Rhossili headland walk

South Gower Coast

Route details and mapDownload as a print friendly PDF
The old coastguard cottages in Rhossili © NT Gower

The old coastguard cottages in Rhossili

View across the beach of Rhossili Bay with Worms Head in the distance © John Millar

View across the beach of Rhossili Bay with Worms Head in the distance

The Vile strip at Rhossili © S.Musgrave

The Vile strip at Rhossili

Route overview

Journey out along one of Wales' most iconic cliffs with breathtaking views of the golden sand of Rhossili to the rugged limestone rocks of the south Gower coast.  Look out for the brilliantly coloured bloody cranesbill and the more delicate thrift which carpet the floor here throughout spring and summer.

Route details

See this step-by-step route marked on a map

Route map for Rhossili Headland walk
  • Directions
  • Route
  • Bus stop
  • Parking
  • Toilet
  • Viewpoint

Start: National Trust Shop, Rhossili, grid ref: SS414881

  1. With your back to the bus stop, turn right and walk along the road, continuing between the car park and the Worms Head Hotel. The National Trust shop is a little further on your left.

    Show/HideNational Trust Shop

    The National Trust shop is in one of the former coastguard cottages.

    The old coastguard cottages in Rhossili © NT Gower
  2. Looking to your right you will see the 3-mile long beach of Rhossili. The powerful tides and shifting sands caused many ship wrecks. The remains of the Helvetia can still be seen on Rhossili beach at low tide.

  3. Continue to follow the path through the gateway on the surfaced path.

  4. To the right of the path there are a series of mounds. These are the remains of an Iron Age fort. The magnificent views from here meant the inhabitants of the fort could see their enemies for miles around.

  5. As you continue along the surfaced track you will see fields and hedge banks on your left which are part of a medieval open field strip system. The Normans introduced this system of farming in the 12th century.

  6. Where the surfaced track bears sharp left, walk straight on following a wide grass path towards the coastguard lookout where you will have a spectacular view of the Worms Head. The coastguard lookout was built in Victorian times and is now manned by volunteers.

    Show/HideThe Worms Head

    The name comes from the Nordic word 'Wurm' which means serpent or dragon.

    View across the beach of Rhossili Bay with Worms Head in the distance © John Millar
  7. At the lookout, turn left along the cliff top to join the path that runs alongside a stone wall. The path heads down a short slope to a kissing gate. On your left inside the wall is an area known as The Vile.

    Show/HideThe Vile

    The Vile is a rare survivor of the medieval open field strip system introduced by the Normans during the 12th century.

    The Vile strip at Rhossili © S.Musgrave
  8. Continue to follow the path alongside the wall. After a few minutes the path will descend quite steeply and then follows the wall sharply to the left. Follow the well worn path through the rose, ascending gradually. Be careful on the stones as they are often slippery. Listen out for yellowhammers along this section of path. They can often be seen perched on the top of blackthorn bushes, resplendent and easily identified in their canary yellow plumage.

  9. Keep to the left and the path eventually brings you to a metal ladder and wooden steps over a wall. Cross the wall and follow the footpath as it heads back inland to Middleton. Shortly before you reach Middleton take a sharp left at the fork in the track and walk back through The Vile to Rhossili village and the end of the walk.

End: Rhossili Village, grid ref: SS414881

  • Trail: Walking
  • Grade: Moderate
  • Distance: 3.5 miles (5.6km)
  • Time: 1 hour 30 minues
  • OS Map: Landranger 159; Explorer 186
  • Terrain:

    Gentle gradients sloping downhill from the start and uphill on the return leg. Generally accessible to all, although there are some lumps and bumps so walking boots are preferable. Dogs are allowed, providing they are kept under control. Ponies and cattle are present throughout the year.

  • How to get here:

    By train: The nearest train station is Swansea or Gowerton. Rhossili is 19 miles (30.5km) - 45 minutes - by road

    By bus: Gower Explorer No. 118 and 119. Information from Traveline Cymru. The bus stop is two minutes from the start of the walk

    By car: From Swansea follow A4118 and then B4247.  The car park is situated at the end of the village.  Please be aware of the car park is privately owned and a fee will be charged on entry. Postcode SA3 1PR

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