Gower's glorious coast and moors

Gower was the first place in Britain to be named an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty. With cliffs and woodlands ringed by sparkling beaches, the Gower peninsula is so adored by walkers, birdwatchers, sunbathers and surfers, it’s been scooping awards ever since. Here are 10 ways to enjoy this 70-square-mile (180sq km) paradise.

Although Gower is deservedly known for its beaches, there’s plenty to do inland.

For a relatively compact area, there’s a huge variety of landscapes on Gower. The Wales Coast Path runs around the coastline, taking in the dramatic cliffs and coves of the south, and the quieter saltmarshes of the north. The Gower Way cuts for 35 miles (56km) right through the middle. Visit Swansea Bay and the National Trust have come up with lists of their own favourite walks. Our own personal favourite is anything with a pub at the end.

For a relatively compact area, there’s a huge variety of landscapes on Gower. The Wales Coast Path runs around the coastline, taking in the dramatic cliffs and coves of the south, and the quieter saltmarshes of the north. The Gower Way cuts for 35 miles (56km) right through the middle. Visit Swansea Bay and the National Trust have come up with lists of their own favourite walks. Our own personal favourite is anything with a pub at the end.

The oldest buried human remains in Britain were found on Gower, dating back more than 30,000 years: the 'Red Lady' of Paviland (who later turned out to be a fella). The uplands are littered with Neolithic remains, most notably the burial chamber topped by the 25-ton Arthur's Stone. The Normans tried to oust the Welsh from Gower in the 11th and 12th centuries by bringing in Flemish settlers, and there’s still a noticeable difference in place-names, accent and dialect between the Welsh north and Anglicised south of the peninsula.

Gower is famous for it's beaches - rightly so.

Rhossili regularly makes lists of the world’s best beaches, for very good reason: its three-mile (4.8km) golden sands feature towering cliffs and Worm’s Head at one end, dunes at the other, and a genuine shipwreck in between. In summer, you can watch paragliders ridge-soaring the updrafts on Rhossili Downs. For sheer natural beauty, Three Cliffs Bay is just as good: the Pennard Pill river cuts a deep cleft into the wooded hillside before emptying into a gorgeous bay, overlooked by the ruins of Pennard Castle and the eponymous three jagged cliffs. Strong currents mean that Three Cliffs isn’t ideal for swimming, and it’s a bit of a walk to reach it – but that makes it quieter, and even more special.

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