshments before continuing along the coastal path back to the hotel.
Distance 5 miles; 3 hours; Grade Easy.
Meet in the hotel lounge at 7:45pm for a welcome reception, followed by a dinner in the hotel restaurant at 8:00pm.
Day 2 - Saturday 26th April (BD)
After breakfast in the hotel, we are driven by taxi to the village of Penmaen.
Following the footpath towards Tor Bay and the breathtaking Three Cliffs Bay we pass the old lime kiln, abandoned church and hill fort. There are excellent views here towards Oxwich Bay for us to enjoy. Low tide today is 11:00am so we can cross the river in Three Cliffs Bay on the stepping-stones, then up over the cliffs following the cliff path to Pennard, where we'll stop for optional refreshments. A country lane takes us to the delightfully secluded Pwlldu Bay, a picturesque place where we'll want to stop and linger. Walking along the beach we'll continue along the cliff path to Caswell and Langland Bay and through the village of Oystermouth back to the hotel.
Distance around 7 miles. As well as the walk, we are here for the views, to learn about the history and culture so we plan to be flexible on timing, but should be back at the hotel by 5:00pm.
Dinner in the hotel restaurant at 7:30pm.
Day 3 - Sunday 27th April (BD)
After breakfast, we meet on the hotel car park at 9:30am and drive in our own cars to Rhossili (good idea to car share, to be mutually agreed). Rhossili is situated at the end of the Gower Peninsula and is around 30 minutes from the Hotel. Parking in the designated car park for a small parking fee.
Leaving the car park at Rhossili (toilets and NT shop nearby) we'll head for the National Coastwatch Hut an old Coastguard hut overlooking Worms Head. We then follow the coast path east to Mewslade Bay, one of the prettiest bays on the Gower, passing an old medieval field system and walking through the valley to Pitton to start the climb up Rhossili Down, stopping on our way to admire the views. The footpath along the top of Rhossili Down takes us to the old Radar Station where we'll continue north and descend to Hillend. Stopping at the campsite for a comfort stop and optional lunch in the café. The coastal path then takes us back to Rhossili, passing the Old Rectory and the Rocket Shed.
Distance 7.5 miles; 6 hours including stops. Great walking today with no time constraints. Grade Moderate.
Dinner in the hotel restaurant at 7:30pm.
Day 4 - Monday 28th April (B)
After breakfast in the hotel it is time to go home! Please vacate your room by 11:00am.
B = breakfast, L = lunch, D = dinner