" 1. Swansea and West Wales ~ Three Cliffs ~ "
Date & Time: Saturday 11th May 2013
Locations : Swansea and Gower.
Places visited : Three cliffs Bay then a drive back into Swansea.
Accommodation : Our friend's house on Mount Pleasant, Swansea.
With : Gill, Jackie, Gareth, Ann and the dogs, Harry and Bethan.
Weather : Saturday dawned fine but windy.
[ Alter the settings to zoom or change the Map, use Everytrail to download the Gps route ]
" Loweswatercam " is on holiday this week as Ann and I travel down to South and West Wales.
We had an invite to stay with friends which allowed us to catch up on current events, see old friends in the town in which we spent so much of our time
and of course to visit our son who has moved back and now lives and works in Swansea.
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On our first full day the weather was fine so we drove down to one of our favourite beaches for a walk.
Start point Shepherds of Parkmill . . . one of the landmarks of Gower and purveyor of fine ice cream on nice days !
The family ran the shop for over a hundred years, one family member, Don Shepherd was a famous cricketer in his day.
The shop is now owned by Nick and Emma Hopkins and has a new cafe in the summerhouse to the right.
Today's walkers are Jackie, Ann, Gill and Gareth . . . with three dogs, Sally, Harry and Bethan.
Sandra, who we were also staying with, was unfortunately unable to be with us today.
We set off through the woodland of Parkmill Valley, heading downstream towards the sea.
Gower is famous for its sandy beaches . . .
and as this valley faces the south west prevailing wind, the sand has migrated all the way up the river to form a flat grassy valley floor.
Pennard Pill, the Parkmill stream as we know it, meanders down the last part of the valley.
It floods at extreme high tides due to the high (10-12m) tidal range on the Gower coast.
The wooded sides of the valley hold occasional glades of bluebells
which were more advanced than the ones we have left back home in Cumbria.
High above the valley is Pennard Castle.
It has commanding views of the valley and the sea and in its heyday would have had a harbour at its feet.
Over time the valley has silted up and filled with sand so boats can no longer sail this far up the valley.
As children we used to struggle across the muddy river bank on the way to the beach.
Now visitors can arrive clean shod by using the board walk.
Looking back from the end of that boardwalk . . . at one of the larger meanders of the river.
The castle can be seen high above the valley in the centre of the picture.
Down at the bay there is a raised beach of pebbles on which the girls paused to take in the view.
The strong breeze today has ruffled the hair, closed the coats and blown the clouds across the sky.
From their elevated position the full expanse of Three cliffs Bay was laid out before them.
Three Cliffs takes its name from the rock headland and forms one part of the wider Oxwich Bay.
Oxwich Head can be seen in the distance on the western end of the sands.
Walking down the beach and zooming in on the headland, the naming of the area is obvious.
There is a cave through the rocky head carved out over the centuries by the action of the sea.
The river swirls around and misses the short cut, entering the sea itself in the middle of the bay.
The effect of the wind can be seen by the wind blown sand around the feet of other visitors.
On the western end of the Bay is the Great Tor Rock
and beyond it lies another fine beach known as Tor Bay.
Turning up river once again, we walk across, following the Gower Coastal Path route markers to the stepping stones across the river.
These stones are covered every tide by the sea so any crossing needs to be done after checking the tide times.
We didn't need to cross . . . but that didn't stop us trying them out !
Gareth helps his Mum across . . . don't fall in !
Hold your cursor over the photo to complete the picture.
Retracing our steps now . . . heading back up the valley towards the castle.
Someone has spent a large amount of time and effort setting out a stone maze.
This is the second such maze here on the back of the beach . . . the first one was covered a while back by the sand and pebbles seen on the right.
Pennard Castle from the river . . .
. . . and closer now as we walk back up the valley.
The woods provide us with the delightful smell of wild garlic.
Their flowers are crisp and white and the leaves can be used in cooking for their delicious garlic flavour.
[ Keeps the devil away apparently and is a great natural anti-cold remedy ]
The easily recognisable primrose . . . clinging onto the banks at the side of the path.
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Back in Parkmill it is festival weekend at the Gower Heritage Centre, today with a "Cheese and Cider" extravaganza.
A lady (with a very Welsh accent) tells the story of farm cider and offers a wee dram if you ask.
Inside the atmosphere is alive with the sound of music . . . and (in between tunes) conversation.
One of several cheese stalls . . . selling local fayre of all types.
If you are ever in the area, even away from holiday weekends, the Heritage Centre is always worth a visit.
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On the way back to Sandra and Jackie's we spent a few minutes diverting around the place looking at old haunts.
This is my old family home in Glanmor where I spent the first eighteen years or so of my life.
Our old house and home for our children for about the same time.
The next door's garden is very much more overgrown than in our time, but our old three barred garden fence is still there.
Not our old house but that of Dylan Thomas the famous poet (see the blue plaque) . . . 2014 will be the centenary of his birth
The present owners offer guided visits to the house, including refreshments and poetry if you desire.
Looking across the bay from the Guildhall Tower to The Mumbles.
The floating crane at the end of the pier is working on pier repairs and a new lifeboat house.
The Meridian Quay development gives Swansea the highest residential building in Wales.
It houses a restaurant on the top floor which we visited last time we were here.
the product of my sitting on the window was this all round picture.
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Technical note: Pictures taken with either Ann's Canon Sureshot SX220 or my Canon 1100D Digital SLR.
Resized in Photoshop, and built up on a Dreamweaver web builder.
This site best viewed with . . . . a dessert of cheese and biscuits (but no cider) after a fine supper.