Wales is blessed when it comes to dark skies and those over Gower are considered some of the best in the country for stargazers. The secluded beaches and rural commons are void of modern intrusions that can hamper would-be astronomers, on a clear night you can marvel at the heavens whilst listening to waves crash in the far distance, and the odd sheep baa…
The best time to go stargazing is around a new moon as there is less moonlight to obscure the stars. New moons cause very high and very low tides (called a spring tide, nothing to do with the season!) so make sure your evening visit coincides with a low tide if possible.
During the warmer summer evenings, take a look at the sea, the magical sparkle of bioluminescent plankton can be seen in places like Caswell, Three Cliffs and Port Eynon.
Port Eynon is considered a dark sky gem, the large beach is enclosed in a curved bay and looks out upon nothing but miles of Bristol Channel, it’s easy to access and perfect to sky-watch.
Three Cliffs is an out of the way dark spot, take care, this area is trickier to access and the tide can obstruct some routes.
Oxwich is not as secluded as some of the other areas but it is easily accessible with plenty of space and facilities nearby.
The high points at Rhossili and Cefn Bryn offer views in all directions. Again, take great care at Rhossili, the views are awe inspiring but stay away from the hazardous cliff edges and make sure your path is well lit if you’re heading down to the beach.
A torch, it’s dark! A headtorch keeps your hands free.
Appropriate footwear, the ground is uneven and often wet.
It can get very chilly so make sure you take warm clothing – a coat, hat, gloves, scarf etc. Layer up, you can always take off but you can’t add.
If you have specialist equipment, great but you’d be surprised at how much you can see with a pair of binoculars, and the quality of photos you can take with a smart phone.
Finally, don’t forget a chair and a flask of something warm.
Check tide times, some beaches are trickier to get to and some not there at all when the tide is in so make sure you check before you head out. When it’s really dark you won’t see the water until you’re in it…
Coastal paths can be precarious in broad daylight so take great care when walking at night, make sure you know your route and that you can see where you’re going!
The roads around Gower are home to both wildlife and livestock, be mindful of this when driving at night.
There are so many accommodation options for you, many are just a stone’s throw away from the beach so you won’t have far to head home after an evening of admiring the celestial expanse. Gower also has some of the most picturesque camp sites in the country, the first thing you’ll see when you unzip your tent is the sea.
Before you head out, fill up on a delicious hot meal and a cup of coffee to keep you going, there are lots of cosy country pubs and restaurants in the area.