March 23, 2023
A coast and hill stroll to an ideal village pub: the Britannia Inn, Gower peninsula | Wales holidays

A pub is an important a part of a rustic stroll, however which approach to do it? The entire stroll first, then pub for well-earned meals and beer? Or pub as midway mark, to revive flagging physique and spirits, the uncovered miles making that second or third beer a nasty concept? On this stroll from the well-loved Britannia Inn, within the Gower village of Llanmadoc, we will resolve on the day: it’s a figure-of-eight route, with the “Brit” near the place the loops cross. There’s rain forecast for later, so we begin early and goal for a late post-walk lunch, with stops to soak within the views with out getting soaked.

And what views. A part of the fantastic thing about this peninsula is its number of landscapes: wild moorland, golden seashores, limestone cliffs, meadows, combined woodland and saltmarsh.

From the Brit, we head west alongside Frog Lane, passing Llanmadoc’s pretty Siop y Bobl. The publish workplace closed in 2007 however volunteers opened this group store, with recent produce, a publish workplace counter and a restaurant. We are able to’t justify a espresso cease but, however bunches of freshly picked Gower lavender are tempting.

A coast and hill stroll to an ideal village pub: the Britannia Inn, Gower peninsula | Wales holidays
Early on within the stroll there are glimpses of Whiteford lighthouse. {Photograph}: Loop Photos/Alamy

Glimpses of sea, sand and cast-iron Whiteford lighthouse are only a style of what’s to come back, and just a little means on we flip left at a bridle path signal on a triangular inexperienced. Turning left once more between a cottage and a stone wall, at a footpath signal for Llangennith, we head up a stony path to brackeny, brambly Llanmadoc hill.

Three or 4 paths lead uphill from right here: anybody heading south-west will do. In excessive summer season, when the bracken is thick, it’s extra like wading, however the 10-15-minute climb affords views of most of south Wales. To the left are Pembrokeshire’s Preseli mountains, then a swathe of Carmarthenshire earlier than the Brecon Beacons in Powys. Together with Swansea, that’s 4 counties. Nearer at hand, the blues of the Loughor estuary and the golden sands of Whiteford and Broughton bays make a harmonious entire.

We climb on – bracken giving approach to heather – to a ridge, and sea views open to the south, too: throughout Gower to the Bristol Channel, the north Devon coast and the Somerset Ranges. However the route has but extra to offer: as we stroll up the now-gentle slope to the summit, the wonderful sweep of Rhossili seashore pops into view, with rocky Worms Head. A smudge behind it’s Lundy. A trig level on the high tells us Timbuktu is 2,409 miles away.

We retrace our steps alongside the spine of the hill, then hold straight on. It’s a sunny Sunday and we’re lower than 15 miles from Swansea, but there’s barely anybody right here. It feels as if this hilltop is not any extra frequented than it was 4,000 years in the past, when bronze-age folks constructed burial cairns.

St Cadoc’s Church in Cheriton.
Thirteenth-century Saint Cadoc’s Church in Cheriton. {Photograph}: Francesca Jones/The Guardian

One is moderately collapsed – maybe walkers sheltered from fierce winds in its hole. A large path, nonetheless heading east, takes us a few millennia ahead in prehistory, to the gorse-edged stays of an iron-age hillfort – the Bulwark, now managed by the Nationwide Belief. Historians imagine a livestock enclosure was later fortified to guard a group in opposition to hostile tribes. Right now, its south-easterly slope is an ideal elevenses cease: lunch continues to be a few hours away.

Refreshed, we head on east to a path that runs downhill to Kyfts Lane. Right here, we might flip left and be on the pub in 10 minutes. However we’ve nonetheless bought our strolling legs, so cross the street and take a gravel path down by woods. We emerge on to a lane that’s a part of the Wales Coast Path (WCP) and switch into Cheriton village, the place sheep graze the verges in entrance of cute cottages, and Thirteenth-century Saint Cadoc’s church – simply past a bridge over the Burry “tablet” (stream) – appears diminutive but stately.

