A grey but pleasantly mild Sunday led us to North Gower for a walk around Cwm Ivy and Whitford Sands, part of the Wales Coast Path. We particularly wanted to go at this time as the National Trust have planned a tree felling project this winter and we wanted to embrace the environment before the changes. The conifers are not native species, so the plan to fell will let the marshes and sand dunes prosper more naturally, encouraging rare and native species of plant back to life. It will be really interesting to see this develop over time.
There is such diversity to be found in this part of Gower, the conifers, dunes, and beach overlooking the estuary are a real gem on the peninsula, and very different to the more rugged coves of South Gower. The environment encourages a large amount of migrating, wading and sea birds to flock to the shores. As we walked across the sweep of the beach, we were very lucky to spot a large gaggle of Brent Geese. These beautiful birds travel from Siberia each autumn and spend their winter on our estuaries, they are our smallest goose, just around the size of a mallard! We also spotted a Little Egret, Oyster Catchers, Sandling and Terns.
At the far point of the beach is Whitford Lighthouse. Built in 1865 this is the only cast-iron lighthouse in Britain. It can be reached by foot at low tide, but we had to keep our distance this time! We saw only a handful of other walkers and enjoyed the quiet and immense sense of space as we listened to the birds calling and watched the Gower Ponies grazing in the dunes. It is such a special spot; we would highly recommend it!
Usually we would have a coffee and Joes Ice Cream in the Cwm Ivy Café, but sadly (and understandably) they are closed between November and March, so we headed to The Britannia Inn, Llanmadoc. It was mild (and dry) enough to sit in their spacious beer garden. The children thoroughly enjoyed the range of play equipment, aviary, and space to run around. Meanwhile, a very perfect pint of Gower Gold was appreciated as we shared a well-deserved bowl of chips and enjoyed the estuary views and fresh air before heading home.