In our ever developing world, it’s rare to catch a glimpse of unadulterated natural beauty. But lurking down on the southern corner of Wales, lies the first area in the UK to be named Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB) – not the catchiest of acronyms, but it could have been a whole lot worse!
Just west of Swansea Bay on the Gower Peninsula – the National Trust, the Wildlife Trust and Visit Wales are working hard to preserve this jewel in one of the UK’s hidden treasures. The Gower peninsula is flanked by both the Bristol Sea and the Atlantic Ocean which has led to a rich treasure chest of wildlife and beauty that is the envy of many destinations the world over. Seals can be found bobbing up along the coastline, and there is a well organised programme of events to spot the Welsh wildlife throughout the year.
The beaches are spectacular for that interminable walk with the dog. Rhossili Bay not only boasts the accolade of Wales Best Beach 2017, but it is one of the top ten beaches to visit in the UK according to Trip Advisor.
Stretching for 3 miles, Rhossili Beach is on a par with surfers’ haunts across the world but it’s also perfect for the outdoorsy holidayer who loves the land, the sea and the natural flora and fauna they have to offer. A three mile walk along the beach with the dog is the ultimate escape for both the dog and the owner.
To capture the whole spirit of the area, you need to spend at least a few days – taking in the scenes, the wildlife and the sheer tranquility. For all its outstanding beauty and unspoilt landscapes, there’s no shortage of cottages in Gower to absorb the spectacles over a few days at least.
Worm’s Head is another exciting walk in the area – especially when the tide comes in and leaves you stranded on the “inner head” as author Dylan Thomas once did – presumably caught up in flurry of poetic prose? The most westerly tip of Gower, this rocky causeway was named by Viking invaders as a dragon or sea serpent. Their translation has lived on in the less grandiose name of Worm’s Head. The sight, however, is still very impressive and a brisk walk there and back at low tide will ensure your feet stay dry.
The peninsula is also a paradise for surfers with the expanse of beaches and the ferocity of the breakers matching and often overtaking those of the Devon and Cornwall coast. As well as the thrill of surfing, the area is perfect for paragliding and kitesurfing.
Only about an hour and a half’s drive from the hubbub of Cardiff, Gower attracts visitors from near and much further afield. Surfing dudes, hill walkers, beach combers, wildlife enthusiasts and anyone with a passion of fresh air and unspoilt countryside, find a haven in this knobbly and breathtaking part of the UK.