“I don’t want to go the easy way. I want to go the difficult way!” asserted my daughter F as she started to climb the rock in front of us instead of walking around it. Reluctantly, I followed, albeit with a tinge of pride that she wanted to challenge herself.
We were crossing the causeway between the mainland and Worm’s Head, which had just become passable as the tide went out. Worm’s Head is the outcrop at the end of the Gower Peninsula, the UK’s first officially designated Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB). The scenery along the coast certainly justifies that designation.
We scrambled over rocks, stepped our way across pools and walked on the shells of rather smelly rotting fish. Just a couple of hours earlier, this had been the sea bed. As we progressed, the earlier unnecessary rock scrambling took its toll and F tired. When crossing with children, it’s probably best to follow the easiest route which should be carefully plotted beforehand. Either that, or follow others in the hope they know what they’re doing! Nevertheless, we did make it across to Worm’s Head which gave us a sense of achievement.
If you’re lucky, you can see atlantic grey seals basking on the rocks along with bottlenose dolphins or common porpoises swimming in the sea. Unfortunately, all we saw was a colony of sea birds on the far side of the rocks. On the plus side, the weather was glorious and the views excellent.
We had arrived at the nearby village of Rhossili several hours earlier when the tide was high. This gave us the opportunity to enjoy the 3 mile long beach. The village has a scenic perch on a cliff top and the only way to access the sand is on foot. Some people were carrying strollers down, but I wouldn’t recommend it. We went down equipped with a picnic and drinks, as there are no facilities on the beach.
While enjoying our picnic, we noticed Rhossili’s popularity with paragliders and surfers. The thermals below the cliffs attracted so many paragliders I’m surprised they didn’t crash into one another.
After lunch, F and I headed straight for the sea, careful to clock the position of incoming surfers.
While there were plenty of them, the beach is long enough for there to be enough room for everyone. It is the big waves crashing on the west facing beach that attract the surfers. Talking of crashes, we noticed the remains of an old shipwreck, now largely buried under the sand. Unfortunately, I missed my photo op on that one as when I had the camera ready, it was surrounded by a swarm of people – the only place on the beach that was crowded! For now, we enjoyed the rollers breaking before us and pushing us back to shore. We had great fun in the surf and it was difficult to get F back onto the beach again. When I did, we played beachball for a while before returning up the cliff path to the village where we enjoyed a well deserved ice cream before setting off for the Head.
We didn’t do a full exploration of Worm’s Head. Apart from F’s tiredness, it was early evening by the time we got there and although we could have stayed a couple of hours before the causeway disappeared with the incoming tide, we didn’t want to be too late for dinner at our hotel. F was looking forward to her chicken nuggets! We returned by a slightly easier route, which even so, shouldn’t be underestimated with young children. After climbing back up the cliff, F forgot her tiredness and became completely distracted blowing bubbles.
I had a last look around, down to Worm’s Head, along the sweep of Rhossili Beach and across to Carmarthen Bay. Although this wasn’t my first visit, I’d almost forgotten what a beautiful corner of Britain this is.
Rhossili is at the western end of the Gower Peninsula, 19 miles from Swansea, Wales, UK
Rhossili has a hotel, shop, surf hire, cafe and toilets. There are no facilities at the beach which is not accessible to those of limited mobility. Worm’s Head is accessible at low tide and safe crossing times are displayed at the entrance to the causeway. The crossing is suitable for most children although some scrambling is required. For more information on the Gower AONB, click here
There is a hotel and a couple of bed and breakfasts in Rhossili. B & Bs, small hotels and campsites can be found elsewhere on the Gower. More accommodation is available in Swansea. For further information click here