Flora and fauna
Rhosili Down is lowland heath and home to a variety of birds and insects including the rare black bog ant. The south Gower coast hosts many rare plants and birds including yellow whitlow grass and choughs.
Total steps: 9
Total steps: 9
National Trust shop, Rhosili, grid ref: SS414881
Start in the National Trust car park. Walk along the road past the bus stop. Follow the footpath as it bears left towards the churchyard and past St Mary's Church. At the junction with the stony track go left and continue on this track until you reach the gate marked with a National Trust sign for Rhosili Down.
St Mary's Church
The church was built in the 12th and 13th centuries. Look out for the unmarked sailor's grave in the corner of the churchyard.
Head up the hill through the heathland. It's steep, so take the opportunity for a well earned rest on your way, before making your way to the top of the Down.
If you look back towards Rhosili village you will see the medieval strip field system of The Vile on the headland.
Continue on the main path along the ridge of the Down. The beacon marks the highest point in Gower and is also the site of a Bronze Age cairn built around 4,000 years ago. As you continue along the ridge path you will pass the remains of Stone Age burial chambers called Sweynes Howes.
The Stone Age burial chambers known as Sweynes Howes were constructed around 6,000 years ago.
The ridge-land takes you through a vast area of heathland. Further down the slope to the right there are areas of wet heath.
Heathland and wet heath
The heathland is a dazzling display of pinks and purples in late summer into early autumn. The plants in the wet heath, such as bog asphodel and cross-leaved heath, are visible but take care if you're exploring as it can be extremely boggy at times.
As you approach halfway along the Down you will see the remains of a Second World War radar station in front of you. Continue through here and continue up the slope on the far side.
Second World War radar station
The radar station was built to provide early warning of threats to Swansea from German bomber planes.
From here the path descends steeply towards Hillend campsite. Go into the site and straight on past Eddie's Café and turn left on the beach. You are approximately halfway around now.
This may be the perfect opportunity for a cup of tea and a chance to rest your feet.
Turn left onto the beach and head back towards Rhosili.
The muddy cliff to your left is the remains of a glacial feature known as a solifluction terrace. Soil would slip from Rhosili Down whenever the ice melted a little and over time built up into the raised area we see today. As you walk look out for the remains of the Helvetia, which was shipwrecked on the beach in 1887 whilst carrying a cargo of wood. At three-miles-long, Rhosili beach is one of the longest beaches on the Gower. It's a haven for people who want to get out and enjoy the coastline.
Once you have passed the Helvetia, look out for the slope back up to the top of Rhosili Cliffs.
Views of Carmarthen
The walk back is steep, so take a moment to admire the view on your way back. Keep an eye out for birds such as Choughs, who feed on the short grassland and are rare.
At the top turn right to head towards the car park.
Shop and cafés
Pop into the National Trust shop, or grab a bite to eat in one of the many cafés and tea shops on offer in the village. Please check the shop opening times via the National Trust Rhosili website.
Rhosili, grid ref: SS414881
A challenging walk to the highest point on Gower and a descent onto one of the most famous beaches in Wales. Very steep steps on the route back to the village.
National Trust shop, Rhosili, grid ref: SS414881
Alight at Swansea and catch a bus to the bus station.
Rhosili is situated right on the Wales Coast Path and at the end of the Gower Way.
There are regular services from Swansea to Rhosili. (Monday–Saturday, Sunday (summer service only). Services 118/119 (NAT) and 114 (Sundays First Cymru). Additional services connect quieter parts of Gower with the 118 and 116 (Swansea–North Gower service).
Take the National Cycleway Route 04 to Upper Killay from Swansea or Gowerton. From there, switch to the A4118 to Scurlage, then take the B4247 to Rhosili. Please note: Gower’s roads can be busy and are not suitable for family cycling.
From Swansea (J42) take the A483 to Swansea. Continue on to the A4067. At Black Pill, turn on to the B4436. Turn right to keep on the B4436 at Pennard before turning left on to the A4118. At Scurlage, take the B4247 to Rhosili.
From Swansea (J47) Take the A483 and then take the A484, Turn left to Gowerton. At lights, take the B4295 to Llanrhidian. Then take the B4271 and follow signs for Reynoldston. Continue to A4118 and turn right. At Scurlage, take the B4247 to Rhosili.
Dogs allowed, but please keep under close control, as livestock are present throughout the year.
Between car park and National Trust shop.
In village – not National Trust.
Sells local produce.
Opposite car park – not National Trust.
The walk covers a variety of terrain including steep footpaths, uneven tracks, a sandy beach and steep steps to the finish.
The car park at Rhosili has accessible toilets (not National Trust).
Steep footpaths, uneven terrain and steep steps back to the village.
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