A walk from Rhossili Bay to Worm’s Head

by Jan

Rhossili Bay on the Gower Peninsula is an award-winning beach and known for its stunning coastline.  With the added attraction of the iconic Worm’s Head, we knew a visit to Rhossili Bay would be one of the best things to do in Gower.  There are a number of great walks at Rhossili Bay, but we were keen to try the walk from Rhossili Bay to Worm’s Head.

To help you plan your own trip, here’s what we got up to on our visit to Rhossili Bay.

Getting to Rhossili Bay

Rhossili Bay is on the southwestern tip of the Gower Peninsular near Swansea in Wales.  The easiest way to get there is by car.  You can access it by following the B4247 to the small, picturesque village of Rhossili.

Here you can find a National Trust car park, with a small shop and toilets.  The postcode for the car park is SA3 1PR.  It is currently £6 to park for the day (2020) or free if you are a National Trust member.

However, if you don’t have a car, take the 118 bus from the Quadrant Bus Station in Swansea to Rhossili.  The bus takes about an hour and stops in the village by the church.

Award winning beach at Rhossili Bay

With just a short walk from the car park, you can look down on the Rhossili Bay beach.  With 3 miles of golden sands and rugged cliffs, it is really spectacular to look at and you’re bound to want a photo!

Nothing had prepared us for the awesomeness of the views at Rhossili Bay.  The beach is breath-taking and it’s hardly surprising that it is regularly voted as one of the world’s best beaches.

view from headland down onto Rhossili Bay Beach, Gower Peninsula

A walk from Rhossili Bay to Worm's Head

Views from Coastal Path across sea to Worms Head, Rhossili , Gower Peninsula

The easiest and most accessible walk at Rhossili is to follow the path from the car park to the old Coastguard Lookout at Kitchen Corner.  This is just over 1 km and will take you past the remains of an iron age fort (known as Old Castle) on the right and magnificent views of Worm’s Head.

Once at the headland you have the option to return back or to continue with a circular walk round the Vile.

However, we wanted to go further and chose the more adventurous route from Rhossili Bay across to Worm’s Head.  Worm’s Head is the narrow serpent-shaped tidal island at the end of the coastline.  The name comes from the Viking “Wurm” meaning dragon.

You can only access the island at 2.5 hours either side of low tide.  It is important to check the tide times, as lives have been lost when the tide comes in.

Check here for tide times at Rhossili Bay.

To do the walk from Rhossili Bay to Worm’s Head, we started on the headland path up to the Coastguard Lookout. (see above) From here we took the steep trail down to the causeway.

Thereafter, there is no path, just a scramble over jagged, mussel-covered rocks.  It is precarious in places, and can be slippy, so you do have to watch your step.  There are several routes you can take, but people tend to stick to the right side, as it is more direct and easier to climb up onto the island.

The casueway is only about 700 metres in length, but is great fun and the kids loved it.

Boys clambering over rocks across Worms Head Causeway Rhossili Bay, Gower Peninsula
View of path leading to top of Worms head, Gower Peninsula

There are plenty of tempting rock pools, but we were conscious of time and didn’t want to spend too long exploring on the outbound trip.  It takes about 20 minutes to cross the causeway, before you can climb up onto the first island, Inner Head.

Inner Head is the biggest of the islands and is about 140 feet high.  Once on top, we took the middle route across the promontory to the opposite side. It was a slight climb, but over a grass trail and not difficult.

Once here, take a moment to enjoy the wildlife.  Worm’s Head is a nature reserve and a great place for spotting wildflowers and nesting sea birds.  You are likely to see guillemots and razorbills and if you are lucky you can spot seals on the rocks on right side.

Once we got to the other side of Inner Head, we could see the Devil’s Bridge, a natural rock bridge.

To cross to the next island, you must descend and climb across another series of rocks to reach a grassy area, known as Low Neck. This is a shorter crossing, but a bit more challenging.

You can then cross Devil’s Bridge and follow the path to Outer Head, the furthest most island.  The final section of the walk is rather more challenging and we turned back as we were with kids and short of time.

To get back to the mainland, we retraced our steps.  However, we returned the other side of Inner Head, which was an easier, flatter route that our outbound path.  Here, we spotted an isolated wild camper,  well hidden from the mainland.

The return journey across the causeway seemed quicker than the outbound trip.  By now, we were more confident about the time and were able to explore the rock pools.  Our best find was a very large crab!

View of Worms Head, Rhossili Bay, Gower Peninsula

Top tips:  Remember to wear sturdy shoes and take some water with you.

Exploring the beach at Rhossili Bay

Wood remains of Helvetia Shipwreck Rhossili Bay Beach, Gower Peninsula

Once we returned from our trip out to Worm’s Head, we collected our beach things and headed down to the bay.  There’s a gate next to the Worm’s Head Hotel, which leads to the coastal path.  Follow the steep path to the beach.  It takes about 10 minutes to walk down (and back up!).

Rhossili Bay has 3 miles of golden sand, yet was nearly empty.  It is extremely beautiful, but the steep walk may some people off.  Or maybe the beach is so large there is plenty of room for everyone?

On arrival at the beach, we took a few minutes to explore the remains of the Helvetia Shipwreck.  This Norwegian barque was stranded by its crew in October 1887 after they got into trouble by the Mumbles coast.  Today, you can still see the oak timbers of the Rhossili shipwreck sticking out of the sand.

The kids loved the beach, as they had so much space and it was great for sandcastles.  However, it was very windy and there was a lot of fine sand blowing around. So if you have a windbreak don’t forget to bring it.

As well as families, Rhossili beach is a popular venue for surfers, but on this particular day we didn’t see any.

Refreshments at Rhossili Bay

After several hours on the beach, we headed back up the steep path for a beer in the garden of the Worm’s Head Hotel.  This hotel overlooks the bay and has a seating area which has amazing views up the beach.

There are a couple of other options for refreshments at Rhossili Bay.  The Causeway is a licensed café bar and ice-cream parlour and The Bay is a bistro and coffee house.

Other walks at Rhossili Bay:-

As well as the walk from Rhossili Bay, there are several other options for walking.  They all start at the National Trust car park:-

Rhossili Bay Circular Walk

An alternative longer route is to continue round the headland on a circular walk round the Vile.  This is a circular walk and will eventually take you back to the car park.

This is a popular walk in the summer when visitors flock to see the thousands of sunflowers that grow there.  The circular walk is about 3 miles in total.

Wales Coastal Path

The Wales Coastal Path follows the entire coastline of Wales.  At Rhossilli, the path follows along the cliff tops parallel to the beach.  It crosses the Rhossili Downs, giving stunning views over Rhossili Bay.

Have you tried the walk from Rhossili Bay to Worm’s Head?  Please feel free to comment below.

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Avatar for Jan
John Quinn 9th August 2020 - 6:17 pm

Jan this is a real action filled hike. I would love it. That beach is magnificent. But shipwrecks, bird colonies and a whole heap of other things too. Wow. Great photos.

Avatar for Jan
Ross 4th August 2020 - 2:31 pm

This is such great information Jan and the photos are amazing. We’ve been several times and never had photos as good as this and you’ve told us some things we didn’t know! Thank you

Avatar for Jan
Jan 4th August 2020 - 3:19 pm

Thanks Ross

Avatar for Jan
lannie travels 4th August 2020 - 1:18 pm

what a beautiful place! I never knew Wales had such stunning beaches or gorgeous walks. Thanks for sharing!

Avatar for Jan
Jan 4th August 2020 - 3:18 pm

Yes, all of the Gower beaches are amazing and there are some stunning coastal walks in the area.


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