An enjoyable, relatively easy walk, with long stretches of sandy beach
Sea cliffs at Three Cliffs Bay, Gower
This is an enjoyable walk, and depending on the route you take, relatively easy with long stretches of sandy beach. It also offers the option of a few rock scrambles if you wish to take them. From several places there are superb views of Three Cliffs Bay.
The Pennard Pill at Three Cliffs Bay, Gower
The walk covers sandy slopes, stepping stones, grassy slopes, natural rock steps, dune scrambles and rocky coastal paths.
Pennard Castle, above Three Cliffs Bay, Gower
The green by Penmaen Church, opposite the bus stop
The green by Penmaen Church
2.5 miles / 4km
Public Transport: Yes, see our Exploring by bus page
Car parking at the western end of the village at OS map ref 527886 and OS map ref 526885. There is another small car park up the lane from the church at OS map ref 526885.
Bring your own refreshments.
No public toilets on this walk.
Be prepared: suitable shoes and clothing.
Safety Information: Please check tide before starting.
- Penmaen to stream crossing
Face due east and cross the main road to the North Hills lane (not marked). Go along the lane leaving five houses/bungalows on your right and take the first road turning to the right (there is a sign marked "Beach" on the far side).
Go downhill past a National Trust sign "Notthill" on the left then past some cottages as the road bears to the left and becomes rougher. Go past a small gate to the right ("Residents only – Stonesfield") then reach a clear path going down to the right.
At this point you should be able to see splendid views over the bays and the burrows.
Your route from here will depend on the tide, which you are advised to check before starting.
If the tide is going out and not due to turn for an hour or so, you may go straight down the steep stepped path from the main path at OS map ref 534884. This path goes past the Stonesfield shacks, turning gradually to the left at the top tidal part of Penmaen Pill. Here you will find a prominent warning sign, 'Bathing in this area can be dangerous'. From here you can go along the south side of the stream onto the beach, or go over the slatted fenced path marked 'National Trust Three Cliffs' – down a small sandy slope and onto the beach.
If the tide is rising rapidly or already in, then you will have to use the alternative route over the stepping stones – OS map ref 538883. The route carries on steadily downhill on a rough track until the tidal margin is reached. A very short walk along the edge brings you to the stepping stones (a track continues here along the northern and western edge of Pennard Pill which eventually ends up at Parkmill. This can be muddy in places, and at high tide requires diversions into thick woodland). Once over the stepping stones you can now cross over the shingle promontory then keep all the way on the north and east side of Pennard Pill to the Three Cliffs peaks.
- Stream crossing to the Three Cliffs – beach walk
Once on the beach the choice is yours. If the tide is low you can go all the way on the beach round into Oxwich Bay. You can make straight for the Three Cliffs peaks, but remember you will have to cross the swift-flowing Pennard Pill somewhere. This is not usually a problem with waterproof walking boots or wellingtons – or you could choose to go barefoot. Also remember to be quite sure about the tides and do not attempt to do this on a rising tide.
- Return to Penmaen
For your return to Penmaen, you may go through the natural archway between the two eastern peaks of the Three Cliffs and return along the eastern side of Pennard Pill to the stepping stones. This can be wet and slippery, so please come prepared.
It is possible – with some difficulty – to reach the dunes above from the stream, but the cliffs there are deceptive and crumbly so be careful if you choose this route.
Another route goes up over the top of the dunes. There is a slightly difficult rock scramble up a ledge, immediately to the east of the highest of the Three Cliffs peaks. This takes you to the base of the regular starting point for assaulting the peak at OS map ref 539878.
An easier but slightly more tedious route is to go in at the Pobbles Beach inlet. Start walking up towards the golf clubhouse then divert off to the left on any one of the prominent footpaths. Try to find the 'official' slatted path if you can - it starts near OS map ref 541878. Somewhere from the highest part of the dunes you may then take one of the several paths back to the stepping stones, or you can keep on the slatted path over to Pennard Castle and on to Parkmill.
From the stepping stones go back up the gravel track, past the Stonesfield shacks and Notthill to Penmaen Church.
- Splendid views over the bays and the burrow, Pennard Castle and ancient church ruins. View of Devon coast and a superb view of Three Cliffs Bay.
The above information is an extract from: Gower Coastal Walks by Dr Gordon Avery, available from Swansea Tourist Centre