Gower Pilgrimage Way, 5 days, 48.5 miles – In 1956, Gower was the first part of the United Kingdom to be designated an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, and the peninsula is a wonderful place for walking. The 50-mile long Gower Pilgrimage Way, linking all 17 historic churches in Gower, was launched in 2022. Many of these churches have their roots in the Celtic period, dating back as far as the 6th century, and are dedicated to Celtic saints, such as Illtyd, Cattwg, Rhidian, Madoc and Cenydd.
The Gower Pilgrimage Way will also include several chapels and other Christian sacred sites along the way, including the tidal island of Burry Holms, with its ruins of a medieval monastic settlement, which was probably a place of pilgrimage with links to St Cenydd.
The route runs from Penclawdd in the north-east, around the peninsula, finishing at St Teilo’s in Bishopston in the south-east. It follows public rights of way, including sections of the Wales Coast Path and the Gower Way, and comprises 5 sections of around 10 miles, making for an excellent week of walking.
The 5 sections are:
- Penclawdd to Llanrhidian, including Llanyrnewydd and Wernffrwd
- Llanrhidian to Llangennith, including Cheriton, Llanmadoc and Burry Holms island (tide allowing)
- Llangennith to Port Eynon, including Llanddewi and Rhossili
- Port Eynon to Penmaen, including Oxwich, Penrice, Nicholaston and Reynoldston
- Penmaen to Bishopston, including Ilston Church, Ilston Baptist Chapel and Pennard Church.
Maps and directions in English and in Welsh, together with historical information, will be available on the Gower Pilgrimage Way website, and also on printed leaflets. There are also Facebook groups in English and Welsh – ‘Gower Pilgrimage Way’ and ‘Llwybr Pererindod Gwyr’.
Walkers will be able to have their ‘pilgrim passports’ stamped at each church, to mark their visit.
There is also a cycle route, although this will be along roads (minor roads where possible) and other off-road tracks where cycling is allowed.
Transport: None of the sections or stages of the Pilgrimage Way are circular walks and transport will be required back to start points. A two car solution is a possibility, or walkers may use local bus services. However, Gower is a rural area, and the frequency of such services may not be convenient. For up-to-date information on relevant bus routes, visit traveline.cymru or https://swanseabaywithoutacar.co.uk/downloads-timetables/ Most of the Gower routes are operated by New Adventure Travel. Route 14 for Bishopston and Pennard is jointly operated by New Adventure Travel and First Cymru. As an alternative, the following are some of the local taxi services: Mike’s Taxis local Gower taxi service, Oyster Cabs, Port-Eynon Taxis, Killay Cabs.
This project has received funding through the Welsh Government Rural Communities – Rural Development Programme 2014-2020, which is funded by the European Agricultural Fund for Rural Development and the Welsh Government and supported by Swansea Rural Development Partnership at Swansea Council.