Worm's Head 2008

Winding into the Atlantic.

It is sometimes said that coastlines are like fractals. When seen from a distance, they look jagged. When you look more closely at a part that seemed to be smooth, it can be seen to be as jagged as the overall coastline. Looking even more closely at an apparently smooth part of that closer view, shows that the pattern continues indefinitely.

Wales is a peninsula, on the side of Great Britain. In the south of Wales is a large peninsula, called Gower. Gower is large enough to have many peninsulas of its own, such as the Three Cliffs of Three Cliffs Bay, Oxwich Point, and Mumbles Head. And of course, most of these will have tiny peninsulas of their own.

However, on the furthest point of Gower is one of the most impressive and unconventional peninsulas; Worm's Head. Unconventional because it is not always a peninsula. At high tide it is either one or two islands, depending on how high the tide is, and how big the waves are. At low tide, a natural causeway connects it to the mainland, making a narrow, winding peninsula, 1.61 kilometres long. It remains open for 3-5 hours at each low tide, giving easily enough time for a visit.

Gower is a designated Area Of Outstanding Natural Beauty - the first such area in Britain - with its coastline alternating between rugged cliffs and picture-perfect beaches. It shows in the popularity. The city beach of Swansea Bay (at the start of the Gower), Mumbles, Caswell Bay, and Oxwich Bay are all flooded with tourists whenever the sun threatens to shine, and at the far end, an enormous car park services Rhossili. Rhossili Bay is a favourite spot for bathers and surfers, especially due to the effects of the weather sweaping up the Bristol Channel. Fortunately, when the tide is out, a very large amount of beach is uncovered, and it actually feels quite empty.