The Bulwark hillfort, Llanmadoc Hill.
The Bulwark hillfort, Llanmadoc Hill. {Photograph}: David Angel/Alamy

With the excessive flank of Llanmadoc hill behind us we flip left by a picket gate, signposted Landimore, to remain on the WCP. Half a dozen of the world’s extra cussed residents have congregated on the slim path and appear reluctant to maneuver, particularly as people might have one thing to eat in a pocket or rucksack. They’re semi-wild Gower ponies in gray, tan and chocolate brown, and although they appear mild, we’re nervous of stray kicks.

Then we’re on the saltmarsh and a welcome flat stretch. To our left a stand of useless timber reveals the place the Cwy Ivy sea wall was breached in 2013 storms and controversially the Nationwide Belief didn’t reinstate it. Pasture turned mud, colonised by marsh vegetation, birds and even otters. We spot egrets and a heron, and listen to the wheezy squeak of lapwings.

However this has lengthy been a altering land. After a mile, we flip proper by a gate and into Landimore. Right now, it’s only a handful of homes, however till the nineteenth century it was a thriving port, with retailers, mill, forge, cobbler’s, three pubs and a faculty. The tiny, winding Bennett’s tablet was as soon as a navigable channel used to move coal, however its silting-up altered the city’s fortunes.

We go away the WCP previous Landimore, turning proper up a steep grassy path signposted Cheriton, then following the hill proper once more to climb to the rocky summit of Bovehill and the stroll’s last vista – the pocked marsh laid out beneath, seashores and the blue Loughor waters past, and a powerful horsetail sky.

Views towards Rhossili and Worm’s Head from the top of Llanmadoc Hill.
Views in the direction of Rhossili and Worm’s Head from the highest of Llanmadoc Hill. {Photograph}: Francesca Jones/The Guardian

Descending, we flip proper, climb a stone stile simply previous Bovehill Farm, and shortly attain a street again to Cheriton. For a prettier and solely barely longer route, we take the footpath reverse so far as a stone home, then comply with the arrow to its proper pointing down by timber. Quickly, at fingerposts pointing forward to Ryers Down, we detour 100 metres on the Ryers Down path to a packhorse bridge over the Burry tablet. Right now it’s hidden in timber, however this, too, was a busy spot, the bridge inbuilt 1602 to hold site visitors to and from a medieval watermill.

Again on the crossroads it’s a half-hour stroll by meadows to Llanmadoc. We’ve walked practically seven miles, climbed hills and crossed millennia. Time for beer and meals.

Google map of the route

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Begin/finish Britannia Inn, Llanmadoc
Distance 6½ miles
Time 3½ hours
Complete ascent 303 metres
Problem Straightforward
See GPX observe of the route at OS Maps

The pub

Britannia Inn
The Britannia affords wonderful meals and ale plus sea views from the backyard. {Photograph}: Francesca Jones/The Guardian

Llanmadoc was additionally as soon as larger and busier, till the silting up of Cheriton tablet. Of 4 inns, solely the whitewashed Britannia stays, with sea views from its backyard, and beams inside mentioned to be from ships lured ashore by wreckers. Its less-dastardly latest historical past is because of native couple Martin and Lindsey Davies, who took over the rundown pub 16 years in the past and improved its appears, meals and popularity.

Sunday roasts are exemplary, however even higher are the starters: gentle, crispy Glamorgan sausages, and coarse smoked duck paté, brilliantly set off by glasses of citrussy Gower Gold ale from a number of miles up the estuary in Crofty.

The place to remain

B&Bs in Gower get booked up quick, however Airbnb has helpful alternate options. Three miles away, in Reynoldston, host Simon affords two studios (from £88) in his home close to prehistoric King Arthur’s Stone. Each have exterior seating and views throughout miles of rolling Gower panorama.