Rhossili Down and Rhossili Cliffs
At the tip of the Gower Peninsula is the sweeping bay of Rhossili. With the bones of a shipwreck and the tidal island of Worm's Head revealed at low tide, the best way to take it all in is to follow the 200m climb above the bay to Rhossili Down Commons. From here, the views are simply magnificent.
The commons also boast prehistoric stone circles, cairns and burial chambers. Rhossili Down and Cliffs are among the larger of the commons on Gower covering 354 hectares in total. Rhossili Down is predominately composed of dry acid dwarf shrub heath (Biodiversity Action Plan priority habitat) and bracken dominated areas. The site supports a good biodiversity of flora and fauna including a number of protected species:
- Mammals: brown hare
- Birds: skylark, chough
- Butterflies: marsh fritillary
- Larger moths: narrow-bordered bee-hawk
- Dragonflies: southern damselfly
- Other invertebrates: black bog ant, hornet, robber-fly
There is also considerable historical interest on both the cliffs and Down. Particularly obvious are the remains of a World War II radar station situated on top of the Down towards its north western end. From this position the radar station was able to send early warning to Swansea of approaching enemy planes. On the cliffs to the right of the path that leads to Worm's Head are distinct grass covered mounds and ditches which are the remains of Old Castle Camp, an Iron Age Fort.
This is a place of stunning natural beauty with abundant wildlife and much archaeological interest.
- Rhossili Down and Cliffs are CRoW open access land
- Rhossili Down is a Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI)
- Rhossili Down is a Site of Importance for Nature Conservation (SINC)
- Common land
- Open access land
There are seven Scheduled Ancient Monuments (SAMs) on Rhossili Down and Cliffs:
- Round Cairn on Bessie's Meadow
- Enclosure on Rhossili Down
- Burnt Mound on Rhossili Down
- Lewes Castle Promontory Fort
- Rhossili Down Round Cairns
- Old Castle Camp
- Sweyne's Howe Chambered Cairns
These sites lie within:
- Gower Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB)
- West Gower landscape which is included in the Register of Landscapes or Outstanding Historic Interest in Wales (CCW/CADW: Welsh Historic Monuments/ICOMOS UK 1998, 53-56)
- Pub in Rhossili village
- Restaurant/café in Rhossili village
- Surf hire in Rhossili village
- National Trust Visitor Centre and Shop in Rhossili
- Public toilets (adjacent to NT Visitor Centre and Shop) in Rhossili
- Coastguards (at Coastguard Lookout)
- National Trust Holiday cottage (The Rectory) on Rhossili Warren
- Rhossili Bunkhouse (Youth Hostel Association)
OS Explorer Map 164 Gower
The National Trust do not charge for access to any of their land on Gower. However, donations from visitors are extremely important and contribute towards the ongoing management of this land which is protected by the National Trust for the public to enjoy.
There is an all ability access path from the car park at Rhossili that runs part of the way towards Worm's Head. There are several footpaths across Rhossili Down and long the cliffs. Some are steep and not easily navigable. There are two self-guided walk leaflets available for the area, produced by the National Trust titled 'Rhossili Down' and 'Worms Head, Mewslade and Fall Bay' available from the National Trust Visitor Centre and Shop and other local shops.
Car park at Rhossili village - charge applicable during peak times.
There is a regular bus service from Swansea to Rhossili. There is a limited bus service from Mumbles to Rhossili.
There are several bridlepaths crossing Rhossili Down but none along the cliffs.