We found Saturday afternoon’s walk in a leaflet “Walking By Bus“. It’s one of a series issued by the City and County of Swansea. The bus service was infrequent so we drove from Rhosili to Llanmadoc car park (£1 honesty box). The north Gower coast is different in character from the south and is estuarine rather than the open sea of Swansea Bay. This area of North Gower is owned and managed by the National Trust. The map below shows the extent of Whiteford Burrows Nature Reserve.
- Whiteford Burrows National Nature Reserve – a mosaic of important habitats that supports many rare plants. Mudflats, saltmarsh and sand dunes
- Lanmadoc Church – reputedly on the site of an earlier building, the current church dates from the 13th century
- Views over Loughor Estuary
- View from the churchyard of Whiteford Point Lighthouse. It was built in 1865 and sits just above low water about half a mile from the shore. At low tide the lighthouse is accessible on foot but you are told to seek advice before attempting the walk as it can be treacherous. The 61ft (18.6m) tower was constructed with eight cast iron rings bolted together externally. A wrought iron balcony is bolted to the 7th ring and is accessible from the 8th. It was preceded for a few years by a wooden structure topped by a light.
High Tide Surrounds the Lighthouse
The walk described in the leaflet is about 2.25 miles. We didn’t start at the bus stop but at the car park. In theory the path is a loop but due to a collapsed causeway, breached this winter by the sea, we had to retrace our steps and miss the rest of the sea wall, Cwm Ivy Woods and the final climb back to the main road. We did, however, double back from the car park to look at Llanmadoc church.
From the car park head down the lane to Cwm Ivy, through a NT gate (where we read the notice telling that the sea wall was impassable) and continue down this track to a T-junction.
Sign at T-Junction
Path through Whiteford Woods
Turn right, through the gate and walk along the wood edge past Burrows Cottage. This is a National Trust Cottage that can be rented for holidays.
About halfway along the mainly conifer woodland path is a brand new bird hide. I don’t think we saw more than one bird as we sat there but it proved to be a good picnic lunch spot out of the cold wind.
No birds today – view from the bird hide
After the bird hide we came across a few cars parked outside Cwm Ivy Lodge Bunkhouse. This is another remote NT place to stay on Gower. As the woodland peters out the sandy Coast Path continues north towards the estuary. We decided to follow the causeway to the right as far as the breached area and then turn back to retrace our steps.
The Sea Wall/Causeway
Breach in the Sea Wall
We passed the car park and climbed the road to visit Saint Madoc’s church with its fine view over the estuary with a glimpse of the lighthouse.
“Whiteford Lighthouse is listed by Cadw as Grade II* as a rare survival of a wave-swept cast-iron lighthouse in British coastal waters, and an important work of cast-iron architecture and nineteenth-century lighthouse design and construction.” [source]
At the end of the afternoon we drove back to Port Eynon, supped on fish and chips at The Seafarer, almost on the beach, and headed to the Village Hall for the Swansea Accordian Orchestra’s 600th performance at 7pm.