The Gower Peninsula – celebrating 64 years since becoming the UK’s first Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty.
Just a short drive from Swansea, the Gower Peninsula is more than just a pretty face. It was designated as the UK’s first Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty back in 1956, and we’re glad to say it’s still the nation’s favourite – as ‘Which?’ readers voted it the best AONB in Wales in October 2020!
Although we’re currently in a National Lockdown in Wales, you can find out why Gower has a special place in so many hearts – and make a plan to visit us later!
The Gower Peninsula is a rich and varied environment which is as ecologically diverse as it is beautiful (and we’re not just saying that!) – from open, wild moors and dramatic limestone cliffs to golden, sandy beaches. Gower is a geological goldmine with inspiring landscapes and a captivating coastline.
And the Beach Goes On
Stay on dry land, and you will be missing out! It gets some of the most awesome waves in Britain, and sandy Llangennith has been popular amongst surfers for decades. Rhossili Bay has also been enjoying some limelight on the world stage too. It has been voted into the top ten of beaches in Britain for the last eight years and is currently the 11th best beach in Europe (TripAdvisor, Travellers’ Choice Awards).
True adrenaline junkies can try a spot of coasteering – climb the cliffs and leap into the waves below, not for the faint hearted! Make sure you’re always accompanied by a professional though – there are a number of activity providers who would be delighted to hear from you.
Check out Gower’s breathtaking beaches and see what all the fuss is about.
Coast & Countryside
The 19 mile-long Peninsula starts at Mumbles and extends westwards. It’s famous for its jaw-dropping coastline and beaches (from vast Rhossili Bay to cosy and secluded Pwll Du), and is a favourite destination for walkers and surfers. Inland you’ll find sheltered woodland and rolling grasslands; country pubs and fine food.
It’s no surprise that walking in Gower is so popular, its home to some of the most beautiful sections of the Wales Coast Path (even though we are biased). Grab your boots and be prepared for a spectacular waterfront walk. It’s not all about sea and sand either – you’ll encounter lush woodlands and stunning countryside views along the way. We also have a free walking guide and map if you’re interested? Check out our downloads page for more.
Sample some of the local delicacies, such as Penclawdd Cockles from the Loughor estuary, succulent Salt Marsh Lamb and the famous Laverbread (its seaweed!).
Outstanding Natural Beauty
This year, the Gower Peninsula celebrates 64 years since becoming the UK’s first Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty in 1956. Covering 188 sq km, it was awarded its AONB status for its classic coastline (much of it is Heritage Coast) and its outstanding natural environment (33% is National Nature Reserve or a Site of Special Scientific Interest).
The Peninsula’s richly varied natural environment is renowned for its heathland, limestone grassland, fresh – and salt-water marshes, dunes and oak woodlands. Its mixed geology has given rise to a wide variety of scenery in a relatively small landscape area. Dramatic limestone cliffs, interspersed with sandy beaches and rocky shores, dominate its southern coast. In the north, the coast is low-lying with extensive salt marshes and dune systems.
Travel Back in Time
There are at least 1200 archaeological sites in the AONB of different periods and types. These include caves, Iron Age forts, medieval castles, churches, a lighthouse and 19th Century parks. 73 of these are of national importance, with 124 listed buildings.
The western part of the AONB is included in the Register of Landscapes of Outstanding Historic Interest in Wales, for the rich evidence of a long sequence of land use and occupation from the prehistoric to industrial periods. This includes Iron Age forts and a surviving medieval open field system (known as the Vile, near Rhossili).
Rest Up & Recharge
Although we’re currently in a National Lockdown in Wales – we’re looking forward to welcoming you back when it’s safe to do so – and if this has whetted your appetite, there is a fabulous range of accommodation in Gower: hotels, apartments, caravans and campsites – so you can start planning your future visit. It’s important to have something to look forward to!