Along the Gower Coast
Saturday dawned extremely wet and miserable so we all agreed to postpone our walk until Sunday when the forecast was good. We were very glad when Sunday arrived bright and sunny. It was early September and we were off to the Gower. Our walk started in Murton and took us to Southgate via Caswell Bay.
Setting off from Murton in a south-easterly direction we walked through Oldway, noticing some of the road names seemed to relate to its history: e.g. Lime kiln lane and Long Acre. There were long thin strips shown on the OS map and we guessed that this was how the area had been divided for the people to grow food.
Continuing we came into Bishop’s Wood, a local nature reserve with well developed paths. Near its centre we came across a roundhouse; based on a medieval design it is built from locally harvested oak and ash (the predominant trees in Bishop’s wood). The river that created this valley still flows underground and can still be found surfacing on Caswell beach. We also emerged here, it was lovely to see the sea in the sunshine and we lingered briefly to make use of the facilities on offer. We walked in a westerly direction across the beach and now we were on the coastal path following it to Brandy Cove and then Pwlldu Bay (one of the many Welsh ‘Blackpool’s). Late summer flowers were spotted including mullein. The coast below was covered in craggy rocks which had attracted quite a few sea birds, cormorants being the most distinctive.
At the beginning of Pwlldu Bay the path climbed up to the road leading to High Pennard and we followed it although the beach was deserted and looked very attractive. We came into open countryside and decided to stop for lunch just before Hunts Farm on a raised grassy area where we had open views across the bracken clad moor down to the sea in the distance. A few people walked below us as we rested and several people rode past on horses nearer the sea. It was surprisingly cool while we were stationary so we didn’t linger too long over lunch.
We resumed our route towards Hunts farm and then Southgate, turning inland near Fox Hole before reaching Southgate. There was some impressive
housing in this area and we admired many of the buildings. We headed north east, coming across some waterlogged land and were grateful for a bridge in one place where the water was particularly deep. A field had cows with their very cute calves, some of which showed little fear as they nudged a feed bucket on the other side of a gate from us. At Hael farm a large marquee was being taken down and there were some lovely begonias in big pots.
We followed the course of a stream through a wooded valley. We had good paths to begin with, then it became very muddy and finally the valley floor was littered with large rocks covered in moss – like a riverbed, quite difficult to negotiate! There was a steep rock face to one side and we spotted a cave; further on the water disappeared underground into another cave.
We were travelling north towards Kittle when we came across a notice: ‘Footpath… registered in the riverbed – is usually walkable when dry. However a large sinkhole has opened up which is dangerous to approach as the surrounding surfaces are highly unstable and there is no room to pass safely.’ Slightly worrying but a quick bit of route planning by our expert map readers and some information from a fellow walker who had just negotiated a diversion and we were on our way again, travelling generally north through Bishopston.
Arriving at the edge of Kittle in glorious sunshine we passed 2 pubs, The Joiners Arms and The Valley. We didn’t stop but continued along a path to the side of the local school, which had lots of colourful wild flowers growing at its entrance. On Providence Lane we passed a very remote and unwelcoming house – there were even bars on the windows. Returning to the community centre in Murton, we looked at the pump and well behind it. We retired to the Plough and Harrow and relaxed in the late sunshine with a drink but wished we hadn’t eaten our sandwiches – the meals appearing from the kitchen looked scrumptious. We had walked 7.75 miles and climbed 750ft. Map 164.